Monthly Archives: March 2021

Coming Home to the Self

By Nancy Wittenberg
Interviewed by Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain

Last March, I decided to sit down and do a mantra meditation.  I’d been away from it for several years, during which I was doing an active, verbally guided meditation.  I sat down, closed my eyes, and began repeating the mantra I received from Gurudevi.  In that moment, I knew I had returned home.  It was amazing how incredibly peaceful I felt.  I immediately realized that mantra meditation served me much better than what I’d been doing.  I began to feel more grounded and centered in the Self.

Then my many vichara sessions inspired me to return to asana practice.  I needed to address my osteoporosis.  With my body healing, a daily meditation practice was the next step.  Joining the Meditation Club has helped me delve deep, keeping me on track every day.  This combination of Ashram practices is powerful.  It has triggered my interest in the Year-Long Programme.

Everything has happened gradually, one practice leading to another.  After I signed up for Gurudevi’s Year-Long Programme, I began attending her Swami Sundays.  I also started to listen to Gurudevi’s free discourses any time of day, especially when out for a walk.  Everything she says resonates deeply inside.  I get wonderful moments of inner recognition, which is so incredibly blissful.  The depth of these teachings has been helpful in getting me back to Svaroopa® yoga.

This past year, I took a Shaktipat Retreat, the New Year’s Retreat and, most recently, the Yogify Your Life course.  During it, I’ve learned to get to bed at the same time every night.  A regular bedtime has helped me to get up earlier.  Then I can get several practices in during the early hours of the day.  This consistency continues to give me a better understanding of my capital-S Self.

I notice that how I am in relationships is shifting.  I have a greater awareness of how I’m interacting with people.  I am in a more peaceful and centered state.  I am trying to see everyone as Shiva.  I can witness my mind, especially when it goes into a judging and comparing mode.  Instead of getting caught up in thoughts, I try to bring myself back to mantra.  I come back home to my Self.

Overall, I have a greater awareness of so many things in my life.  My progress through the poses is changing how I stand.  Now I can bring my head in line with my spine.  I am no longer in the future.  Rather, I am in my own Presence.  When I am in the “doing” mode during activities, I now can choose my state.  The openings I’ve gotten from vichara sessions and mantra repetition have been incredibly powerful.  These practices are deeply infused with Guru’s Grace.  They continually open me up to my inner Self.  I am so grateful.

So Close, Yet So Far

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda

You know the feeling so well — it’s not time yet.  I felt that way near the end of my senior year in high school, nearly done and yet going to school every morning.  And that ninth month of pregnancy lasts much more than four weeks, right? 

Here we are again.  They tell us that the COVID-19 vaccines will be available for everyone in the USA within 5 weeks.  It might take a little longer to get them all distributed, but life is certainly going to change soon.  When?  We don’t know.  How?  We don’t know.  What do you want it to be?  You probably don’t know that either.

Ideally, your yoga taught you how to be good at “I don’t know.”  You’ve experienced it when doing a yoga class or set of poses.  You simply don’t know how your body is going to be until you get into the flow of it.  Ditto for meditation.  When you sit, you don’t know what’s going to happen inside.  All you know is that, by the end, you’ll be better.  Guaranteed.  What an amazing guarantee this is!

I’m treasuring these last few weeks of cocooning.  It’s a precious time with dear ones.  For me, I’ve been cocooned with five more swamis.  It’s been an amazing way to deepen their process, especially in the first year since they took sannyasa initiation.  We just have a few days more.  It’s so sweet.

I can feel the undercurrents, subtle stirrings that will blossom forth with the spring.  Our first crocus popped out today.  More are on the way.  Similarly, our first group of yogis came in for a retreat last week.  Masked and distanced, we had an incredible time — deep and profound, fun and bliss-filled.  Another group comes in a couple of weeks.  Yep, the momentum is starting to build.

But it’s not time yet.  It’s close, so close… but not today.  Maybe not tomorrow or the next day.  So what do you do?  Live in the present.  The future will come whether you want it to or not.  Be here now.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation

How do you understand something that is so powerful, yet easy?  It’s like Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation defies the laws of the universe — if something is powerful, it’s supposed to be hard and take a long time to master.  And if something is easy, it’s not going to work well nor will it last.  But Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation works well, will last your whole life long, is powerful and easy.  

The only way you can understand is to try it.  So we want you to give it a whirl!  But first we have to entice you in, so we’ve written these short descriptions to get you interested.  They describe what you will get when you meditate with us.

These are taglines, which can be used by Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation teachers to make themselves easy to find, for there are millions of people looking for a better pathway to meditation.  We can help you find your Self.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Open to Inner Bliss

Experience the Bliss of your own Beingness in meditation.  The sophisticated tools of Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation give you easy access to the deeper dimensions within.  

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Deep & Easy

Plunge into the vast inner realms of your own Divine Essence.  No inner struggle, no patience needed.   Do it the way the sages of India have done for thousands of years.  It works as well today as it did then.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Reveals Your Divine Essence

Discover what’s hidden within, the eternal dimension of your own being.  Follow in the footsteps of a Meditation Master, one who lives in the knowing of her own Divine Light.  Do what she did to get what she got – the experience of your own Divine Essence.

Learn more

Why is This Happening?

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda

Since the pandemic is happening to everyone, you really can’t whine effectively though you might want to.  Still, your mind may have come up with this familiar question, “Why?”  It’s really a complaint, but still a question worth asking. 

The short answer is that it’s karma.  It’s the easy answer as well, since everything that happens to you is karma.  Technically it’s all karmic repercussions, called “karmaphal,” meaning the fruits of your karma.  What you put out comes back, simple and straightforward.  Technically, when you put it out, it’s called “karma,” a Sanskrit that means action. 

Whatever you do brings results.  Everyone appreciates this when they work hard at something and achieve their goal.  It’s the law of karma that makes this possible.

You also create karma when you’re feeling cranky or being selfish.  You put out negativity and you get an equal dose of it back.  When you hurt someone, even if you think hurtful thoughts, you’re planting the seeds of your own pain in the future.  Those seeds are stored in your spine, which is why Svaroopa® yoga poses are all about decompressing your spine.  It helps you clear your karma.

With the pandemic, we’re talking about world karma.  Obviously, it’s time for the world to slow down, even to burrow in and reevaluate priorities.  At this point, if everything could go back to normal sometime, would you go back to doing what you were doing before?  At the pace you were doing it?  Or has the pandemic changed you?

That’s why I continue to say, “Do more yoga.”  A freeform translation of Patanjali’s sutra 1.22, this reminder will help you burrow inward, exploring deeper into your own Divine Essence.  It’s not about hiding from the world, but about discovering who you really are.  The purpose of yoga is to make you more authentic and real, whether you’re staying at home or are out in the world.  Could this be the whole point of the pandemic?

Gurudevi’s Clarity & Compassion

By Lisha Reynolds, interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney

Gurudevi’s compassion radiates out to everyone.  And I feel individually blessed by her.  I’m lucky.  I’m more than lucky.  I’m fueled and uplifted by Guru’s Grace.  Where do you start when talking about Gurudevi’s qualities? There is so much. 

Gurudevi is adept at taking a sutra and distilling it so you know what it’s saying to you, personally.  She uses examples that are clear and concrete.  It’s powerful for me to read what she has written.  Her clarity takes me to my Self every single time.  My mind might be distracted, but on the other track I hear her speak.  Or I read the teachings and they get in there.  Of course, sometimes I need to hear or read it three times (or more).  But that’s not because she hasn’t made it clear.  It is crystal clear.  It just takes a while to get through the internal density.  Her clarity makes it easier for me to be clearer in my own thoughts.

Gurudevi knows what it’s like to be dense and to have the suffering we have.  She knows what it’s like to have the wandering and the longing.  She writes each discourse so that you know that she knows what it’s like to not be Self-Realized.  She has experienced what it’s like on the dense side of things.

Her teachings are direct and clear, reaching me on a deep level.  But there is always that thread of compassion underlying the exquisite clarity.  When someone is direct but lacking in compassion, it feels like you’re being told what to do, that you’re being ordered or dictated to.  They don’t care if you take their advice or not.  Gurudevi cares whether I know my Self.  And she is here to help me — and each of us — on that journey. Merriam-Webster defines compassion as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”  Gurudevi’s sole mission is for me — and for each of us —to know the Self!  That is true compassion.  It’s genuine.  It’s there every single time.  Whenever or wherever it is, it’s the same experience.