Category Archives: Ashram News

Shaktipat Is the Mystical Key

By Elena Perri

Interviewed by Margie (Maitreyi) Wilsman

After my first Shaktipat Retreat with Gurudevi, awareness openings followed, in my body, mind and being.  They continue to this day. 

Gurudevi awakened my Kundalini.  I experienced an upward flow of energy from the base of my spine through my body.  It rendered a joyful bliss I had never experienced before.  As we chanted the mantra, the bliss gradually expanded into a silky, warm sensation.  It moved into the base of my skull and filled my head.  It was what I can only call an ineffable experience.  I felt all-encompassing universal love envelope me.  It was a quiet knowing of being safely held.  It was as though the arms of the most loving, nurturing mother held me.  

Swami Nirmalananda giving Shaktipat

Returning home, I continued meditating.  I gradually shifted in unexpected ways.  After the Shaktipat, I found myself effortlessly disengaging from political and social dramas.  Similarly, the judgments I had always struggled to overcome transformed as well.  I spontaneously began to see people more compassionately rather than critically.  Rather than harsh judgments, I felt compassion for their state of being.  

Quietly, I acknowledged my own struggles with less than favorable behaviors.  I found it easier to forgive rather than to begrudge.  I think of these shifts as the Divine Grace that Shaktipat ushered into my awareness.  I am forever grateful and humbled. 

Spiritual evolution has always been the compass for my journey.  My life’s yearnings have been to achieve these transformations and to experience such Grace.  Getting over myself has taken a lot of time.  Finally, I can open my heart with humility.  I have found my way to Gurudevi’s vast offering of blessings and wisdom.

But the time it took and missteps along the way mean nothing to me now.  All that matters is the mystical and seismic transformation of my being through the awakening of Kundalini.  Kundalini fills my heart and thus fills my being.  Shaktipat is the mystical key that unlocked the gateway into the knowing of True Self. Thank you, Gurudevi.

If Not Now, When?

By Rosemary (Rudrani) Nogue, Yogaratna

Decades ago, my mind told me I wouldn’t be good enough to take Yoga Teacher Training.  The trainer looked me square in the eye and said, “If not now — when?”  The words had an effect.  I took that initial training in another style.  It was my steppingstone toward the fortunate discovery of Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher Training.  

After I became a Certified Svaroopa® Yoga Teacher, I realized I could serve students even more profoundly through Gurudevi’s Meditation Teacher Training (MTT).  I took MTT twice.  The first was the original survey syllabus course.  The training gave me the knowledge and experience to grow into a daily meditator and a meditation teacher.

The second, following Gurudevi’s sannyas initiation, was for certification as a Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation teacher.  I could have upgraded to it through a phone course plus an in-person program over a long weekend.  Yet I opted to take Gurudevi’s expanded 10-day MTT in-person course.  Why?  It was a huge opportunity to re-experience 10 days of being in the flow of Guru’s Grace.  I wanted to imbibe the teachings, practices and challenges again from the new place I was at. 

Both times, taking MTT was wonderfully overwhelming and hard.  I wasn’t a meditator for my first MTT.  Every day, we chanted and meditated, and Gurudevi taught new sutras related to meditation.  Then we were assigned daily homework to explain a sutra using our own words.

I often wrote talks late into the night.  I needed to sleep as well as to complete my talk.  This gave me an opportunity to learn to settle deeper within using mantra.  Then writing came more easily — and bed could follow.  I was in the flow of palpable Grace, although I didn’t know what to call it then. 

The next day, I would get clear, supportive feedback on my short talk.  I learned what I had done well and ways to improve.  This training gave me practice at putting words to “That” which is hard to express.

Both MTT courses gave me a three-class structure to build a “Learn to Meditate” course.  I could totally support my “soon to be” students with teachings and practicalities.  I was set up to give them everything they needed to become daily lifelong meditators.  I was prepared to teach them how to uncover their own Inherent Divinity.

In my second MTT, Gurudevi’s gift of the enlivened mantra gave me the understanding and experience of its power.  I was beautifully prepared to share the revelatory mantra of our lineage with students.

There is nothing I would rather teach than meditation.  What a privilege and honor to guide others to understand and experience the true goal and purpose of meditation.  There isn’t a greater life changing experience I could offer than teaching someone to meditate. 

Every time I teach my “Learn to Meditate” course, I am deepened.  How can I offer these profound teachings and not experience greater understanding, more Self-knowing and joy?  Grace supports me and my students.  I am more than grateful.

Don’t miss the upcoming MTT.  If not now — when?

Why a Meditation Club?

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda

It was so easy for me to meditate when I lived with my Baba.  He led the meditations every day.  I didn’t want to miss it!  And my experience was so much deeper than when I was meditating on my own.

This is why I created the Meditation Club, to support your daily meditations.  The single most important yogic practice is meditation.  It’s so important that all the other practices exist specifically to improve your meditation.  

* The poses make you able to sit. 

* Breathing practices quiet your mind, as does chanting, which combines breathing with mantras.  

* Sutra study helps you understand your meditation experience, even to navigate effectively in the inner expanse.

I was so fortunate to have years of living and studying with my Guru.  The best was sitting in silence with him.  It opened up my inner access to dimensions I could never have imagined.

Daily meditation was one of the reasons I opened Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram.  I have been meditating with the Ashram residents daily for over ten years.  I began planning it as an online Meditation Club in 2019.   Zoom and the pandemic empowered me to create that access for you.

It’s delightful and amazing to see this Divine energy flowing through the internet – amazing and not surprising at all.  For it is the gift my Guru gave me that makes it all work, the gift of the ancient sages of India.  

The single most important thing I do every day is meditate with you.  Every day. 

Gurudevi’s Mid-Week Satsang

Come chant and meditate with Gurudevi Nirmalananda in her free Wednesday evening program, live in Downingtown.  To zoom in, enroll in our online Yoga Wednesday (Bookends or Full Day).

This satsang features a long chant and meditation, both led by Gurudevi.  Live music accompanies the chant in the traditional yoga style.  You’ll find it easy to follow the printed words and everyone else singing along.  After the chant, Gurudevi guides the meditation, making it easy for newcomers, while simultaneously making it deep and profound for everyone.

The chant and meditation during Gurudevi’s mid-week satsang is powerfully deep.  I settle in much more deeply than I can with chanting and meditating on my own.  I attend every week! – Lynn C.

Easily Do More Yoga 

Amanda (Purna) Schmidt 

Build your home practice of Svaroopa® yoga with Daily Practice pose cards.  They complement the Foundational Poses found in the Svaroopa® Yoga Basics set.  Learn how to establish a consistent home practice that suits your needs. 

Practice deeper variations of reliable spinal release poses, and get more comfortable with seated poses.  If you are interested in meditation, this new information helps you get started.  New and experienced yogis alike can benefit from these pose cards.  Revel in the results of daily practice! 

Pose Instruction Cards: Daily Practice

Dimensions: 8.5” x 5.5” 

Price: $11.95 

Free Binder: Cards come hole-punched to fit your matching binder (FREE with the purchase of the Svaroopa® Yoga Basics Pose Cards. 

Perception & Action

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda 

Yoga says we have ten senses, not merely the five about which I learned in 7th grade science class.  Your senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste are called the j~nanendriyas in Sanskrit.  They are modes of perception.  Your senses reach out to explore the world.  Your mind follows them and you try to construct a sense of self out there. Unfortunately, you have lost your core being, what yoga calls your capital-S Self.

You have five more ways of getting lost, all of them mesmerizing capacities.  These are the five modes of action, called karmendriyas:  locomotion, handling, speaking, sexuality and excretion.  They take up a tremendous amount of mind-space, especially if you’re having trouble in any of these areas in life.  

Yoga says that you are the perceiver, not what you perceive.  Whatever you are seeing or hearing, as well as what you are doing, you are the one who is experiencing it.  You are the experiencer, not the experience.  You are the doer, not the action or its results.  Know who you are, even while you are perceiving and acting, and you are…

Meditate with Gurudevi Daily 

Every day at 6:30 am, you can join Gurudevi for your morning meditation.  The most important of yoga’s practices is meditation.  But it can be hard to get it going on your own.  Meditating with others makes it much easier, especially when they are experienced meditators.  When you meditate with a Master, your meditation is fueled by the blessing of their knowing. 

Meditation Club — so much Grace.  To have daily access through phone connection direct from the Ashram community is divine. –Barbara H. 

Let Gurudevi and the Ashram residents support your process by sharing our daily Ashram meditation with you.  Meditation Club is available on Zoom by monthly subscription.  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. 

What Are the Chances? 

By Kelly McKee, interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney

Sitting in that Grace-filled room with all the yogis and Gurudevi, a Shaktipat Guru, I thought: “This is really remarkable.  How did I get here?  What are the chances?  This is extraordinary.”  I live in the same town as a Shaktipat Guru.  Yet I knew nothing about this kind of yoga until five years ago. 

In a community flyer, I saw an ad for yoga classes at Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center, a branch of Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram.  I showed up for the class with a beach towel for a mat.  My teacher was super kind and got me all set up.  Soon afterwards, I received a postcard in the mail about a free meditation class with Swami Samvidaananda.  I loved it and wanted more.   

Attending Swami Sunday Satsangs, I loved listening to Gurudevi give her discourses on the ancient teachings.  That’s how I learned about Shaktipat.  I’d never heard of it before.  I’d been interested in a spiritual path and what Gurudevi said made sense to me.   

One day, I was browsing the Ashram website.  I needed a part-time job.  On a whim, I looked in the Opportunities Section and saw the Ashram needed part-time help.  It was just what I was looking for.  I now assist with Ashram meal preparation and other household tasks.  I keep thinking how lucky I am to be working at an Ashram.  Again, I wonder, “How did this happen?” 

When the May Shaktipat Retreat came along, I wanted to sign up.  I told Swami Praj~nananda I wanted to go, but she said the On-Site spots were already filled.  Soon after, someone cancelled.  At the last minute, I was able to get into the On-Site Shaktipat Retreat. 

Gurudevi spoke about her Guru, Baba Muktananda, and how he gave her the teachings she shares with us.  Even more, he gave her the inner experience that the teachings describe.  I realized, the gift of Shaktipat is receiving that inner experience.  It’s totally amazing.  I remember feeling reassurance and being hopeful.  Here I am, I’m on this path.  I’m sitting here with a teacher from an extraordinary lineage.  I have been put on the path to enlightenment.  That’s the big goal.   

Since the retreat, I’ve noticed changes.  Meditations are definitely deeper and more expansive.  My spine feels more open and straighter.  I’m more even and kinder and less reactive to other people.  Words that I don’t want to have don’t fly out of my mouth anymore.  I feel less separateness and more a part of everything.  And I realize I don’t have to be perfect.  The “small-s self” part of me is being worked on.  My essence is already perfect.   

I feel immense gratitude for Gurudevi, Grace and the lineage.  I’m so grateful for Shaktipat and receiving that gift of glimpses of my Self.  Sometimes how graced I am just washes over me.  What an extraordinary gift it is to have her. 

Turbo Charge to Spiritual Progress

By Janet (Janaki) Murray

I took Meditation Teacher Training in 2005.  After 17 years it is still a memorable event for me in so many ways. For starters there were nearly 50 people on the course. The Shakti (energy) was incredible! And what an experience! I cannot say it was easy – far from it; but it gave a turbo-charge to my spiritual progress. 

It was hard work. Ten days of early mornings, late nights and every minute filled through the day. Yet it was truly a Grace-filled course, and it was certainly Grace that carried me through. The course kick-started a whole new range of personal shifts and changes.  The baggage of life, and lifetimes, fell away – and continues to. 

As I write I am filled with gratitude, once more, to Gurudevi for the gift of this course. And for her presence in twenty plus years I have known her.

Through the deep experiences during the course, I not merely learned but imbibed the philosophy. I became able to talk about and write about Consciousness with joy and confidence. Previously, I had not been much of a meditator.  Yet 17 years later, meditation remains the keystone of my practices. I cannot imagine not meditating. 

MTT gave me all the tools and confidence needed to teach the three-week introductory meditation course. And I am still teaching it. It is such an amazing course to teach, particularly for beginning meditators. It is well conceived and constructed and includes everything needed to get people started. 

Straightaway, students get a deep understanding of what meditation is. This is important as many come in with a range of misunderstandings. Sometimes both the student and I are blown away by the depth of their experiences.  This happens even in their first week. 

Many come to the course thinking meditation is somehow a difficult thing. The course soon teaches them that it is really quite easy. It also includes lots of practical tips to support their meditation. These things are very motivating for beginning meditators. Almost everyone who takes it loves this course! 

I love teaching it too. I find it such a delight to sit with a group of students who are getting so much. Yet it is so simple. When I sit with them, the Grace that flows through these teachings is palpable. 

The Continuing Education for Meditation Teachers is also excellent. I have taken two MTT updates since 2005. They were quite different from each other, though both completely relevant. They were really well worth taking both to my own development and to my Meditation teaching.

Why an Ashram?

By Gurudevi Nirmalananda

One of my greatest memories is standing in the boat at the base of Niagara Falls.  I was wonderfully overwhelmed by its power and beauty, along with its incredible roar.  Yet it felt very familiar to me.  It felt just like when I was living with my Guru in his Ashram.  

The power and beauty of what he made available to us every day was mind-blowing, yet in a most propitious way.  My mind and body were reformatted in that flow of energy emanating from him, for he was a powerhouse of Divine Grace.  He gave the whole place an incredible vibe.

I opened Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram to offer you the same.  You can melt into that flow or tap into it from a distance. It’s available.  That’s the point.  An Ashram exists to serve those who want to be served.  It’s like how I plug my mobile phone in at the charging station every day — the Ashram is a place where you can plug in.  And you can plug in from home.

My Teachings Article and podcasts have been online freebies for over ten years.  We began teaching in conference calls around 20 years ago.  Plus the pandemic thrust us into offering many more and different types of online programs.  I love being able to bring the teachings and practices right to your door.

But there’s something about being together in person.  You probably know this from your own family gatherings in recent months.  I see it happening when we chant together online.  Everyone is actually chanting alone, singing along with a sound stream coming out of a device with a tiny picture of the other singers.  It’s just not the same.  It’s like looking at a photo of Niagara Falls.  Amazing, but not overwhelming.

I want to overwhelm you with the power and beauty of your own Divinity.  I delight in propelling you past your resistances.  But I can do more for you when you come in.  You can’t mute me when we’re together in the same room.  You can tune me out, but I notice the glazed look in your eyes and do something to bring you back.  Plus there’s an energy field here.  We’ve created it, with hundreds of yogis doing practices here for more than a decade.  It’s quite a vibe.  It helps me help you.  Come on in and marinate in it.  It’s why I created an Ashram — for you.