By Yogeshwaree (Melissa) Fountain
As Svaroopis, we are blessed to have so many ways to practice our yoga: meditation, asana, japa (out loud mantra repetition), seva (selfless service to others), Ujjayii Pranayama, the yoga of eating, chanting, and svadhyaya, one of the niyamas that means the reading and studying of yogic texts.
You may already do many of these practices, but for me, svadhyaya stands out as incredibly powerful and sustaining. I can go very deep in the poses or meditation, but how I carry that inner opening into the world is what matters most to me. Studying and applying the words of a true master feed me at the deepest level. It is what the Shiva Sutras describe as “j~naanam annam,” that knowledge of the Self is the true food.
We can be looking everywhere else but what we long for is the Truth of who we really are. Swamiji, in her love and care for us, provides this nourishment in many ways. One of the most potent is her second collection of monthly contemplations: Yoga: Inside and Outside: Carrying Inner Bliss into Your Life.
I have often sat down with a cup of tea and pen, and read a chapter as if chatting with my dearest friend, underlining points I’d mention to Swamiji if she were sitting right there. This enlivens the text for me, and I always get what I need.
As a Weekend Workshop Leader, I rely on her contemplation articles to guide me through the theme of the weekend, using her text as the springboard for my talks and selections of poses. The contemplation shapes the vessel I am creating to contain the weekend. My students and fellow teachers describe how they interact with this book:
“Reading Swamiji’s book has really deepened my meditations. I love that each day I read a contemplation article, it helps to bring me to the Self. I am an avid reader, but also feel that my mind is very busy. Reading Swamiji’s words helps to center my focus back to the Self rather than in the many directions that my mind is going in. I also have found that reading it as my preparation for my morning meditation makes it carry into my day. It is amazing how the contemplating the Truth can bring comfort and clarity to me, or really bring a spotlight to something I have been struggling with. It sometimes feels like the message was written specifically for me.” — Carol Waite
“Little did I know that Svaroopa® and this book would impact my life so profoundly. I was preparing (although I didn’t even know it at the time!) for a huge transition in my life and every day I would read one of Swami Nirmalananda’s meditations. Often I would meditate on them. Through her ability to communicate deeply authentic insights along with her
personal experiences, always with humility and humor, she reached deep into my heart and inspired, sustained and changed me in ways I never anticipated… such a surprise, such a delight, such a gift. Thank you Swami Nirmalananda!” — Janet Neff
“Yoga: Inside and Outside brings the teachings and practices of yoga directly into my everyday life. Swamiji’s articles guide me into how to more fully relax my body (“Living in Shavasana” May 2004) and quiet my mind (“Quiet Mind, March 2007), in ways I’d never experienced before. Yoga class gives me so much, but using my mind in this way is enlightening! Anymore, if I am stressed out or in fear, I know to look at the chapter titles, make a selection, and find the help I need.” — Lyn Hoyt