Author Archives: Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram

Gratitude, Giving and Sweet Surrender

By Barbara (Girijananda) Hess

SVA Board Member

I love that Thanksgiving begins our holiday season with a reminder to give thanks.  Giving thanks shifts me inside.  I experience a timeless gratitude that melts my heart.  When I surrender into the moment, great gratitude bubbles up.  I am most grateful for Gurudevi.  She has given me my Self.  How can I give thanks for this eternal gift?

One way I give thanks is through dakshina — yoga’s ancient practice of selfless financial giving.  I am so grateful to give to our Ashram’s fall campaign in gratitude for Gurudevi.  And I’m grateful for the organization through which her Grace-full teachings flow.  Please join me during this Thanksgiving season in supporting her and the Ashram, who offer so much.  This path offers fulfillment of life’s full potential, Self-Realization. 

From my first Svaroopa® yoga class, I knew I received more than just a “yoga class.”  Then in my first immersion, Kundalini rose quite boldly.  I sensed a recognition the instant I laid eyes on Gurudevi.  How could I not support one who instantly gave me so much?  I began monthly donations.  I continue monthly giving, increasing it over time.  I also put aside money for the annual spring and fall fundraisers. 

You may be like me, not really understanding the full gift of our Svaroopa® Sciences initially.  No worries.  Gurudevi never tires of serving, offering programs, guiding and sometimes blasting us through our blind spots.  Gurudevi reveals an inspiring capacity for giving thanks and gratitude.  She serves her Baba 100% every day.  She knows the power of deeply offering.  During Thanksgiving season, she gives us this opportunity too. 

I never tire of giving her support.  It is an honor to offer dakshina to one who gives so much.  I also see it as a necessity.  I want others to receive what she gives so freely to us.  Our giving keeps these teachings accessible.  It keeps the doors of the Ashram open to everyone.  Every story of others’ upliftment makes me even more dedicated to dakshina and seva, selfless service.

I recently taught a meditation series.  A few weeks later, I saw one of the attendees.  She rushed up to me and pressed some money in my hand.  She said, “This meditation and the mantra saved my life.  Please take this gift for your teachings.”  I thanked her and told her I would gladly send it to the Ashram.  What she received opened her in such a way she could not resist giving back.  That is the flow of Grace running through this lineage.  Dakshina supports everything that Gurudevi does and offers. 

So many of us have received the gift of Guru’s Grace — even if we’ve never met Gurudevi in person.  The Grace of the Svaroopa® lineage flows through the teachings, and all the teachers whom Gurudevi has trained.  It even flows online.

Gurudevi says, “My ability to serve is like a tributary of a great river.  I am the riverbed.  That flow of Grace comes from my Guru, and I am a wide-open channel for that flow.”

I am incredibly grateful for Shaktipat, the ultimate gift from my Guru, Swami Nirmalananda.  I am equally grateful to her Guru, Swami Muktananda, and to his Guru, Bhagawan Nityananda as well as to all the great beings in this lineage.  It has carried this great gift and these sacred teachings forward.  Thus, over time, they have reached us. These Masters have dedicated their life to Self-Realization.

With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives.  It’s Grace that has led you to the Svaroopa®practices.  The Guru’s teachings are designed just for you.  Take them to heart.  Express the gratitude in your heart.  How has our River of Grace supported you?  Join me in giving to allow many more to join us in the River of Grace.  We have so many opportunities for reflection and gratitude on this day when Americans celebrate Thanksgiving.  A wonderful day to offer your dakshina of gratitude to the Ashram!

Donate today on our website.  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!

NEW! Magic Four Handout 

Amanda (Purna) Schmidt 

For the Magic Four, you need only a few props and the NEW Magic Four handout!  This is the original article, published in Yoga International, with color photos of Swami Nirmalananda demonstrating the poses! 

The Magic Four is an accessible, effective set of yoga poses for everyone.  Each pose is explained in detail to help you target deep spinal release.  Along with written instructions, this handout provides background about how Svaroopa® yoga works and the outcomes of your practice.   

You only need 20 minutes a day to feel the benefits.  Ease through the Magic Four and discover your inherent bliss.  Price: $7.55 

Ever Flowing — Ever Generous

Beth (Bhanumati) Cunningham 

I am not my mind.  I am not my body.  I get it.  I really do.  But wait!  If I’m not my mind or my body — who’s this person in the mirror?  With Grace, answers to such questions flow in, almost as soon as I ask.  I hear Gurudevi’s voice: “This person is an expression of the Self, like a ripple of water.  So what kind of expression is that going to be?  You get to choose.” 

I made a list.  One of the first things I wrote was “generous.”  I stopped.  I actually am generous, I realized.  Wow, I am generous!  That is not something I could have said before coming to Svaroopa® yoga.  What was mine, was mine.  What was yours was mine too, if I could get it.  Dakshina changed that for me — and so much more.  This is why I invite you to join me in donating to the Ashram’s fall campaign.  Financial support of the teachings is transformative.   

When I first learned about dakshina, I had all sorts of resistance.  I told myself I didn’t have it to give, which was true.  I wasn’t exactly making ends meet at the time.  Still, yoga had proven me wrong before, so I got creative.  I started putting any change I found on the street on my puja.  When the next campaign came around, I took that change and multiplied it by ten.  Then I donated that amount, plus the found change, to Master Yoga.  I think my first donation was $32.32.  It was the bargain of a lifetime.  What I gained in return was truly priceless.  That small gesture opened a sluice of Guru’s Grace in me that has become a river.  Not just any river — a Divine River — deep and wide.  A River of Grace that flows through me from my Guru.   

Guru’s Grace is ever flowing — ever  I just need to be open to it.  Giving what I can to the Ashram keeps me open in a very tangible way.  I feel the Grace flowing, and I see the results in my life.  I can now be generous in ways I didn’t even know possible before.  Time, energy, space, attention, consideration, security — I seem to have an abundance of it all.  It’s all so easy because it comes from Guru’s Grace.  I just stay in the flow. 

Donate today on our website.  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! 

Gurudevi Leads Daily Meditation – Online

You can connect with Gurudevi as your teacher every day!  Join her for your morning meditation every day at 6:30 am EST.  When you meditate with a Master, your meditation is fueled by the blessing of their knowing.

Gurudevi begins with a short reading from her Guru, followed by a short chant, invoking blessings on your meditation.  Next you sit in the holy silence, transmitted from the Ashram, for the rest of the hour, a sweet and Grace-filled experience.

Meditating with others makes it much easier, especially when they are experienced meditators.  Meditation Club is available on Zoom by monthly subscription.

When Gurudevi established the Meditation Club, I decided to go all in.  I am always amazed how quickly the hour goes.  Yet when I come out of meditation, I feel a peace and calm. — Bob N.

Questions?  Zoom into our next FREE Q&A for answers.  Discover if Meditation Club is what you’re looking for and find out how to get started. 

Happy Birthday to Gurudevi 

By Lynn (Gurupremananda) Cattafi 
SVA Board Member 

NEW! Video link added!

Today is a most auspicious day.  November 15th is the day our dear Gurudevi Nirmalananda was born into this world.  What birthday gift can you possibly give her?  That’s easy.  Simply support her work in the world.  Our annual fall fundraiser is in full swing.  Happy birthday, Gurudevi!  I’m sending you birthday wishes by supporting your work, and the work of the Ashram.  Please join me in offering your financial support to Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram today. 

How will Gurudevi, a fully enlightened yoga master, celebrate her birthday?  By serving you, of course! Today, as every day, she will allow the full power of this ancient lineage to flow. Through her, it flows directly to you.  This is the river of Grace, Guru’s Grace. It’s the energy of your own enlightenment.  

She ignites this energy for you. Then she gives you the Svaroopa® yoga tools and practices.  They allow your light to grow, and shine brighter and brighter. In other words, she gives you YOU, the most sacred gift!  

In 2017, Gurudevi gave me a new Sanskrit yoga name, Gurupremananda. It’s not a title. It describes the gift that Gurudevi gives.  Ananda means bliss.  Prema is divine love, unconditional and pure. Guru is the source of Grace, the energy of enlightenment.  So Gurupremananda means the bliss of the love of Guru. 

Guru’s Grace is the support of my life. I know and experience that Guru’s Grace manifests as pure and unconditional love. This Grace is the force of destruction and reconstruction, rebuilding me from the inside out. It’s like the remodeling work we do on our 150-year-old Ashram building known as Lokananda.

Guru’s Grace ushers in loving demolition of what is no longer working inside.  Guru’s Grace replaces it with shining new awareness and peace.  The process can sometimes be challenging, but it’s transformational.  This is Grace at work.  This is Guru. 

Devotion to Guru’s Grace means being devoted to your own spiritual path and your own Self-Realization.  Her Grace keeps me steadfast in yoga, meditation and life.  Gurudevi advises looking for the Guru in the depths of our own hearts.  Yes, Guru is there, ever supporting and working on me and on you.  But today we get to celebrate also having her loving presence here in a body.  We get to be in relationship with her, to name and honor her as Guru.  It is so priceless.  Please join me in celebrating her birthday. 

Donate today on our website.  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! 

A Living Temple

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda  

“I lived in a Tibetan temple,” a woman told me.  “They worshipped me as a Goddess in ceremonies every day.”  She truly had an other-worldly look to her.  Her eyes were full of light and space.  Her voice flowed like a stream running silently over rocks.  She didn’t walk like normal people, she glided, almost floated. 

“One day I wanted to actually do something, so I decided to go out.  I slipped past my guards and went into the marketplace.  I wandered around until I got tired and hungry.  Then I realized I didn’t know my way back.  I didn’t even know the name of the temple I’d been kept in.”  She continued, “I asked the Goddess for help. The pathway through the marketplace lit up.  I followed the light back to the front door.  They were so happy to see me!  They were worried about me.” 

She was in the USA when I met her, so that phase of her life had ended somehow.  She didn’t share that part of her story.  A couple of people came over to us and took her away, presumably to their home.  I wondered at how she managed her life.  I think she didn’t. 

Is this the goal?  To be other-worldly, sheltered and cared for, even to have guards at your door?  To be “kept”?  This is not what yoga calls freedom.  While she is one of the most unusual people I met, I have an advantage over her.  I had something to compare her to.  I’d already had the good fortune to meet a dozen enlightened beings. 

Every Master I’ve met is one of the most effective, most productive people on earth.  They live in a state of constant clarity and have an amazing capacity for whatever they turn their attention toward.  I saw my Baba directing a kitchen with 15 chefs, then go outside and… 

Let Grace In

By Rosemary (Rudrani) Nogue

I am grateful for Guru’s Grace.  This is why I give dakshina (financial support).  It is a powerful practice that increases my capacity to receive Guru’s Grace.  I always donate to our Ashram’s semiannual fundraisers.  They are opportunities to reciprocate and express devotion.  

Donating is a valuable, concrete way to express gratitude for all I receive.  My life would be so different without my Guru — Swami Nirmalananda — and the Grace that flows through her.

Years ago, I became aware of a tangible inner upliftment when teaching Svaroopa® yoga.  I didn’t have a name for it then.  Before teaching, I would internally ask her, whom we lovingly call Gurudevi, for support.  What I now recognize as Grace arose inside and still does.  It allows me to teach from a place of deeper awareness.  At the beginning of group meditations, I offer arati and a chant to our lineage.  I settle deeper inside.  

Of course, Guru’s Grace is always available to me, not just when I’m teaching.  Grace supports me touching into Self in day-to-day life.  Yet I must do my part to be receptive to this Grace that is always flowing.  I choose to increase my capacity, so I have space to let Grace in.  

I offer devotional arati to Gurudevi and our lineage morning and evening.  I immerse myself in beautiful Ashram practices and programs.  Daily, I partake of mantra repetition, meditation, and chanting.  I zoom into Swami Sunday with Gurudevi and our swamis.  I regularly enroll in Gurudevi’s Shaktipat Retreats.  I use her many Freebies offered online.  The more I open to Grace in my life, the more I am empowered.  My capacity to receive more Grace expands.

When I am in the flow of Guru’s Grace, life is easier even when challenges occur.  I am clearer because my mind is quieter.  I am present.  When I am in the flow of Guru’s Grace, I am more my true Self.  Grace is an integral part of my life.  Gurudevi serves as a riverbed for Grace to flow through.  The flow finds me when I am receptive to letting it in.

Grace is always flowing.  When you are receptive, you let it in.  Offering a financial gift nourishes your capacity to receive Guru’s Grace.  Your donation also nourishes the Svaroopa® organization, which provides Gurudevi’s teachings and free offerings to you.  Guru’s Grace opens your heart and mind so you can experience your Self.  

Please donate with an open heart and mind, so your heart and mind open even more.  The act of donating, in any amount, gives you an inner upliftment that builds on itself.  I offer my deep gratitude to you for considering this invitation!

Donate today on our website.  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!

The River of Grace 

By TC (Tattvananda) Richards

SVA Board Member

I invite you to join me in donating to our Ashram.  Together, we support the river of Grace flowing from the Ashram out into the world.  Grace is available everywhere.  Yet Guru’s Grace is unique.  Supercharged by the Masters of our lineage, Guru’s Grace bestows light, bliss and Self-Realization.  Guru’s Grace is a Divine Force.  A donation to our Ashram supports Guru’s Grace.

When my mind thinks I can’t do something, Guru’s Grace moves me through that resistance.  Guru’s Grace shows me I am more than my mind thinks I am.  When I practice disciple’s Grace, while fully open to Guru’s Grace, everything is so easy.  All things are possible.  No matter where I am or what state I am in, Guru’s Grace delivers more than I can imagine.  I am so grateful for the Grace of my beloved Satguru Swami Nirmalananda. 

Lovingly called Gurudevi, she is a Shaktipat Guru.  While she bestows her Grace upon us formally in Shaktipat, she oozes this Grace every second of the day.  Guru’s Grace flows from her like a powerful waterfall.  When I sit at her feet, I feel the power of Guru’s Grace.  Hearing her voice on the Meditation Club call or a Japa Club call, I am washed by her Grace.  The river of Grace that flows from this powerhouse of a source reaches far and wide.  There is no place it cannot reach.  All we need to do is be open to accept it.

Our Svaroopa® lineage is filled with this Grace, which flows through the teachings and all the teachers whom Gurudevi has trained.  It even flows online.  While Grace flows through the Guru, it is even greater than the Guru.  It’s everywhere and it finds you when you need it.

Therefore, I invite you to join me in supporting these teachings by supporting the Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram.  It is an opportunity to feel that river of Grace more fully.  Feel the Grace!  Let it flow right through you.  Donate today.  Then, sit with Grace and feel it flow.

Donate today on our website.  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!

Gentle Yoga Classes 

Your body needs help or you know someone who needs yoga; that’s why you’re here.  When you’ve got aches and pains, perhaps even impaired movement due to injury or illness, you need a yoga that meets you where you’re at.  Svaroopa® Yoga is your answer.   

This is a slower-paced yoga, using chairs and other props to customize every pose to your needs.  You can even sign up for private sessions or semi-private therapeutics classes.  All this is available Online or On-Site.  You can come to us in Downingtown PA or we can Zoom into your home through your phone or other device. 

While we meet you where you’re at, you don’t stay there.  Your condition improves quickly.  You feel better after your first class.  Within a few sessions, you have less pain.  You have more stamina and are stronger.  Best of all, you are happier and have more to share.  Everyone who knows you celebrates your improvement and enjoys your new condition. 

Our methodology is spine-centric.  Every pose decompresses specific spinal vertebrae.  With precise alignments and compassionate propping, we lead you through a full spinal series in every class.  Your spine lengthens, your breath opens up and your smile gets wider.  It’s mechanical.  It’s reliable.  It’s predictable.  And it’s fun. 

If you’ve been slowed down by illness, injury or age, we recommend you start with a private yoga therapy session.  We begin with an assessment and intake, then move you through an easy introductory yoga practice.  At the end of the hour, another assessment follows, to see if you’re getting any improvement.  We’re happy to report that 99.5% of our clients get improvement in their first hour! 

We will also give you a treatment plan.  It may include 3-8 weeks of yoga sessions, usually 2-3 times weekly.  By then, you’re usually ready for our regular yoga classes, which will continue to expand your knowledge as well as improve your condition. 

If you don’t have a specific diagnosis or limitation, you may be able to begin in regular classes.  We offer 10 or more per week, On-Site as well as Online.   

If you don’t know what your best pathway is, simply sign up for one private session to get your assessment and treatment plan.  We delight in helping you find your way to health and vitality through yoga! 

Guru’s Grace

by Kristine (Dhairyavati) Freeman

Just thinking about Guru’s Grace gives me the inner experience of fullness and joy.  I access the flow of Grace by doing the practices Gurudevi has so generously offered.  An asana practice prepares my body for Meditation Club each morning.  Mid-day and early evening, I dial in to join her free Japa Club.  In between, I find time for Ujjayi Pranayama breaks, and I zoom into Swami Sunday weekly.  Recently, I traveled to her Lokananda retreat center for a Shaktipat Retreat. 

Each of these outer experiences increases my access to the river of Guru’s Grace within.  And they increase my capacity to perceive Guru’s Grace embracing me as I move through my day.  My immense gratitude for these practices, programs and inner support is why I support the Ashram with financial donations.  Will you join me in participating in the Ashram’s Fall Fundraising Campaign? 

Guru’s Grace – guruk.rpa in Sanskrit – is a Divine Force.  While there is Grace everywhere and in everyone, Guru’s Grace is different.  It is super charged.  It bestows light, bliss and Self- realization.  When a Self-Realized Guru, such as Gurudevi Nirmalananda, transmits this Grace through Maha Shaktipat diksha, an inner capacity opens in you.   

Pay attention because guruk.rpa not only has to be given, but it also must be received. Gurudevi says, “The Guru always gives the full flow of Grace. The differences come from the capacity of the receiver.”  Are you ready to receive? 

Dakshina is one of yoga’s most important practices — selfless financial giving.  Like devotion, your offer of dakshina arises from within.  It’s a sweet surrender that comes from your heart and flows through you.  You can help keep the river of Grace flowing to you. You can help others be led to the river as well. 

It’s not about how much you give.  It is the act of giving itself that puts you in the river of Grace.  Any financial contribution of any amount helps support the source of the teachings.   

When you support yoga and meditation teacher training, you keep the river flowing.  When you support Gurudevi’s free teachings — online and in person — you keep the river flowing.  When you support the administrative and physical structure of the Ashram, you keep the river flowing. Jump in by making your donation today. 

Donate today on our website.  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!