Category Archives: About Gurudevi

Wednesdays with Gurudevi!

Gurudevi especially designed Yoga Wednesday to support you in your yogic process.  Pivotally positioned in the middle of the week, Yoga Wednesday can get you over the hump.  The best part is the extra time with Gurudevi, who leads the morning meditation and evening program.

The evening satsang is free if you can join us live in Downingtown.  To join online, enroll in Yoga Wednesday.

I feel as though I’m sitting in Gurudevi’s living room.  A swami reads a teaching from Baba Muktananda.  Then Gurudevi’s teaching is based on this reading.  It is like the unfolding of a beautiful lotus flower.  

In her satsang talk, Gurudevi unfurls the lotus one petal at a time.  She reveals the deeper richness and understanding of Baba Muktananda’s words.  These talks are a Grace-filled gift from Gurudevi.  As they are not recorded, I know I will only hear these deep discourses this one time.  I am extremely grateful to be able to attend these rich Wednesday offerings. – Nancy W.

The Meaning of Karma

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda 

Karma is a cosmic IOU.  You owe the universe something — or the universe owes you.  If you did things to benefit others in the past, motivated by altruism or compassion, the universe will reward you.  If you did things to harm others in the past, the universe will pay you back. 

Nobody ever asks about karma unless they’re going through a hard time.  Can I be frank?  Unfortunately, you earned it.  It’s easy to see when you cut somebody off in another lane while driving, and a few miles later the same thing happens to you.   

But when the events are separated in time, it’s harder to sort out.  Karma is cosmic justice, even though sometimes it takes a while to catch up with you, even lifetimes.  In meditation, I’ve had past life memories that explained why I’ve dealt with certain difficulties in my life.  Other such memories have explained many of the blessings in my life. 

In the Yoga Sutras, the sage Patanjali explains: 

Karma-a“sukla-ak.r.sna.m yoginis-trividham-itare.sam — sutra 4.7 

Karmas of yogis are neither white nor black, but are of three kinds in others. 

White means light, pure and pleasurable; black means heavy, dark and painful.  Yoga’s great masters experience neither as they live in an expansive inner state of pure beingness.  For such a being, events are like weather, which comes and goes.   

theyoufactor.com

For those who are not yet living in such a deep and easy constancy, karmas are of three types:  pleasurable, painful and mixed.  You are already familiar with each. 

No one ever asks about karma when they’re enjoying health, wealth and meaningful relationships.  However, they earned these fortunate life circumstances.  When life is not going so well, it’s good to understand two things: 

* You set yourself up

* It’s temporary. 

This too will pass.  The good news is that you have some say in when and how it will pass.  Do good unto others and your karma will improve.  It might be immediate, or it might take a month or more, but it always works. 

Except there’s a hitch.  If you’re doing good unto others so that you get some good in return, it won’t work.  What is required is altruism or compassion.  Or sheer generosity.  It’s a glorious way to live!

Wholeness

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda

It is the inner fragmentation that is so painful.  Yoga calls this “the human condition,” and promises wholeness instead.  This is a profound state of deep peace, with inner dimensionality that extends to infinity.  You get there by doing yogic practices to invoke your inherent wholeness of being.  Like with anything you practice, you get good at it.  Thus you’re able to live in an easy inner constancy.  Yoga calls this “Self,” spelled with an upper-case “S.”

Fragmentation is also called “self,” but is spelled with a lower-case “s.”  It’s like a crystal hanging in a window, which fragments a beam of sunlight into many dots of dancing light, each one analogous to a small-s self.  Who you are as a daughter or son is different than who you are as a sibling or friend.  You have many small-s selves, some based on your occupation and your avocations, with others based on your geography.  Your many selves can make it hard for you to make choices or follow through on them.  Worse, the arguments you have with yourself can be demoralizing.

Every small-s self requires effort to sustain it.  If you are a skier, you have to buy and maintain equipment, plan winter trips and join ski groups.  If you skip a couple of seasons, or even discover that yoga makes you feel better than skiing, there’s a point where you…

Trusting Shaktipat

By Samantha (Sarveshi) Glazier 

Interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney  

I’m not one who has flashy Shaktipat experiences.  At the September Shaktipat Retreat, Swami Prajňananda explained the ways you might experience Kundalini.  She talked about heat, colors and more.  For me, in receiving Shaktipat, I feel steady, content, secure — right where I want to be.  Gurudevi has said that even though Muktananda was very visual, she didn’t often experience colors.  It’s reassuring. 

I’ve done a lot of yoga and heard a lot of Gurudevi’s Swami Sunday talks.  Shaktipat has been written about for thousands of years.  I find a lot of comfort in all the preparation we go through before Shaktipat.  Knowing other yogis have been through similar preparation is reassuring.  We’re part of a long history and tradition.  With the chanting, talks and all, I felt very well-prepared in my recent Shaktipat Retreat.  I could lean into Shaktipat.  I knew — I’m safe, whatever I’m experiencing.  I’m in the presence of the Guru and the Guru she had. 

At the end of the retreat’s second day, I returned to the dorm room I shared with some other women.  We sat around and talked about Shaktipat.  It was lovely to have people that I barely knew being so open about these unusual experiences.  Who else can you talk to about Shaktipat?  I felt very connected to them even though I had met some of them only 24 hours earlier.  In our conversation, it was so easy to see the Self in all of them. 

My Shaktipat experiences continue.  Things are happening in unexpected ways.  Svaroopa® yoga is all about the tailbone.  The week I came back from Shaktipat, there was an undeniable sensation in the region of my tailbone.  After returning home, I taught a couple asana classes.  My students seemed to feel something too.  A high percentage reached out afterwards and said how deep the class was.  I had even made a joke before leaving for Shaktipat.  I’d told them that since I wasn’t doing a training, I wouldn’t be bringing anything back for them.  One longtime student said she felt she could really let go in class.  Previously, she has had a hard time letting go.  My only explanation is that it was the Shaktipat. 

Free Meditation Class Online

by Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati

You want to learn to meditate.  Congratulations!   

Perhaps you’ve already tried one or more approaches to meditation and are looking for other options.   

I’m delighted to share my own practice with you, one I’ve been deepening into for almost 50 years.   

As an authorized teacher within an ancient lineage, I’ve had the great fortune to teach thousands of people to meditate.  I can help you. 

Free Online Class 

Check our calendar for our twice-monthly introductory meditation programs.  Each one lasts 90 minutes, enough time for you to learn what to do, as well as to try it out in a group meditation.  Then there’s a discussion that helps you understand your experience as well as troubleshoot any problems you’re having. 

You may find one of our trained meditation teachers in your area – check our Teacher Directory.  Their offerings may be Online or On-Site. 

Free On-Site Meditations

I teach two free meditation programs weekly, Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings.  On-Site in Downingtown PA, these are free.  Online has an enrollment fee, due to our costs in providing the online services.   

Check our calendar for “Swami Sunday” and for “Yoga Wednesday”.  If you can come to Downingtown, I get to meet you personally!  I’d love that. 

Take a Meditation Course

For a deeper meditation, the word is to meditate longer.  “Longer” means that you meditate for a longer time period, like a full hour instead of only ten minutes.  It also means that your ability improves with practice.  Thus your meditation will be deeper after a year of consistent meditation and even deeper after ten years. 

For quicker inner progress, take a meditation course, like you would if you were learning a musical instrument or how to skydive.  We offer “Learn to Meditate” every month or two.  In our Teacher Directory, you’ll find authorized teachers near you who teach the same course. 

Breakthroughs & Profound Understandings

An Ashram specializes in the deeper teachings and practices, so you’ve got many more options. 

We have five swamis offering sutra courses, yoga & meditation classes and more.  Each program includes the ancient teachings, which create inner openings for your bliss-filled exploration.   

The most powerful of these is my Shaktipat Retreat.  Here, you receive the mystical initiation that awakens your meditative energy to arise within.  Life is truly changed in that moment, with a whole new trajectory opened up to you.  That’s what propelled me into the inner light.  I love to share. 

What Do You Want? 

You have lots of choices!  If you don’t know where to start, try a 1-minute video from a recent satsang on our YouTube channel or a recent podcast.   

Or just call us at 610.806.2119 or email programs@svaroopayoga.org – we’ll be happy to talk with you about your next step.

Inspiring Meditation Quotes

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda 

One-liners, that’s what we need.  Something we can grab in an eye-blink, a sound bite…   

Meditation is for Self-discovery, revealing the deeper dimensions within. 

It’s not just our modern times that demand clear and concise info.  The ancient sages of India wrote sutras, short pithy sayings that were easy to remember.  But they’re tricky!  Easy to remember, but not easy to understand — they have layers to them. 

Chaitanyam atma. – Shiva Sutras 1.1 

Your own Self is Consciousness-Itself.  

Uplifting, inspiring, encouraging, reassuring, all at the same time.  And it goes way beyond what you understand in your first reading.  I’ve been studying and contemplating this sutra for over 40 years and I am still learning from it.  And it’s only two words long:  Chaitanyam – Consciousness; Atma – Self. 

Know your own Self, honor your own Self, meditate on your own Self. 

This was my Guru’s sutra for our modern world, a teaching he shared hundreds of times when he taught in America through the 1970s and into the 1980s.  As a hippie-turned-mom, I appreciated the focus on finding myself, this deeper dimension he called “own Self.”  But what was it, really?  He added a line: 

God dwells within you as you. 

I wanted God to dwell within me, so I was comforted by this teaching.  But what did he mean by, “as me”?  I didn’t understand.  I wondered and pondered for decades. 

All the while, my Baba was giving me the inner experience of my own Self being God’s own Self.  But my puny little mind didn’t get it.  So I say it this way, 

There’s only one of us here.  The One Divine Reality is being you, being me, and being all that is.  Meditation is finding that One — inside. 

I invite you to sign up for my daily E-Quotes.  Free emails with inspiring quotes that help you get to know yourself in a whole new way. 

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. 

Mantra Meditation

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda 

Meet your mind where it’s at.  Having a crazy-busy mind is normal these days, unfortunately.  You aspire to a better state, a deeper inner center, a quality of being that fills your life with light.  Mantra meditation lassoes your mind and brings it back home, to your core essence, called “your own Self.” 

You need the right mantra, of course.  And you need to get it from someone who knows it fully, inside and out.  An authorized teacher within an authentic tradition can open the inner doorway for you in amazing ways.  That’s what happened for me, an inner awakening that transformed my life from the inside-out.   

I got the mantra from a local meditation teacher.  She had been authorized by her teacher in India.  It gave me deep meditation immediately. 

It was only later that I understood the greatness of the gift I had been given – the enlivened mantra, full of blessings and grace. 

It infused me with a sense of wholeness and purpose that I had never known before.  And all I had to do was meditate daily, which renewed and deepened it. 

Now, almost 50 years later, I offer the same to those who aspire higher.  In free online programs as well as course and retreats, you can get this mantra and instruction in how to use it.  Let those who have done their spiritual work give you a head start on yours! 

Arise!

By Satguru Swami Nirmalananda 

Life got smaller during the pandemic, starting out with months of lock-down.  It’s starting to edge back out again, but everyone has a different agenda and a different pace.  Yoga and meditation will help,  Our 2023 Calendar is based on a theme:

Arising

Healing leads to wholeness, empowering choices and deep-hearted living.

As you move into the world again, you have the chance to choose your trajectory in a whole new way.  I want to empower you to live your life in the ways that are most fulfilling to you.  Our retreats and trainings are designed to give you wholeness, choicefulness and deep-hearted living.

The first step is to arise, as the yogic texts exhort, “Arise! Awake! Oh my Dear One, you have been sleepwalking too long.”  It’s time to come alive again!  It’s time to share your light.  Choose who you want to be and what you want to give to the world.  

For 2023, our asana programs are focused on therapeutics.  It’s about healing as a pathway to wholeness.  Svaroopa® yoga has always excelled at therapeutics, which are especially needed now.  Healing Retreats are available both online as well as in-person.  And 2023 Teacher Trainings expand teachers’ therapeutic skills, both for private sessions as well as for teaching groups.

My twice weekly satsangs continue, featuring sutra discourses and group meditation.  In addition, I will work closely with a dedicated study group who do five weekend retreats with me in the year.  Three Shaktipat Retreats are scheduled, beginning with the 2022-23 New Year’s event.

In this important time of transition, you are invited to join me for our Free Japa Club.  Twice daily, zoom in for five minutes of group mantra repetition, plus an additional minute for giving blessings to the world.  E-Quotes continue with daily emails and lots of other Freebies including 1-minute videos and sound bites.  Arise!  Awake!  Choose what you want to do and make it happen!

Consciousness Imprints

by Satguru Swami Nirmalananda

You were trained by masters.  Your family and schoolteachers were masters of “busy mind.” They did their best to cultivate your mastery.  Yogic training gives you “quiet mind,” a sweet inner stillness, spaciousness and peace.  It deepens into bliss.

This process involves both training and conditioning.  Training is when you study the theory and begin to apply it.  A baseball pitcher gets coaching on his throw or a golfer on his swing.  Their His coaches take videos and measure the speed of his ball.  Then they show him how he’s losing power with some little thing, like the placement of his foot.  He tries it out.  The coaches help him fine-tune his new plan.

Now the conditioning begins.  He practices.  He throws the ball, then he throws it again.  Hundreds or thousands of pitches later, he’s ready to bring it to the game, with the crowds roaring and his teammates watching his feet placement.  He has to forget it all, even the theory and plan, so he can simply do it.  He gets in the groove and throws the ball.

You need both training and conditioning.  Theory alone is not enough; you need to practice.  This means that you quiet your mind.  But quiet mind doesn’t last very long in the beginning.  Your mind gets busy again, so you have to quiet it again.  And again… Repetition is the key.

Yoga excels at quieting your mind.  All yogic practices are about quieting your mind, including the poses.  With athletic and aerobic yoga styles, quiet mind is often attained through exhaustion.  You’re too fatigued to think, which is mildly blissful.  Similarly, most meditation systems work this way.  You sit through the internal storms, waiting for them to pass so you get a moment of inner stillness.  Then you do it again.

Svaroopa® Yoga is different.  It works energetically.  Your spine is the central conduit of energy in your body, so our poses decompress it, opening up new levels of energy inside.  In Svaroopa® Vidya meditation, you pour your mental energy toward infinite Consciousness.  These energetic interventions work more powerfully than…