Monthly Archives: November 2014

Gratitude Comes in Many Forms

The fluffy flakes drift down outside my window, as I delight in our second snowfall of the season.  After a big staff event yesterday, full of joy and gratitude for who they are and all they do, I marvel at the contrasts in life.

Today – snow.  Two days ago it was 72-degrees outside!

Yesterday, gratitude; tomorrow, gratitude. Yet grief plays, like a mournful cello, a theme weaving through these family holidays.  In my heart I am sitting with a yogi in her mourning for a beloved family member who died suddenly.

The philosopher in me knows the all-pervasiveness of death.  The mystic in me lives on the threshold of life and death.  In the inner realms, I know and feel the constant throb of birth and death happening in every moment in the entire universe.  But my heart steps into the chasm of grief with anyone who is propelled there by such a surprise – not a happy surprise for anyone involved.

Many in our community have asked, “What can I do to help?”  Of course, if you lived nearby, you could go over and sit with the family.  You could bring food.  You could clean, cry with them, share stories from the past, and more – but what can you do when you live miles away, even hundreds or thousands of miles away?

Send a card?  yes.  Send flowers? or a donation to an organization that would be meaningful to the family?  yes.  Email?  go on FaceBook and see the photos, and add your own love and support?  yes.

But that’s all over in about 10 minutes.  Can’t you do more?  Yes.

sillhouetteYou can do japa (mantra repetition) on behalf of the one who has died as well as those who are left behind.  You simply say, out loud, “I give all the benefits of this japa to (insert name).”  You can even say, “…to (name) and their family.”  You will be able to see or feel those benefits going to them.  It’s quite tangible.  It works with Shree Guru Gita too.

I recommend you do it daily for a while.  This kind of surprise is not handled in a few days, or even a few months.  Your love and support makes a difference – both in the tangible, personal and external connection as well as in the mystical spheres we all come from and in which we all abide.

And remember – grief is merely unexpressed gratitude.  IF this death brings up grief for you, then you have hidden levels of grief in you, which means you have hidden levels of gratitude in you.  This is the time to express your gratitude.  Write a letter to the one you must thank.  Don’t mail it.  Burn it.

The next day, write another letter.  Express only gratitude.  It will include many of the things that you said on the previous day, and there will be more.  Burn it.

Do one more, on the third day.  And when you burn it, you’ll be able to tell that you’ve finished something, something that you came here to do.  For you came her to love, you came here to grieve and you came here to express gratitude.

Swami handsHappy Thanksgiving.  May your heart feel…

With love & blessings,  Swami Nirmalananda

A Heartfelt Thank You by Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver, Board Member

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Click the logo above to make a donation today.

I’d like to express a heartfelt thank you for your donation to our Blossoming Forth fall fundraising campaign. “Unmilana” is Sanskrit for the blossoming forth that occurs on multiple levels. It describes an unfolding and coming forth. It describes the opening of the eyes or the process of making things visible. It describes making explicit what has been implicit or hidden within.  It also describes the blossoming forth of gratitude from the Board of Directors of Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram.

More than a year ago, SVA opened up to expand and include Svaroopa® Yoga under its carolyn_beaverorganizational umbrella, blossoming forth a consolidated organization serving a multiplicity of needs. We all had our eyes opened in the process, watching both the bumps in the road and the clearing of a path. It made explicit what was implicit – the Grace that underlies the practices of asana and meditation is the same Grace that supports us all.

Once again, through your donations, you have shown that the Grace that supports you is the same Grace that supports our organization. Because this organization is yours, you support the organization. As Swami Nirmalananda taught in a recent phone course, this mutual support is an important part of every relationship in your life. When you receive support, you offer support.

Your financial support makes a big difference. It enables SVA to hire and retain teaching and administrative staff whose job it is to serve you. It enables the creation and maintenance of a beautiful new website, both to inspire as well as to inform you. It enables both stabilization and expansion of our course offerings, many at newly-lowered rates for 2015. It enables you to keep doing the yoga and meditation that you love.

That’s why I make donations in both our fall and spring campaigns, as well as send a regular monthly donation. I love my yoga. I love my meditation. I love my yoga buddies. I love my students. I love my honored teacher, my Guru. This organization has given me so much. It has given me my Self. When I receive support, I offer support.

As Swamiji wrote in her first letter about this campaign, organizations are nothing but groups of people committed to a shared goal. She explained that yogic processes happen both to individuals as well as to the organization itself. Your support – financial, volunteer and in other ways too numerous to mention – keeps SVA afloat, as both you and the organization travel down the river of Grace. Thank you for all that you do.

Budding, Blooming & Thriving by Swami Nirmalananda

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Click the logo above to make your donation today.

You’ve done it again!  The Svaroopa® yoga community has already donated a big-hearted sum of $34,825.00, almost at the magic number of $35,000 – so amazing, so wonderful and incredibly supportive.

A few weeks ago I wrote that we need your support at dynamic time.  It is true that growth is expansive, but it is also expensive. You have just donated enough money for us to bring in a new staff member to expand our ability to be responsive to you.

You may have been part of getting us through the Reawakening and Consolidation, and are hopefully excited about us being on the cusp of major growth, even while you recognize it as a new type of challenge.  Your donations and your seva provide practical and tangible support for our organizational needs, just like a yogi putting another blanket under her seat.

We still have a few more days in our campaign, so you can help put us over the top.  If you sign up as a Monthly Donor (or increase your monthly gift), you’ll receive my thank you — an audio recording of me repeating mantra 108 times.

289I got a phone call today from a swami who was traveling and teaching in America.  We weren’t able to meet but we had a nice chat on the phone.  He found me through our new website, which is now getting more hits from India than from America!  How sweet it is for me to be able to serve my Guru’s homeland as well as my own.

Thank you for your support, which makes all this possible.  If I were doing it myself, we might have a webpage or two, but we wouldn’t have all the free programs, retreats and professional trainings.  It takes a whole community to make this possible.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h

2015 Tuition Changes

In time for your 2015 budget, we are announcing changes in tuition for SVA programs and Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher Training courses.  While some course tuitions are going up, tuition for YTT is going down, effective immediately. For courses with increased tuition, you may enroll at 2014 rates until December 31.

To set rates for 2015, we conducted market research as well as an internal rate review. Our YTT tuitions, compared to other Teacher Trainings both locally and nationally, are at the top — primarily because we provide 350 hours of training at the first level. Other YTT programs provide only 200 hours. So our Board has decided that tuition for YTT Components A and B will be coming down.  If you have paid (or have payment plans) for a future YTT Level, you will be receiving a refund for the difference within a month.

Tuition is also being reduced for three additional programs: Shaktipat Retreat, Embodyment® Weekend, Yogify Your Life and Option 3 in our Year-Long Programme (with Swamiji’s conference calls).

In the past, Master Yoga Foundation reviewed tuition rates every two years.  In our 2013 Consolidation, we held the tuitions steady for all of 2014, keeping a third year at the same tuitions.  Planned increases are in line with the cost of living increase over the last three years (5.7% according to the USA Consumer Price Index). This includes Foundations of Svaroopa® Yoga and our new MTT Retreat.

Our analysis also showed that four EYTS programs have been significantly undervalued: Experiential Anatomy, EYTS Deceptive Flexibility, EYTS Embodyment® in Poses & EYTS Top-to-Tail. We also discovered that ATT courses were valued at less than Foundations, so tuition for these EYTS and ATT courses is being increased in 2015. However, enrolling before December 31 will let you take advantage of 2014 tuition.

In addition, because The Desmond has raised their rates, costs for 2015 house and meals will rise by $10 per day. In addition, Airport Transportation will be charged @ $45.00 per person per transfer.  Both of these changes are unavoidable, due to the costs of these services.  Yet we’ve found that yogis appreciate being able to stay on-site for the programs, as well as having a yogi or Ashram staff member handle their airport drive, so we continue to offer both services.

Click here to see our calendar

  • Choose the type of program by clicking on the color-coded buttons at the top
  • Click on the program title to see our 2014 rates, clearly detailed for you, with the newly reduced tuitions for YTT already listed there.
  • You can register online by clicking on the “Register” button
  • Or email or call our Enrollment Advisors at (610) 806-2119.

Gratitude by Amala (Lynn) Cattafi Heinlein, President of SVA

Blossoming Forth logo-verticalWhat are you grateful for? Have you thought about it today?

Here is my short list:

  • I am grateful for my Guru, who with a word, or a glance, or just being within proximity, removes the knotted ropes that my mind binds me with
  • I am grateful for my Guru, who has opened the door to Grace within me, and is taking me (sometimes slowly, sometimes in the super express lane) to the knowing of the Self
  • amala-photoI am grateful for our amazing community, all of you, who time and time again bring me home
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to do seva, to serve on the Board with this most amazing and committed group of yogis, who never lose sight that all we do is all for you. This also includes all of the staff and sevites who are so dedicated and loving
  • I grateful for my family, even when they drive me crazy (which at the moment is most of the time! LOL), because they are the Self also, they are the Guru.
  • I am grateful for this experience of embodiment, even though it is not always perfect on a physical level, it is perfection itself!
  • I am grateful for everyone I meet, everything I can see, touch, taste, hear, or smell
  • I am grateful for what I don’t yet know, even when my mind wants to stress that I don’t yet know it
  • I am grateful for the emotional pain I am currently in the midst of, as I know it is part of the expansion process
  • I am grateful for my mind, even though I still easily become enslaved by it, because it is also Shiva, and it is beautiful
  • I am grateful for fear, because it gives me the opportunity to face and walk through it.. and getting to the other side of it is ecstatic!
  • I am eternally grateful for this path, our lineage, the teachings. How did we all get so lucky to have found this opening, this map, to Self-realization?
  • And finally, I am grateful to you who open your heart time and time again to offer your donations to keep this organization not only afloat, but sailing forward! Don’t stop now, do it again! The organization survives, and thrives, on your donations and your participation, and even if you don’t realize it, so do you….

Click here to support your organization and your practice.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h

Recording the Mantra – by Swami Nirmalananda

Blossoming Forth logo-verticalI have just returned from the sound studio, creating our Donor Gift for Blossoming Forth.  108 repetitions of the mantra to support your japa practice, which the Ashram is sending as a thank you to every new Monthly Donor and to those who increase their monthly donation.  Recording the mantra for you felt like I was sitting and doing japa with you.  Sweet!

Blossoming Forth is our fall fundraiser, celebrating the huge progress we’ve made with our consolidated organizations and our shifting of gears into a new phase of expansion and effectiveness. In an organization (which is made up of people), it works the same way that it works for you – you do the deep internal work and then it blossoms forth into your life.

Our Reawakening and Consolidation propelled us into deep inner work, designing new structures, moving to new locations, recruiting new staff, designing a new website and more.  Now we’re blossoming forth into a new building for local programs, newly expanded staff, new program titles for next year, consolidated Enrollment System and much more.  As an organization, we’ve done five years of work in two years – just like you do when you’re in a yogimmersion!

Your participation is what makes all this happen – it’s what inspires me to do my part, feeding you on multiple levels – whichever parts of the Svaroopa® sciences you enjoy.  In the last 6 weeks, our new website has had over 11,000 hits.  This means that lots of people want what we offer, so we keep offering it.

Your donations provide over 30% of our operating funds.  In other words, we couldn’t do it without your generosity.  While many of you donate a percentage of your income, we are also supported by those who donate the equivalent of a weekly latte.  It all adds up.  It all makes a difference.

swamiWith a special acknowledgement and thank you to our Monthly Donors.That is why we have a free weekend retreat next February for our Monthly Donors and members – Yatra to Downingtown, which happens right after I get back from our Ganeshpuri trip.  And that is why I was in the recording studio this morning.  So that your support is matched by the support I can offer you – the opening of your doorway inside.  Mantra is especially powerful for this! 

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo nama.h

Click here to make a donation (one-time or monthly donation)

or call us at 610.644.7555.  Thank you!


Lets Blossom Forth Together

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

We as a community of yogis have shown, over the past two years of Reawakening and Consolidation, that when Swami Nirmalananda planted the seeds of the Svaroopa® sciences, she established a perennial garden. Year after year this abundant garden blossoms forth with delectable fruits of right action, strength, knowledge that is full of light as well as enduring friendships. I remember one yogi, on a Yoga of Food phone course, who talked about how she felt a sense of being loved by the vegetables she was about to eat. Swamiji replied with a teaching: the abundance of the earth that nourishes arises from the pure love for us who embody Divinity, even if we don’t yet fully know that. Those teachings from Swamiji meet my experience with knowledge full of light, and I recognize that, no matter where I am, Self within is alive and well.

For me our Ashram offers refuge from whatever tendrils of “not knowing” still bind me. This place of refuge exists in Swamiji’s home in Downingtown and in the courses at The Desmond. And it also exists in our own homes through our internet access to free audios, online articles and publications as well as phone courses. Our Ashram is a garden that continues to blossom forth with abundant nourishment, wherever we are geographically, and wherever we are in the unfolding of our lives on the path of this profoundly transformative yoga, inside and outside.  Through Swamiji’s teachings the tendrils of “not knowing” relax their grip. More and more freed from this constraint, our hearts open and our bonds amongst us arise from the recognition of Divinity, inside and outside.

In my own life, I have noticed this in relationships with family and friends.  There was a time when yoga practices for me were all about being inward, even withdrawn. Asana doused the fire of back pain and let me float in Shavasana. When work or family life was difficult and chaotic, it was so easy find relief and renewal in Ujjayi and the Magic Four. At first the “outside” could feel even less appealing, and in relationship I was still guarded and hidden in my little-s self. But gradually and inevitably, the brilliance of Swamiji’s teachings on all levels has melted the encasing frost of my fear. Fear of what? Maybe it was of the outside world, in any form, conflicting with my desires for things and people to be the way I wanted them to be in order to fulfill my needs.

The thaw was first noticeable in Meditation Teacher Training when I went out to lunch and could feel the peace and sweetness of Divinity in each and every person I saw — at the grocery store, with dueling shopping carts! Last night, to celebrate her birthday, I took by 14-year-old granddaughter and her best friend to shop at The Mall — and I just loved being with them. On this Svaroopa® path I walk along without losing my Self, the Ever-Arising Sweetness and Clarity of Pure Being.

Really, there is nothing else on the planet like our Svaroopa® sciences. They work in us as a community to blossom forth. We can foresee how, with our ongoing financial support, these teachings that Swamiji authentically brings to us are poised to reach ever more deeply into the body, minds and hearts of yogis worldwide as they discover her through audios and articles on our new website. That’s great.

But also great is that each of us, as individual persons in community, continues to grow into the knowing of ourselves as the Self. While it’s great to be able to see that Divinity in everyone, it’s a blessing to be with each other in programs, on calls, in teacher training, in our local Svaroopa® communities. Then the Grace is so palpable. As we speak the same Svaroopa® language, it’s so easy to understand one another and to stay in connection with Self. It’s effortless to bask in that Divine glow inside and outside.

That’s why I continue to be a monthly donor, year in and year out, just as Swamiji and all of our teachers continue to serve us with the teachings. I also celebrate with a special financial gift twice each year.  So I invite you to join me in this joyful practice of dakshina. Celebrate how much each of us, as well as yourself, has blossomed forth individually and together. If you have already donated, thank you!  If not, I urge you to offer financial support so our Ashram — our refuge — can reach out to all others who are seeking this same transformation through Swamiji’s teachings, even if they don’t know it yet. Imagine the fullness of our closing mantras with all of our voices now, along with all who could be joining us, chanting:

Om. Peace. Peace. Peace to all.