Tag Archives: comings

Comings and Goings

Transition is a natural current in an organization dedicated to transformation and upliftment. Thus, we announce a number of changes in our administrative staff, as their lives grow and change.

As Sarvataa Christie leaves to focus on personal and family matters, we thank her for excellent and enthusiastic service as Enrollment Advisor over the past year.  Hrdayaa had already expanded her availability in the last few weeks and is delighted to turn more of her attention to supporting your program choices.

Our Business Administration Manager, Sharada Macdonald, is shifting gears as well, in order to be available to her family in a challenging time.  Even with a change in focus and fewer hours at SVA, Sharada is generously making herself available to fill gaps during Swami Nirmalananda’s upcoming teaching tour in Australia. Happily, we are soon welcoming Kanchan (Connie) Mohn, one of our Board members, to serve as Staff Coordinator during this transition, supporting our staff as Sharada has done for so many years.

With gratitude for her expertise in her role as SVA’s part-time bookkeeper, we also say goodbye to Perpetua Seidenberg who is turning her attention to her sweet baby boy. We are delighted to welcome Lindsay Dittbrenner as our new bookkeeper, joining us on October 6th. Expanding to a full-time position means that she will be more responsive to all facets of our organization.

Jessica Kriel is our new Guest Services coordinator, and we have greatly enjoyed working with her during her first three weeks.  Jessica brings years of experience in hospitality and guest services. When you fly to Philadelphia for our programs, you can rely on Jessica to handle arrangements for your transportation from the Philadelphia airport, hotel shuttles from the Desmond to Ashram lunches as well as your accommodations and meals at the Desmond.




Seva Comings & Goings by Devapriyaa Hills

One of the signs of a dynamic and successful seva program is responsiveness – meaning that change happens due to sevites’ needs plus changes occur due to the Ashram’s needs. Thus we have new sevites, changing sevas and sevites that are not doing seva at this time. It has been an honor to work with so many practicing the yoga of selfless service.

Welcome to new sevites and to those that will be contributing in a new way.

Contemplations Reader Team – Pat Morrison (Coordinator), Yogeshwari (Melissa) Fountain, Kusuma (Karobi) Sachs, Rukmini Abbruzzi, Devi (Elizabeth) McKenty, Aanandi (Annie) Ross & Janaki (Janet) Ross

Downingtown Emcee Team – Kanchan (Connie) Mohn (Coordinator), Sri (Sonya) McNeil, Lisa Spangler, Devaraja (Steve) Thoman, & John Frank

Enrollment Team – Savitri (Louise) Harkema, & Barbara Hood

Gardening Team (Coordinator Assistant) – Gayatri (Barbara) Hess

Moderating E-Group – Bhanumati (Beth) Cunningham

Quotation Database – Rob Gold

Typesetting – Danielle Sarason

Spring Window Washing – Aanandi (Annie) Ross & Jim Totin

Thank you to those who have changed to new seva, worked on a special project or are not working at a seva at this time. Your dedication and service have been a gift and are appreciated.

Contact Updates – Danielle Sarison

Documentation Team – Kusuma (Karobi) Sachs (Coordinator), Savitri (Louise) Harkema, Ekamati (Diane) Tsurutani, Kirsten Hale & Kriyaa (Chris) Godfrey

Quotation Database – Adell Kochubka

Special Events Team – Ellen Mtichell & Gayatri (Barbara) Hess

Tech Support Team – Maitreyi Wilsman & Barbara Hood

Thank You Notes – Kamala (Michelle) Gross

Web Team – Saguna (Kelly) Goss & Bruce Roberts

If you notice that a sevite has been missed, please notify me at seva@svaroopavidya.org so the list can be adjusted.


Comings and Goings

snowEarly yesterday morning before the Guru Gita, there was no snow on the Ashram lawn. And suddenly, along with half of USA residents, we were in a flurry of activity, a beautiful blowing snow world of white. Today, three foot snowdrifts blanket the lawn. In contrast to all the dazzling whiteness, the crystal clear skies are bluer, the sunlight brighter. The evidence of this change is deep and stilling. Such is the change with comings and goings.

You recognize this in your life, and it is the same at SVA: someone steps into a new role with new duties, their actions become a flurry of activity within the organization. When the flurry of activity ends, the affected change is evident. It makes the organization look different from before they arrived.

We would like to thank Pix Monaco for helping SVA look a little different than it did 3 months ago. After serving in a temporary position as Enrollment System Coordinator to help get us caught up on data input during the consolidation, Pix returned in November and December to continue with important, additional input. Courses in the Enrollment System, SATYA and payment plan processing are clearer and more accurate thanks to the time and attention she brought to them. And if you had the pleasure of speaking with Pix on the phone, you were sure to be touched by her gentle kindness. Thank you, Pix!

Some a snow flurries last all day and night, some last moments. Such is the case with recently-announced Bookkeeper Peter Mallis. While he learned the ins and outs of SVA bookkeeping for about a week, he felt the position did not align with his professional goals. While we thank Peter for his time and bid him good luck, we would like to welcome SVA’s new Bookkeeper Christie DeLaney.

Christie brings great skill to the SVA administrative staff as Bookkeeper. With 13 years’ experience in all areas of bookkeeping, she will be performing our bookkeeping duties. Welcome, Christie! We look forward to experiencing how you will help shape SVA’s bookkeeping.

Comings and Goings by Devapriyaa Hills, Seva Coordinator


Devapriyaa (Denise) Hills

There have been so many changes since the Conference in October that it will be difficult to make sure no one is missed.  The consolidation of Master Yoga and the Ashram has changed many sevas & sevites. The list has grown quite a bit since it was last printed. There are new sevites, changing sevas and sevites that are not doing seva at this time. It has been an honor to work with so many practicing the yoga of selfless service. If you notice that a sevite has been missed please notify me at seva@svaroopavidya.org so the list can be adjusted.

Welcome to new sevites and to those that will be contributing in a new way:

  • Bookkeeping – Saguna (Kelly) Goss
  • Documentation Team – Kriyaa (Chris) Godfrey
  • Downingtown Cleaning Team – Kanchan (Connie) Mohn (Coordinator), Sarvataa Christie, Kavi  Peppel, Lisa Spangler, Kalyani Wallis, Tony Stokes and Sarvataa Christie
  • Facebook Team – Ajeet Khalsa
  • File Management – Ekamanti (Diane) Tsurutani
  • Gardening Team – Tony Stokes & Gayatri (Barbara) Hess
  • Protocols & Procedures – Saguna (Kelly) Goss
  • TADAA & SATYA E-Letter – Marlene Gast (Editor), Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver (Assistant Editor)
  • Tech Support Team – Sheynapurna (Sandy) Peace
  • E-Blast Typesetter  – Gayatri (Barbara) Hess
  • Website checker – Pam Church
  • Web team – Prakash (David) Falbaum (Manager),  Vibhuti (Sandy) King (Coordinator) , Saguna (Kelly) Goss, Ron Gladski

Thank you to those who have changed to a new seva, worked on a special project or are not working at a seva at this time.  Your dedication and service has been a gift and is appreciated.

  • Bookkeeping – Amala (Lynn) Cattafi, Padmakshi (Andrea Wasserman), Devaraja (Steve) Thoman
  • Calendar Checker – Prakash (David) Falbaum
  • Data Input – Prakash (David) Falbuam, Sarvataa Christie, Louise Davis and Sally Broadhurst
  • E-Library team – Manisha (Mary Lou) Soczek
  • Ganeshpuri Music School Liaison – Antarajna (Debbie) Mandel
  • Gardening Team – Nancy Chang, Devi (Eizabeth) McKenty, & Tyagi (Tracy) Paul
  • Posting Master Yoga Listings on Philly Area Yoga Websites – Polly DiBella
  • Proofreader – Kanchan (Connie) Mohn, Theresa Morrison, Margo Gebraski & Nora Beckjord
  • SATYA E-Letter Team – Tish Roy
  • Special Events – Vicharini (Su Lee) Chafin, Deborah Woodward
  • Tech Support – Amber Quinn
  • Web Checker – Ajeet Khalsa
  • Web Team – Niranjan Matanich

Comings & Goings

Welcome to Bookkeeper Peter Mallis

With over seven years of experience, Peter Mallis has joined the SVA administrative staff as Bookkeeper. A Pennsylvania native and new to Svaroopa®, Peter’s background includes working for landscapers, a nursery and car dealerships in the greater Philadelphia area.  He enjoys playing sports, especially golf & baseball, and is looking forward to trying Svaroopa® yoga. He will be working part-time to perform all bookkeeping duties for the organization, which Swamiji and other sevites had been doing as seva.  Peter’s addition to the SVA staff will continue to remove Swamiji from administrative responsibility, opening her (and you!) to more teachings.

Welcome to Staff Yoga Instructor Devaraja Thoman



Every other week, the on-site SVA administrative staff step away from their computers & meetings for Ujjayi & Shavasana. Ashram resident and Svaroopa® instructor Devaraja Thoman helps them stack their blankets at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center and leads them through an hour and a half Svaroopa® yoga class. Nearly all the staff is new to Svaroopa®; it’s sweet to see their transformation after each of Devaraja’s classes and to hear them share their deeper understanding of the teachings they serve. Previously based in Massachusetts, Devaraja serves students full time with Svaroopa® yoga classes and yoga therapy sessions at three greater Philadelphia yoga studios, primarily at Downingtown Yoga.

Comings & Goings

With our focus on the prep and presentation of the conference as well as the follow-up, we are catching up in reporting our comings and goings.  The Consolidation still underway means we are building a local staff, who can work together as well as take yoga classes together, based in Downingtown — at Downingtown Yoga Meditation Center.

It is perfect to be announcing our new team during the celebration of Diwali, the beginning of the new year in yoga, as well as the opportunity to thank several dedicated Svaroopis their service.

kim Abplanalp1


Thank you to Barbara McCarthy for serving as our Enrollment Advisor after Caroline Kennedy. Unfortunately, Barbara is not able to continue.  Welcome to Hrdayaa Abplanalp, a long-time Svaroopi who has been a leader in the Master Yoga community for over 15 years. Hrdayaa (her-da-YAA) was the first SVA Enrollment Sevite, serving the Ashram in its founding year and beyond, and will now serve you as your new Enrollment Advisor for Teacher Training and yoga programs.  When in doubt, call Hrdayaa!  610.644.7555, extension , or email her at programs@masteryoga.org.

Our local Ashram-Master Yoga staff is expanding, creating a cohesive team who has the luxury of working together on site.  Welcome our new staff members, who have already begun their staff Svaroopa® yoga classes.


Akima Redding serves as Enrollment System & Traffic Coordinator for the organization. As the name suggests, she’s our enrollment system expert and is the staff member who processes your SATYA memberships, payment plans, monthly donations and provides clarity in the two systems’ workings. While Traffic Coordinator may call to mind a whistle, stop sign and safety vest, Akima directs the movement of the communications (including this blog!) that you receive on a regular basis, working both with staff as well as sevites to support our continuing commitment to transparency as well as to make Swamiji’s teachings easily available.

As Household Assistant, Nick Duchnesky has joined Ashram Chefs Jen & Chris in the kitchen. He provides them assistance prepping for, serving and cleaning up after meals, grocery shopping and cleaning other areas at the Ashram.

Sarvataa Christie’s name may already be familiar to you as she has been a dedicated Svaroopi and sevite for many years. In addition to her sevas, Enrollment Team and E-Group Moderator, Sarvataa is joining the staff as Personal & Events Assistant. She’s already shined the light of clarity on several areas and relieved Swamiji of several administrative projects as well as helped prepare for several special events.

Our ever-growing Seva Team has expanded with several new sevites, even while we are saying thank you to some who are leaving their positions.

Thank you to Niranjan Matanich who has kept the Downingtown Yoga website up-to-date for the past couple years,  Niranjan continues to coordinate the SATYA Q&A for Swami Nirmalananda, collecting your questions and assisting you with archival information in between the publication dates.  SATYA members, send your questions to questions@masteryoga.org.

We are sorry to see Joanna McNeal leave, as she helped build Master Yoga’s seva program by serving as Seva Coordinator, helping many of you find the right seva spot for you.   It all begins with a questionnaire, where you tell us about your skills and interests, so we can find something that feeds you while you are giving to the Ashram-Master Yoga.  Email seva@masteryoga.org if you would like to offer your time and energy to support this work.

Rudrani Nogue was an Assistant Editor for Tadaa! supervising and editing the SVA articles since its inception in January.   Rudrani continues to serve on the Ashram’s Board of Directors.

The simple word “welcome” does not seem an appropriate word as none of these yoginis are strangers to seva, but are merely stepping into new positions:

Saguna Goss, who serves on Master Yoga’s Board (for many years), is increasing her seva practice with bookkeeping support, Downingtown Yoga website maintenance, and document organization.



Karuna Beaver, who has hosted MYX programs and a Shaktipat retreat in addition to performing on-site seva at the Ashram, is joining the staff of Tadaa! as the Assistant Editor. She’ll be supporting Editor Marlene Gast in planning articles as well as coordinating writers and proofreaders.

Ekamati Tsurutani, a former E-Letter writer, is now supporting bookkeeping by helping organize and file E-documents.

Shanti Catacchio, one of the Svaroopis  who brought you September’s Japathon!, is joining the Community Outreach Team. She’ll be supporting yogis who are signed up to receive communications but are not getting them due to tech obstacles.

Gayatri Hess, another Japathon! sevite, is joining our Communications Team. She’ll be helping typeset the communications like “Spotlight on Your Yoga” and “INSIDE Yoga” that you receive in your emails.

While we know that comings and goings are part of life, it’s a little like bittersweet chocolate – to say thank you and goodbye to those who are departing for various reasons, and welcoming so many staff and sevites in new positions.  This last two months have been a whirlwind of “Sakti!  Consolidation makes things hum!  As the year winds down, we’ll be finalizing our internal systems and getting everything ready to serve you in 2014!  We plan to serve many, especially with the Discounts in our 2014 Initiatives!