Monthly Archives: October 2015

Being a Meditation Teacher

By Rudrani (Rosemary) Nogue

Rudrani_GaneshpuriIt has been a significant growth process for me. With the original “syllabus course,” the training was challenging. Even so, it felt like a blissful reunion with inner knowing, which I hadn’t given the opportunity to bloom.  Once I allowed it to emerge, I understood that teaching meditation is an integral part of the journey on the path of the Svaroopa® Sciences.

That original MTT was hard yet amazing for me all at the same time. While the intensity of the experience was surprising, it was also amazing to hear about the unique experiences of each teacher-in-training as she or he shared.  The shakti within the group and Swamiji’s teachings opened each of us to a deep internal experience. In the very first course I taught at home, I had 14 participants. My students were completely ready for the “More.” Over the years, classes continued to fill, and I have been glad to be able to serve my students so well.

Then after Swamiji took sannyas, she offered the MTT Upgrade. My response was “I need to take it!”  The Empowered Mantra takes people immediately into the Self. When I teach meditation now, Grace abounds, flowing to us so directly with Swamiji as our conduit of Grace embodied in our lineage. Students are propelled immediately into Self in their first class. Our Svaroopa® yoga community has grown larger as Consciousness has expanded within us.  In November we’re once again hosting Foundations, with 22 already registered.

If you are certified to teach the original syllabus course, you are already experiencing the wonders of introducing your students to the “More.” If you have focused on teaching our marvelous Svaroopa® yoga asana protocols, you have doubtless given your students access to bliss within. Yet, with the Empowered Mantra MTT, you can count on so easily propelling yourself and them into profoundly greater depths.

Let Swamiji do for you and your students what a recent MTT grad experienced: “Swamiji is a generous Master Teacher. She reaches inside you and brings forth that knowingness beyond knowing. Makes it accessible and useful.”

Making the Dream a Reality, By Amala (Lynn) Cattafi, SVA Board President

IMG_8210Your donations have put us on our way to making the dream of Lokananda, our own bliss place, into a reality. I have to admit, the prospect of renovating our “new” 130-year old building, replacing old wiring and plumbing and all the other interior changes, was daunting.  In the beginning, turning Lokananda into our full service retreat center seemed like a Board of Directors daydream.

Thanks to the generosity of 36 Svaroopis, who have already contributed and pledged $36,389. to our Capital Campaign, we are on our way to a sacred Svaroopa® yoga and meditation hub. Lokananda is about 40% complete, gloriously welcoming local yogis and meditators, as well as our Yogimmersion participants for a full-spectrum experience.

I have watched this building transform from a grand old lady, one in need of serious attention, into a place of bliss. Without your loving support, this would still be a daydream. Of course, we still have a long way to go to reach our funding goal and meet our construction needs.  With the holidays looming, we’re dialing down on our Capital Campaign, but will return to this outreach in early 2016; this is how Capital Campaigns work – a gradual process of recruiting donors who can build the fund and build the building.   Yet, this week we enjoyed a breakthrough!  We welcomed our first group of yogis into our full-service sacred space for a training.

amala-photoAs I write this thank you note, tears of gratitude are beginning to flow, for the great generosity of some very special yogis, for the dedication that you all have for the Svaroopa® practices and their goal, and always for Swamiji, who is the heart of our hearts.

Om Svaroopa Svasvabhava Namo Namah

What’s in Your Wallet? – by Peter Gallagher, Board Member

By Peter Gallagher

PeterGAs a SVA Board Member I find things happen to me without my even wishing for them — things that continue to open me effortlessly to the knowing of my Self. Being a part of the Ashram seems to take the pressure off of my spine just as doing the Magic Four daily takes the pressure off my spine. That’s why I contribute time and money to our Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram; our donations take the pressure off the organization that effortlessly opens us to the knowing of our own Self.

Lokananda, our new “bliss place,” is slated to bring us together as a community in a new way. We can think of it as a wonderful prop. Just as our plaid blankets and blocks support us in releasing our spine from tail to top, having our own space for Svaroopa® yoga and meditation teacher training, for public yoga classes and satsangs, for deep retreats will change us in new ways. I don’t know specifically how Lokananda will change us, but I’ve got a good sense it will be in a good way. Making a financial contribution now to our Capital Campaign for the renovations will directly enrich the lives of others in your community that you know and like!

I have only seen our newly renovated 130-year-old Lokananda in photos. Even so I am amazed to see how what was a this less-than-optimal building is now our sweet, fresh comprehensive home for the teaching and practices of the Svaroopa® Sciences . I can equate it to how our own less-than-optimal bodies and minds are transformed to health and well-being when renovated by the shakti!

So what are you carrying in your wallet?  Are you carrying this building in your wallet?  Will you carry this building in your wallet? I know that Lokananda gives me as well as our whole community a place that will pull all of us closer to the Self. For me, a reverberating principle is to support this Place of Bliss for current yogis and for those who will come later.

Opening my wallet to help fund the renovations that have already brought this building to a new life is an opportunity. It gives me a chance to express my gratitude for what has already been accomplished. It is the letting go of fear and the trusting of Grace. In this one place, we will all gather as a community of yogis grounded in bliss. As our Lokananda absorbs more and more bliss program after program, when we enter Lokananda for training and teachings, the bliss-saturated structure will serve as a force to propel us inward to the knowing of our own eternal bliss within.

Please take a look into your wallet now. Is it holding a place for all of us to gather, to learn, to transform? Can you find a much-needed contribution to support Lokananda as a place of bliss for yourself — your Self — and our whole community? How great to join our voices in an affirmative “yes” chant in answer.

Tapping into Eternal Bliss by Kristine Freeman, SVA Board Member

IMG_8137Not yet having become enlightened, I live in a bliss-deficit. I need places like the Ashram, and now Lokananda, to boost my bliss. I know that the yogic goal is that the bliss of our own spiritual essence will fill us at all times and in all locations, but I’m not there yet. And that is why it is so important to me to support the creation of these sacred spaces. We who live in a bliss-deficit need to be embraced by these sacred spaces so that we can tap into our bliss within.

Ashrams exist for this purpose. Continuously since ancient times, ashrams have enabled seekers to turn inward to the bliss of beingness. Their sacred space creates a spiritual setting that gives us easy access to our own Self, so we can take our Self home with us when we leave. When I’m in our Ashram’s physical space, the environment inevitably supports my own opening inward.

I had such an experience during a recent visit to the Ashram. Walking into the meditation hall, straight from the airport, I unexpectedly felt pulled to the floor. Tears streaming down my face, I was suddenly and acutely aware of my bliss deficit, and of my absolute need to be in this physical space saturated with the Shakti of deep practice. It was as though I had been walking through a desert and suddenly found water. Walking into the sacred space of the meditation hall triggered a deep inner opening for me, first into the awareness of the startling depth of my bliss deficit and then into waves of gratitude for the existence of such a spiritually nourishing space and the privilege of being in it. Writing about it now brings me right back into that powerful spiritual space, into that experience of reconnecting with my Self. Priceless.

Yes, that experience is priceless. Yet physical structures do not exist in the world without costs!

So please join me in supporting our Capital Campaign: Lokananda – Place of Bliss in whatever way you are able. As each of us yogis donate in accordance with our individual budgets and in alignment with our hearts’ yearning to open to our own eternal bliss, we pave the way for ourselves and others to receive the same sacred transformation. Together we support the building that will house trainings, programs and retreats going forward. We support it, so it will support us now and others to come in the future.

Click here to support the Capital Campaign today.

Choosing to Grow? – by Swami Nirmalananda


You sculpt time by your choices.  This is obvious when you miss your turnoff, especially when the next one is 20 miles ahead.  It will take 45 minutes longer to get there.  While you might not say you made that choice, you had been choosing to pay attention to something else or simply to be unfocused while cruising along.

Yoga is the science of consciousness.  You spend time doing practices which make you more and more conscious until you go beyond merely conscious and become Consciousness-Itself.  No amount of thinking can get you there, yet you must not abandon your mind along the way, so beautifully described by yogis in the personal stories they share in this issue.

Becoming conscious is not always easy.  You begin to notice things you didn’t notice before, including tensions or pains in your body, your mind, your heart or your life.  You’ve got work to do and it’s all inner work.  I’ll compare it to the remodeling we’ve undertaken in our “new” 130-year old building, Lokananda.

Fortunately the structure is sound.  Our town required structural testing, which the grand old dame passed with flying colors.  But her plumbing was leaky and her nadis (energy currents = electrical systems) needed some work, plus her roof will need some TLC soon.  But she’s coming along well.

Even more heartening, response to our Capital Campaign is building.  Yogis have already given and pledged almost $30,000.  On October 10, we will house our first immersion at the Ashram’s new campus!  Not only will you will enjoy reduced Housing & Meals costs, you will stay in a dedicated spiritual environment.

In the same way, the remodeling you’re currently undergoing absolutely leads to where you want to go.  There’s some debris to clear, new ways to see and be — yoga makes you all new.  Do more yoga.

Click to donate or for more info, or call us at 610.644.7555

OM svaroopa svasvabhavah namo namah

Lokananda – Your Bliss Place – by Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver, Board Member

Karuna BeaverWhere is your place of bliss? Is it where your do your yoga or meditation? Or perhaps there is a special spot in nature that calls you back again and again. Maybe your bliss place is inside you, a place that you notice that your mind becomes still. Perhaps it is both outside and inside, just as our guided awareness in Shavasana directs you.

My “outside” bliss place is my stack of blankets next to my puja (altar) where I meditate every morning. I settle onto my blankets, settle into my mantra and settle into my Self, my “inside” bliss place.  The bliss of meditation keeps me coming back for more, the “more” I know I am. Luckily, my bliss isn’t restricted to my meditation spot. More and more often, I take it with me everywhere I go, because I recognize my bliss IS me. Yet I do notice that my “outside and inside” bliss can be deeper when I am in trainings or on retreat.

I remember opening my eyes after a deep Shavasana in my early days of Teacher Training, feeling that things were bigger and brighter. What I’ve come to know is that I am “bigger and brighter.” The practices, the teachers grounded in these practices and the energy that is grounded in our practice space has helped me see this.

The “Siva Sutras, and Swami Nirmalananda’s rendering, explain it this way:

Lokaananda.h samaadhi sukham — Shiva Sutras 1.18

The bliss of Self-Knowingess is experienced in its fullness in every place and every time.

In Sanskrit, loka means location, and aananda means bliss. Samaadhi is a deep inner absorption and sukham means full of sweetness and ease. A yogi can live in the easy and constant bliss of Self-Knowing; such a yogi also transmits it to everyone nearby. A place that houses the deep practices of yoga also absorbs and transmit this blissful energy.   With Swami Nirmalananda, we are fortunate to have such a yogi serving as our Master Teacher and Guru. She is based in the bliss of Self-Knowingness, and all the practices she teaches come from this deep well.

IMG_8210Now we’re also fortunate to have a dedicated building to absorb the bliss from Swami, from all the practices and from all the yogis who come. This place is Lokananda, our new teaching campus for Svaroopa® Yoga and Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation. Lokananda can be YOUR bliss place and you can be a part of it.  In October Lokananda opens its doors to our retreats and professional trainings, including providing our housing and meals.

It’s been a year-long process to remodel and update this lovely and historic building, which sits right in the middle of downtown Downingtown. It’s been an expensive process, too. Those of you who have remodeled a home know that there are always unexpected costs. We were able to fund the building purchase and the initial remodeling through donations and tuitions from our meditation-based programs. Our many sevites, including Swamiji’s seva, helped create the surpluses which we’ve invested in a new campus for your immersion experience.  Not surprisingly, there were cost overruns for the renovations, so more funding is needed to finish many needed tasks.

Ashram programs are residential “yogimmersions.” Many yogis have asked us to once again have our own yogic space, so we searched over a couple of years. We found it, bought it and have moved in, but we need your help to truly make this wonderful old building into a fully functional yoga home. Your financial support will fund the overruns, remodel and furnish the upper floors for residential use, and provide funding for repairs we know are coming, including a new roof.

At our annual retreat last July, the Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram Board of Directors voted to conduct a Capital Campaign. This is in addition to our annual fall and spring requests for donations, which are essential for our ongoing operating expenses. Capital Campaigns are time-limited and happen only when there are extraordinary needs: for buildings, equipment or other major expenditures.  Certainly we have extraordinary needs, and we’re calling on you, our extraordinary community of yogis. We’ve set a cautious and conscious goal of $150,000 in the campaign we’re calling Lokananda – Your Bliss Place.

What it would be like to have programs located in a space that grounds and holds the energy of bliss to support you? Imagine yourself there, in the place of bliss.  Now imagine that you can make it happen. I have just made the largest financial pledge in my life to a non-profit organization (yes, your donations are tax deductible). I am already imagining myself there. I can already feel the bliss. Join me in our Bliss Place. Dig deep and give what you can. You can make a one-time donation or make a pledge over two years. And when you do, know that you are supporting the bliss of your own Being. You couldn’t make a better investment!

Click here to learn more or to offer your donation in one of four levels.