Monthly Archives: April 2021

Grateful for Grace

By Marlene (Matrikaa) Gast

Lucky for me, I’m a Svaroopa® yogi.  Even more, I’ve had the great good fortune of residing at the Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram since July 2019.  During the pandemic, I’ve been living in a most blessed place.  I say this not because I’ve been safe from contagion, though I have.  I say this because I’ve witnessed the Ashram’s yogic miracles. 

Within 10 days of 2020 pandemic lockdown, the Ashram was offering yoga online.  Swami Nirmalananda, whom we call Gurudevi, was Zooming the blessings of yoga and meditation into homes worldwide.  I have seen how tirelessly Gurudevi and our five other swamis serve the world.  And I’ve been privy to the blessings received by community members and other seekers globally.  As another Svaroopa® yogi put it, “The Ashram and Gurudevi are important to people in this yoga community.  And she is important to people who haven’t yet met her.”

Please join me in donating as generously as possible to this spiritual organization.  I am contributing financially to this not-for-profit organization to support its worldwide work.  During an unprecedented catastrophe, the Ashram has given its all, 24/7 for more than 365 days.

Practicing since 2005, I’ve experienced the Grace flowing through Svaroopa® yoga.  Sciatica and digestive issues have healed.  Gurudevi’s teachings have evoked spiritual illumination from layers of shadow where I long lived.  In gratitude for this transformation, I’ve been a longtime donor.  This year, however, I am donating in gratitude for how Gurudevi’s Grace-full teachings have benefitted the world.

You can be sure that every bit of your financial gift will go to supporting the Ashram’s work.  It’s been essential over the past year.  As we move into another “new normal,” the Ashram’s work continues to be crucial.

Participants in the free online Japa Club have reported that repeating mantra with Gurudevi has been a lifeline.  Amidst isolation, dramatic uncertainty, and fear of death worldwide, Japa Club members opened to divine peace and calm, inside.  Moreover, Gurudevi leads participants in offering blessings to everyone in the world affected by the pandemic. 

Plus, Gurudevi created the online Meditation Club, online yoga classes, Zoomed healing sessions, meditation and chanting retreats, a philosophy discussion group, her Sunday Satsang subscription program, and training for teachers in how to Zoom their own classes. 

Yogis far and wide have benefitted profoundly from these offerings :

I live alone and far from any other Svaroopa® yoga teachers, classes or communities.  Once the magnitude of this pandemic became apparent, I realized that I really needed to “up my game” in terms of my own practices — more asana, more meditation, more japa.  The Meditation Club is helping me “up my game.”  Grace flows even stronger whenever we meditate together, even over the phone.  At the end of the meditation, we repeat mantra together, offering the benefits of mantra to all those who have been affected by this pandemic.  For me, that offering is going to the whole world.” — Caroline K.

What Gurudevi has done in this pandemic to create online ways to deliver her Grace-full teachings has been a lifesaver.” — Barbara A.

With my legs re-aligned in my hip sockets, I feel supported and upright, whether sitting or standing.  It’s a feeling of being grounded and expanded at the same time.” — Leonora T.

My left leg [seriously weakened by abdominal surgery] now functions normally.” — Marianne S.

Reading these expressions of gratitude, please reflect on how the Ashram has supported you.  Giving back in gratitude for what you receive is the ancient yoga practice of dakshina.  There are three ways you can direct your financial gift:

Light the Way, supporting outreach and technology.

Maintain the Miracle Factory, supporting teacher training.

Give Blessings to the World, supporting our free programs.

You can donate on our website or on Facebook.  You can call us at (610) 644-7555.  Or you can send your check to Svaroopa Vidya Ashram, 116 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, PA 19335. Thank You!

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation

The whole story of enlightenment is told in these three short phrases, taglines for Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation.  This is how meditation works in our tradition:  deep and easy meditation from the beginning, which leads to bliss arising within.  Then you learn how to live in the bliss, which gives you the inner freedom that is enlightenment itself.

Meditation: Deep & Easy CD
by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Getting Beyond Your Busy Mind

Learn how to use your mind to get beyond your mind.  Easily experience the deeper dimension of your own existence through this approach to meditation. Harness the power of your mind to help you with the inner discovery of your own Self.  This inner experience transforms your mind.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Bliss Blossoms Within

Experience the bliss of your own being arising from its inner source.  This meditative system, which makes bliss easily accessible.  How does it work?  You’re doing the same thing that the yogic sages did, steering your mind toward Consciousness.  Thus you discover that you are bliss-incarnate.

Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation:  Experience Inner Freedom

To become free from your worries, regrets and reactions, meditate.  To become free to laugh, to create and to share, meditate.  This approach to meditation takes you beyond your limitations and gives you your deeper essnece, called your own Self.   You can tell the difference the very first time.

Yoga Blessings to the World

By Ruth (Rama) Brooke

Lucky for us, we are yogis.  Luckier still, we are Svaroopa® yogis!  While all yoga is good, the Svaroopa® Sciences offer easy access to that mystical more — the Self.  Whether through poses, breathing or meditation, Svaroopis slip into an experience of the Self, effortlessly. This is a hallmark of this Shaktipat Yoga. 

You likely have familiar words to describe your intimate experience of the Self.  Words like inner knowingness, divinity, essence, beingness, bliss, expansiveness, and upward welling love and joy come to mind.  Just writing these words triggers an experience for me.  And then another quality of the Self arises — gratitude — an immense and overwhelming sense of gratitude. 

To express my gratitude, I participate in our Ashram fundraisers through financial contributions.  I ask you to do the same.  I ask with confidence and without hesitation.  Why?  Because I know the power of the yogic practice of dakshina (financial support for upliftment).

Dakshina initiates a divine cycle of giving and receiving.  They merge in the Self and become indistinguishable.  I know many Svaroopa® yogis who practice and benefit from dakshina.  Our community is naturally generous.  Nearly one quarter of our budget is funded by contributions.  Again and again, I am filled with gratitude and with the inspiration to do more.

Below are multiple opportunities for directing a gift to the Ashram.  You can:

Light the way. Support outreach and technology. 

Open the door to deep teachings for so many via Zoom, Podbean, YouTube and social media.

Maintain the “Miracle Factory.” Support teacher trainings. 

Trainings include Teaching Svaroopa® Yoga Online, Teaching Online Therapeutics, Leading Satsangs Online and the new Therapeutic Yoga Series.

Give More Blessings to the WorldSupport our extensive free teachings.  

This includes online access to Japa Club, podcasts, articles, Satsang Gems and more.

All these causes are important.  They enable Gurudevi and our five other swamis to reach directly into hearts and homes.  They can thus touch more souls than ever before.

As Svaroopa® yogis, we are so blessed.  Help extend these blessings further out into the world.  Join in the dakshina cycle with whatever amount works for you and your budget.  Yoga is a warrior tradition.  Take action.  Do more yoga!

You can donate on our website and on Facebook.  You can call us at (610) 644-7555.  Or you can send your check to Svaroopa Vidya Ashram, 116 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, PA 19335.

Giving Blessings

By Ellen (Lajja) Mitchell, President
Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram Board

When the global pandemic started, Swami Nirmalananda (Gurudevi) started our free online Japa Club and our Meditation Club.  In these daily online programs, she taught us how to give blessings to the world.  Gurudevi also quickly put into place many other online programs to serve us.  Those programs included online asana and meditation classes, Yoga Teacher Training, Meditation Teacher Training and retreats.  I feel that each is an offering from the Ashram.  Each is a way of Giving Blessings — the theme of our spring fundraiser.

In my first Svaroopa® yoga class about 15 years ago, I knew this yoga is different from others.  My teacher asked, “Do you feel different?  What was your experience?”  I responded that I felt taller.  And there was something else as well.  I felt more grounded, more embodied.  Those experiences and more have kept me coming back.

What first drew you to Svaroopa® yoga?  What has kept you coming back?  Have your Ashram’s online offerings benefitted you?  If you answered “yes,” I invite you to join me in Giving Blessings back to the Ashram.

I attended my first Shaktipat Retreat with Gurudevi in 2012.  In May 2020, I attended Gurudevi’s first online Shaktipat.  I was skeptical at first.  How can I have an intensive from the comfort of my own home?  The online orientation for an at-home, online program took me through the process.  I was given vegetarian recipes to support body and mind.  I was taught how to set up my space.  During the retreat, an Ashram swami checked in on me daily.  The result?  One of the most powerful Shaktipat experiences that I have had!  Grace flowed unimpeded from the Ashram through Zoom.  Grace permeated me and my sacred space, my home.  I am so grateful.

My gratitude for Gurudevi and the Ashram has motivated me to give, and it continues to motivate me to give.  Giving back in gratitude is itself a yoga practice: dakshina. Please join me in this practice, which benefits the giver as well as the Ashram.  There are three ways you can direct your financial gift:

Light the Way, supporting outreach and technology
Maintain the Miracle Factory, supporting teacher training
Give Blessings to the World, supporting our free programs

Our Giving Blessings campaign starts today!  A gift from the heart is precious. Please join me in Giving Blessings back to Gurudevi and the Ashram.  When I give from my heart, I’m the one who reaps the benefits.  I feel the abundant Grace that flows to me.  May you, too, delight in this blessing.

You can donate on our website and on Facebook.  You can call us at (610) 644-7555.

 Or you can send your check to Svaroopa Vidya Ashram, 116 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, PA 19335.

Ashram Nachos

By Swami Samvidaananda

These easy vegetarian nachos are an Ashram favorite. 

They’re crispy, cheesy, nutritious, delicious and fun!

Servings: 8–10

Protein: 20–22 grams per serving

Servings: 8–10

Protein: 20–22 grams per serving

6 Tastes

Sweet: tortilla chips, cheese, avocado, zucchini

Salty: tortilla chips, cheese, salsa

Sour: sour cream, salsa

Astringent: tortilla chips, refried beans, cheese

Pungent: salsa, jalapeños

Bitter: lettuce, cilantro


  • 1 family size bag yellow corn tortilla chips
  • 1 can vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 jar salsa (of your choice)
  • 1 16-oz bag shredded Mexican cheese (we use a mix of cheddar, jack and asadero)
  • 4-oz shredded cheddar cheese (~1 cup)

Optional Toppings

  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • diced avocado
  • sour cream
  • pickled jalapeños
  • chopped cilantro
  • more salsa


  1. Preheat broiler to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread tortilla chips on a large baking sheet lined with foil or a Silpat baking mat.  Keep them in a single layer, though they may overlap.
  3. Place level tablespoons of vegetarian refried beans, about 4 inches apart, on top of the tortilla chips.  You won’t use the whole can of refried beans.  Warm the remainder in a small pot to serve as a side.
  4. Add a teaspoon of salsa next to each spoonful of refried beans.
  5. Sprinkle the Mexican cheese in a thick layer over the chips.
  6. Sprinkle the Cheddar cheese evenly over the Mexican cheese.
  7. Broil until cheese is melted, bubbling, and browning.  The corners of the chips along the edge of the pan will be dark brown but not burnt.  It’s best to stay there while they’re broiling.  Don’t walk away!

Serve with your choice of toppings.  We also serve steamed zucchini and the rest of the refried beans on the side.