Tag Archives: support

Tapping into Eternal Bliss by Kristine Freeman, SVA Board Member

IMG_8137Not yet having become enlightened, I live in a bliss-deficit. I need places like the Ashram, and now Lokananda, to boost my bliss. I know that the yogic goal is that the bliss of our own spiritual essence will fill us at all times and in all locations, but I’m not there yet. And that is why it is so important to me to support the creation of these sacred spaces. We who live in a bliss-deficit need to be embraced by these sacred spaces so that we can tap into our bliss within.

Ashrams exist for this purpose. Continuously since ancient times, ashrams have enabled seekers to turn inward to the bliss of beingness. Their sacred space creates a spiritual setting that gives us easy access to our own Self, so we can take our Self home with us when we leave. When I’m in our Ashram’s physical space, the environment inevitably supports my own opening inward.

I had such an experience during a recent visit to the Ashram. Walking into the meditation hall, straight from the airport, I unexpectedly felt pulled to the floor. Tears streaming down my face, I was suddenly and acutely aware of my bliss deficit, and of my absolute need to be in this physical space saturated with the Shakti of deep practice. It was as though I had been walking through a desert and suddenly found water. Walking into the sacred space of the meditation hall triggered a deep inner opening for me, first into the awareness of the startling depth of my bliss deficit and then into waves of gratitude for the existence of such a spiritually nourishing space and the privilege of being in it. Writing about it now brings me right back into that powerful spiritual space, into that experience of reconnecting with my Self. Priceless.

Yes, that experience is priceless. Yet physical structures do not exist in the world without costs!

So please join me in supporting our Capital Campaign: Lokananda – Place of Bliss in whatever way you are able. As each of us yogis donate in accordance with our individual budgets and in alignment with our hearts’ yearning to open to our own eternal bliss, we pave the way for ourselves and others to receive the same sacred transformation. Together we support the building that will house trainings, programs and retreats going forward. We support it, so it will support us now and others to come in the future.

Click here to support the Capital Campaign today.

Sustaining Our Ashram by Saguna Goss

Join Saguna is supporting the Ashram's Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

Join Saguna is supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

During my last few years as a Board member for Master Yoga Foundation, I was aware that the organization was being challenged; it was facing the chaos of dissolution and destruction. Then came a stage of creation, with the huge transformation of working closely with our Ashram, which led to the Consolidation of the two sister organizations, which is now complete. A lot was going on; it was very interesting and exciting. In hindsight I can see how my mind was really entertained with details, looking at problems, coming up with unique solutions. But now, in the stability of completed consolidation, our Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram stands in the space of beautiful sustenance. It’s time to keep on keeping on. This is the stage of Vishnu, the cosmic force that sustains the world.

Last February, in our yatra to Ganeshpuri, India, I came to

Saguna Goss

Saguna Goss

know and appreciate Vishnu through Swamiji’s daily satsangs. In the past I’ve been drawn to Shiva, with no interests in the other forms of the Divine. But now it’s Vishnu. I am in the Vishnu stage of my life: sustaining a job, a home, relationships, and my various connections to the Ashram. Vishnu’s role of sustaining the universe is not as glamorous as Brahma’s creating or as Shiva’s destruction of forms that can no longer contain the “Sakti. Those forms of the Divine used to capture my mind. But now it is Vishnu who, in all his incarnations through eons, undertook the sustenance tasks that maintained the world. It’s not particularly sexy to do the tasks that sustain life. Yet this aspect of Vishnu is so beautiful and so precious. Nourishing and sustaining the earth flows from Vishnu’s open heart.

I have the beautiful gift of Shaktipat from my Guru and I need to sustain it. I am grateful now for the Vishnu support in my practice, to sustain my practices of the Svaroopa® Sciences. I now see all strands of my life woven together into a sustaining tapestry. And this is because it is the Ashram, also in the Vishnu stage of life, that sustains me in my life.

So I no longer give seva and financial support to the Ashram from fear and urgency. I give to the Ashram because it’s continuing existence is important. Please join me in setting up a monthly donation— or increasing your monthly donation, and know that your one-time gift in an amount that works for you is also very welcome. This is the time to give, to ensure that our fully created, stable Ashram flourishes. Then you know you are sustaining its life it every day, just as you would water any garden.  In supporting our Ashram in this way, you can count on being able to harvest your own sustenance.

Be an instrument of Vishnu through such continued support. This is a great time to support the Ashram as you would nurture any relationship that you cherish.

Why I Give by Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Join Peter is supporting the Ashram's Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

Join Matrika is supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

We Board members make phone calls to other donors in our spring and fall fundraising campaigns. Anticipation of a fundraising call can agitate the mind. Board members of any organization will confess to an aversion to asking for money. Yet in reality, every Ashram campaign brings me a gloriously different experience.

First, it’s my joy to call previous and current donors just to say thank you. I am truly and deeply grateful to each and every donor — past, present and future. Each of us who gives financially, at the level allowed by our circumstances, sustains the Ashram. This infrastructure, in turn, supports Swami Nirmalananda in passing on the sacred teachings by which she lives and serves.

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

We community members benefit. Everyone we touch benefits from our growing basis in Self. We more and more make our choices and take action from that deeply open, divine place. Thus healing, transformation and even illumination ripples outward to our families, to our own students (if we teach) and into our local communities. In this context, a phone call to express gratitude is delicious.

Inevitably, my conversation with the yogi turns to what she or he is grateful for. In the last few weeks everyone spoke of how much they cherish their relationship with Swamiji and the Svaroopa® sciences, how much they value her teachings:

“Swamiji is such a conduit of Grace. Teaching yoga in the context of Swamiji’s teachings, I find that my students make such quick progress in healing. I just want to see the Next Steps be ample finances so that Swamiji is freed up from having to manage any administration tasks, so she can turn all of her attention to teaching and writing. She can just be a Guru. I believe that’s the most important next step in attracting more people out there to the Svaroopa® sciences.”

“Because of Swamiji’s teachings I am compassionate in my relationship with members of my local community. I am more accepting of what is, not fighting to get things to be different. I accept that, as a yogi, I am different from my local community — and perhaps especially because I am a Svaroopa® yogi. Yet within the Ashram community I feel that I am a good fit.”

“I love sharing Svaroopa® yoga and I love seeing what Svaroopa® yoga therapy does for my clients. This yoga is so powerful. One of my students works in an accounting firm, and even in tax season she came to class, even on April 16th this year. She tells me, I’m coming to you because I want what you have.’ Swamiji and her teachings are part of my daily life. She has done so much for me in helping me find my Self. I listen to NPR every day, and I donate to NPR. Why wouldn’t I give money to support Swamiji and the Ashram?”

Another Svaroopa® yoga teacher and yoga therapist related a miracle story about one of her clients who had been in constant pain for 15 years. The client cried during her first session. The tears came because, for the first time in that whole span of time, she felt no pain. When I asked this Svaroopi whether she had any questions or concerns about the Ashram, she just wanted to know the mechanics of increasing her monthly donation.

I thought yoga was all about the poses when I first started practicing. Now I know it’s so much more. It feels to me that the “More” arises because we are all in relationship to our Guru. It’s a relationship that fosters — or uncovers — unconditional love. That’s the basis of connection within our community. So all interactions are infused with pure joy and Grace, which reveals The Truth, that at the core of each of us is the One Self.

Please contribute, with a one-time gift in any amount, or by becoming a monthly donor, if you have not already done so. Support the structure that enables Swami Nirmalananda to spread the teachings ever more widely.

Click here to donate.  New monthly donors receive a thank you gift from Swami Nirmalananda, as do those who increase their monthly donation.

On Solid Ground by Kanchan (Connie) Mohn

Join Peter is supporting the Ashram's Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

Join Kanchan in supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

We stand on the solid ground of the Divine.  We all do, whether or not we are aware of That at any particular moment. We depend in so many ways on our Guru and on the Ashram activities to support our efforts to rest in the experiential knowing of our own Divine Essence.  Our Guru and our Ashram are always there for us, always available via the material structures: the Ashram, Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center, trainings and retreats in PA and all over the world, and our virtual Ashram (website).  And the Guru/Self is always available to us in the subtle realms.  Always.  There is no where that It is not.

Can we say the same about our availability, our willingness to support the Divine, to support Love?  Does the Divine need our support to survive?  No. Does it

Kanchan Mohn

Kanchan Mohn

respond to our support and availability? Yes, a hundredfold.  Take a moment to consider what you have given in relation to what has been given to you, what is always offered to you.  Staggering, isn’t it?

So we stand on the solid ground of the Divine, and we also stand on solid ground financially now, as Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram. Does that mean support is no longer needed?  No.  Swamiji is still intimately involved in the practical operations of the Ashram.  Too much of her time is taken up with these concerns.  She works very long hours, and still she remains committed to our experience of the Divine, and to making the experiential knowing of Self freely available to us in so many ways.

Swamiji’s bountiful, unswerving efforts extend the powerful teachings of her lineage and priceless experience to us. You have experienced it.  You know it. There’s no question that we all have unimpeded access to our Guru, to the lineage of Gurus and to the Grace that flows through them…to the extent that we make ourselves available. Through the Ashram and its programming, Swamiji makes it easy for us to stay in consistent contact with her and to the experience of the Divine.

Yet we live in a material world and it takes funding — financial support — to sustain the Ashram, and the programming through which we receive these incalculable benefits. That’s just the way the world works. Swamiji does everything possible to create an Ashram, physical, virtual, and ethereal that now embraces our worldwide community. No matter where we live or where we travel, we have the gift of contact with our Guru, with Self, on all levels.

Through SVA, Swamiji is committed to teaching and guiding all of us on this path toward Self-realization in this lifetime. To continue to do so, she and the Ashram must be supported even while on solid financial ground. That comes about through my commitment and your commitment to financial support.

Please join me in ensuring the continuance and even the expansion of all that the Ashram and Swamiji give to you, give to me, and give to the world beyond. Please take the next step to become a monthly donor or to make a one-time contribution.  If you are already a monthly donor, please consider increasing the amount. When you do so, notice the transformative effect in your life, yourself and your capacity for accessing your own Self.

Time Expands by Peter Gallagher

Join Peter is supporting the Ashram's Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

Join Peter is supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps. Click the image above to donate today.

This time of year is the most stressful for me, as I am a tax preparer for individuals and small businesses.  There’s a time commitment, with a very close deadline. The famous April 15th looms! A lot of work must be finished in a short time.  Many decisions need to be reached that will have an impact on my clients’ current and future finances. It is important for me to reach clarity within this time of stress.

So even though I have less free time now, I’ve learned to make time for my Svaroopa® yoga practices.  I may have interests in A, B, C and D, but I can only choose A and B. So I’ve learned to push aside C and D, and choose A and B, representing daily yoga practice and work. I used to choose only work. The biggest change for me has been

Peter Gallagher

Peter Gallagher

that I now make time for yoga, even when I have no true free time.  The time that I spend in my daily yoga practice actually creates a sense of more spaciousness for my work.

Most of my clients are long term. In many cases I’ve been involved in major decisions in their lives, including those involving births and deaths.  Because my clients are comfortable with me, I make space for them, and the extra space has been an important part of my work. My tax preparation and financial work is very much a form of service. With yoga, I am now less attached to the income aspect of my work. It’s also the gift of nearing retirement that enables me to be more interested in service to my clients than on my financial rewards.  The relationship part of my work with them has become more important.

It is becoming a member of the Ashram Board that has sparked this change most. I’ve stepped up to a new level of commitment to the Ashram; I give more time and more financial support.  I wasn’t expecting that, with this greater commitment to the Ashram, I would be taking more time for my personal yoga practice, and simultaneously placing more focus on allowing more time for clients.

Paradoxically, within the compressed time period of tax session, I am experiencing a sense of personal expansion. My relationships with clients, family and even strangers are better. Learning to give more to the Ashram has been a great benefit in my life. I am experiencing expansion during the tax season, a time I normally experience compression. This surprising phenomenon gives me an experiential understanding of the Grace that our lineage promises.

All has happened because of my relationship to the Ashram and my relationship with our Guru, Swami Nirmalananda. Through the teachings that she passes on to us, I’ve learned to take a step a forward again and again. Some of those steps, in fact, seem to be five steps to me.

Won’t you join me on this incredible journey? I invite you to take your next step forward in the form of committing to a monthly donation — or increasing your contribution if you are already a monthly donor. Or perhaps a one-time contribution works best for you.  Your support, in any amount, is welcome with great gratitude, and enables the Ashram and Swamiji to sustain unmatched service to you, to me, and to our whole community, spreading ever farther and deeper into the world.

I Want to Be a Realized Being by Kristine Freeman, Board Member

The Next Steps logo

Join Kristine in supporting the Ashram’s Next Steps – click the image above to make a donation today.

I’m in this for the long haul. I want to be a realized being. I want to live the life I’m living from a whole different place — a place of steadiness with an undercurrent of joy. I know that on the outside my life will look very much the same. But internally I want to live in that state of continual knowing that I am That and that everyone and everything else is too.

Knowing that everyone and everything is all just one big infinite interwoven web of pulsing “ham’sa” energy, I look forward to the fun of experiencing the world as an undercover mystic! On a deeper level, I believe there is no better way to live this human life I’ve been given than to develop it to its fullest potential.

kristineBut I’m not going to get there alone. I need the support of our Guru and our Ashram, the person and the organization dedicated to making these teachings and practices available in the world. As the Ashram has grown into a state of steadiness in the world, I’ve felt a growing sense of  steadiness in my own practices.

This is why I give time and money to support the Ashram. I want the Ashram to thrive and to be there for me for a long time. Until I’m a realized being and beyond.

Getting More & Giving More by Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver, Board Member

The Next Steps logoWhen I attended my first Svaroopa® yoga class, I had an experience that kept me coming back for more.  One yoga class did it for me; I was hooked.  My body felt better than it had in such a very long time. Yet I had no idea what I was ultimately in for.

The fire lit in that first class has propelled me through years of training, teaching, meditation, philosophy study, seva, and, most importantly, a deepening relationship with my Guru. It’s been a process, one that I have cherished.

carolyn_beaver

Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver

Your Svaroopa® journey is different than mine, precisely because it’s YOUR journey. But it’s also the same as mine. It’s a process. Yoga is a process, just as raising a family or growing a garden are processes. All of life is a process. With love and care, all things begin, grow and develop.

You wouldn’t expect that your back pain would be cured in one asana class or that you would reach enlightenment after one meditation. It’s a process. And the Ashram, your yoga organization, is the cornerstone of your yogic process.

I wonder where would I be, even who I would be, without my yoga practice.  Where would I be without the Ashram, the strong foundation that supports my practice? I know the answer. The support and care that I get from my yoga organization, as well as the gifts I give through my time and my donations — both have helped enable continuing growth and development — for both of us.

Please join me in making a significant donation to our Ashram’s “Next Steps.” Take your next step by being a donor for the first time, or increasing your monthly donation or giving a more generous one-time donation than you think you are capable of. Trust me, you are capable, in large part because of the support you receive.

A Heartfelt Thank You by Karuna (Carolyn) Beaver, Board Member

Blossoming Forth logo-vertical

Click the logo above to make a donation today.

I’d like to express a heartfelt thank you for your donation to our Blossoming Forth fall fundraising campaign. “Unmilana” is Sanskrit for the blossoming forth that occurs on multiple levels. It describes an unfolding and coming forth. It describes the opening of the eyes or the process of making things visible. It describes making explicit what has been implicit or hidden within.  It also describes the blossoming forth of gratitude from the Board of Directors of Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram.

More than a year ago, SVA opened up to expand and include Svaroopa® Yoga under its carolyn_beaverorganizational umbrella, blossoming forth a consolidated organization serving a multiplicity of needs. We all had our eyes opened in the process, watching both the bumps in the road and the clearing of a path. It made explicit what was implicit – the Grace that underlies the practices of asana and meditation is the same Grace that supports us all.

Once again, through your donations, you have shown that the Grace that supports you is the same Grace that supports our organization. Because this organization is yours, you support the organization. As Swami Nirmalananda taught in a recent phone course, this mutual support is an important part of every relationship in your life. When you receive support, you offer support.

Your financial support makes a big difference. It enables SVA to hire and retain teaching and administrative staff whose job it is to serve you. It enables the creation and maintenance of a beautiful new website, both to inspire as well as to inform you. It enables both stabilization and expansion of our course offerings, many at newly-lowered rates for 2015. It enables you to keep doing the yoga and meditation that you love.

That’s why I make donations in both our fall and spring campaigns, as well as send a regular monthly donation. I love my yoga. I love my meditation. I love my yoga buddies. I love my students. I love my honored teacher, my Guru. This organization has given me so much. It has given me my Self. When I receive support, I offer support.

As Swamiji wrote in her first letter about this campaign, organizations are nothing but groups of people committed to a shared goal. She explained that yogic processes happen both to individuals as well as to the organization itself. Your support – financial, volunteer and in other ways too numerous to mention – keeps SVA afloat, as both you and the organization travel down the river of Grace. Thank you for all that you do.

Gratitude by Amala (Lynn) Cattafi Heinlein, President of SVA

Blossoming Forth logo-verticalWhat are you grateful for? Have you thought about it today?

Here is my short list:

  • I am grateful for my Guru, who with a word, or a glance, or just being within proximity, removes the knotted ropes that my mind binds me with
  • I am grateful for my Guru, who has opened the door to Grace within me, and is taking me (sometimes slowly, sometimes in the super express lane) to the knowing of the Self
  • amala-photoI am grateful for our amazing community, all of you, who time and time again bring me home
  • I am grateful for the opportunity to do seva, to serve on the Board with this most amazing and committed group of yogis, who never lose sight that all we do is all for you. This also includes all of the staff and sevites who are so dedicated and loving
  • I grateful for my family, even when they drive me crazy (which at the moment is most of the time! LOL), because they are the Self also, they are the Guru.
  • I am grateful for this experience of embodiment, even though it is not always perfect on a physical level, it is perfection itself!
  • I am grateful for everyone I meet, everything I can see, touch, taste, hear, or smell
  • I am grateful for what I don’t yet know, even when my mind wants to stress that I don’t yet know it
  • I am grateful for the emotional pain I am currently in the midst of, as I know it is part of the expansion process
  • I am grateful for my mind, even though I still easily become enslaved by it, because it is also Shiva, and it is beautiful
  • I am grateful for fear, because it gives me the opportunity to face and walk through it.. and getting to the other side of it is ecstatic!
  • I am eternally grateful for this path, our lineage, the teachings. How did we all get so lucky to have found this opening, this map, to Self-realization?
  • And finally, I am grateful to you who open your heart time and time again to offer your donations to keep this organization not only afloat, but sailing forward! Don’t stop now, do it again! The organization survives, and thrives, on your donations and your participation, and even if you don’t realize it, so do you….

Click here to support your organization and your practice.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h

Lets Blossom Forth Together

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

Matrika (Marlene) Gast

We as a community of yogis have shown, over the past two years of Reawakening and Consolidation, that when Swami Nirmalananda planted the seeds of the Svaroopa® sciences, she established a perennial garden. Year after year this abundant garden blossoms forth with delectable fruits of right action, strength, knowledge that is full of light as well as enduring friendships. I remember one yogi, on a Yoga of Food phone course, who talked about how she felt a sense of being loved by the vegetables she was about to eat. Swamiji replied with a teaching: the abundance of the earth that nourishes arises from the pure love for us who embody Divinity, even if we don’t yet fully know that. Those teachings from Swamiji meet my experience with knowledge full of light, and I recognize that, no matter where I am, Self within is alive and well.

For me our Ashram offers refuge from whatever tendrils of “not knowing” still bind me. This place of refuge exists in Swamiji’s home in Downingtown and in the courses at The Desmond. And it also exists in our own homes through our internet access to free audios, online articles and publications as well as phone courses. Our Ashram is a garden that continues to blossom forth with abundant nourishment, wherever we are geographically, and wherever we are in the unfolding of our lives on the path of this profoundly transformative yoga, inside and outside.  Through Swamiji’s teachings the tendrils of “not knowing” relax their grip. More and more freed from this constraint, our hearts open and our bonds amongst us arise from the recognition of Divinity, inside and outside.

In my own life, I have noticed this in relationships with family and friends.  There was a time when yoga practices for me were all about being inward, even withdrawn. Asana doused the fire of back pain and let me float in Shavasana. When work or family life was difficult and chaotic, it was so easy find relief and renewal in Ujjayi and the Magic Four. At first the “outside” could feel even less appealing, and in relationship I was still guarded and hidden in my little-s self. But gradually and inevitably, the brilliance of Swamiji’s teachings on all levels has melted the encasing frost of my fear. Fear of what? Maybe it was of the outside world, in any form, conflicting with my desires for things and people to be the way I wanted them to be in order to fulfill my needs.

The thaw was first noticeable in Meditation Teacher Training when I went out to lunch and could feel the peace and sweetness of Divinity in each and every person I saw — at the grocery store, with dueling shopping carts! Last night, to celebrate her birthday, I took by 14-year-old granddaughter and her best friend to shop at The Mall — and I just loved being with them. On this Svaroopa® path I walk along without losing my Self, the Ever-Arising Sweetness and Clarity of Pure Being.

Really, there is nothing else on the planet like our Svaroopa® sciences. They work in us as a community to blossom forth. We can foresee how, with our ongoing financial support, these teachings that Swamiji authentically brings to us are poised to reach ever more deeply into the body, minds and hearts of yogis worldwide as they discover her through audios and articles on our new website. That’s great.

But also great is that each of us, as individual persons in community, continues to grow into the knowing of ourselves as the Self. While it’s great to be able to see that Divinity in everyone, it’s a blessing to be with each other in programs, on calls, in teacher training, in our local Svaroopa® communities. Then the Grace is so palpable. As we speak the same Svaroopa® language, it’s so easy to understand one another and to stay in connection with Self. It’s effortless to bask in that Divine glow inside and outside.

That’s why I continue to be a monthly donor, year in and year out, just as Swamiji and all of our teachers continue to serve us with the teachings. I also celebrate with a special financial gift twice each year.  So I invite you to join me in this joyful practice of dakshina. Celebrate how much each of us, as well as yourself, has blossomed forth individually and together. If you have already donated, thank you!  If not, I urge you to offer financial support so our Ashram — our refuge — can reach out to all others who are seeking this same transformation through Swamiji’s teachings, even if they don’t know it yet. Imagine the fullness of our closing mantras with all of our voices now, along with all who could be joining us, chanting:

Om. Peace. Peace. Peace to all.