Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat How to Develop Courage to Face the Unknown

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Upcoming Events

2012-13 Teacher Training Courses (TTC)

February 3 - March 2, 2013
March 5 - April 1, 2013
April 4 - May 1, 2013
May 5 - June 1, 2013

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Yoga Peace Ambassadors Course

February 1 - 7, 2013
Elaine Valdov

Yoga of Sound and Voice Training
January 18 - 24, 2013
John Beaulieu, Silvia Nakkach

Polarity Therapy & 5 Element Body Work Certification
Jan 27-Feb 1, 2013

John Beaulieu, Andreas Ledermann, Brigitta Raimann

Healing Energy
January 27 - February 1, 2013

John Beaulieu, Andreas Ledermann

Yoga as Muse: Creative Writing Course
Jan 29-Feb 2, 2013

Jeffrey Davis

Advanced Asana Course
February 1 - 4, 2013

Sylvie Boisclair (Saraswati)

Permaculture Design Certification Course
February 5 - 15, 2013

Bill Wilson, Becky Wilson ,Swami Omkarananda

Cardiac Yoga
February 10 - 16, 2013

Mala Cunningham

Foundation Yoga Courses

Yoga For Beginners
Yoga for Beginners

February 1-5, 2013

Intermediate Yoga
Intermediate Yoga Course

January 14-18, 2013
February 8-12, 2013

Intro to Meditation
Introduction to Meditation

January 20-24, 2013

Positive Thinking
Positive Thinking Course

March 1-5, 2013

Xmas Symposium
Chakra Immersion: Painting, Chanting & Understanding Sacred Centers

January 9-11, 2013
Mavis Gewant

Yoga for the 50+
Yoga for the 50 Plus

January 9-14, 2013
Deshan Forett (Shakti)

Swami Swaroopananda
Creating a Yogic Lifestyle

January 11-15, 2013
Silvia San Miguel (Surya)

Gaura Vani
Painting Planet Mandalas Course

January 12-14, 2013
Mavis Gewant
Tuition: $290 Add 4 nights' accommodation.

Ayyapa Puja
Creating a Yogic Lifestyle

January 14, 2013
Krishnan Namboodiri

On the Wings of Ecstasy
On The Wings of Ecstasy

January 15 - 20, 2013
Lama Karma Chötso, Ken Whiteley, Juan De la Sierra, Amir Vahab, The Mayapuris

Gracious Living
Gracious Living Vegan Nutrition Retreat

January 17 - 19, 2013
Grace Van Berkum
Tuition: $290 Add 4 nights' accommodation.

Interfaith Symposium
Interfaith Symposium

January 20 - 25, 2013
Rabbi Ted Falcon, Imam Jamal Rahman, Heinz Nussbaumer, Joe Dispenza, Swami Brahmananda, Silvia Nakkach

Advanced Yoga of Sound Voice
Advance Yoga of Sound Voice: A Practicum

January 25 - 26, 2013
John Beaulieu, Silvia Nakkach
Tuition: $150 Add 3 nights' accommodation.

Joe Dispenza
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

January 25 - 27, 2013
Joe Dispenza

Healing Your Emotional Body
Healing Your Emotional Body

January 25 - 29, 2013
Silvia San Miguel (Surya)

Longing for The Beloved
Sacred Poetry and Songs of Longing for the Beloved

January 27 - 28, 2013
Jeffrey Davis, Steve Gorn

Yoga at Home
Yoga at Home

January 30 - February 2, 2013
Deshan Forett (Shakti)

Elaine Valdov
Yoga for Peace Symposium: Changing the World from the Inside Out

February 1 - 8, 2013
Nawang Khechog, Elaine Valdov, Srinivasan, Dena Merriam, Amy Weintraub, Davod Azad, Swami Omkarananda, Bill Wilson, Becky Wilson

Awakening Kindness: Finding Joy Through Compassion for Others
Awakening Kindness: Finding Joy Through Compassion for Others

February 1 - 3, 2013
Nawang Khechog

Positive Thinking for Inner Transformation Course
Positive Thinking for Inner Transformation Course

February 3 - 5, 2013
Swami Omkarananda
Tuition: $200 Add 4 nights' accommodation.

Deeper into the Five Points of Yoga
Deeper into the Five Points of Yoga

February 3 - 9, 2013

Fine Tune Your Postures
Fine Tune Your Postures

February 6 - 9, 2013
Sylvie Boisclair (Saraswati)
Tuition: $190 Add 5 nights' accommodation.

Yoga for Mood Management: LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training, Part A - Experiential
Yoga for Mood Management: LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training, Part A - Experiential

February 7 - 11, 2013
Amy Weintraub
Tuition: $450 Add 6 nights' accommodation.

Introduction to Dreamwork for Spiritual Practice
Introduction to Dreamwork for Spiritual Practice

February 8 - 11, 2013
Rodger Kamenetz
This program will cover a variety of dream aspects and learning how to work with dreams.

Practical Spirituality: Life and Teachings of Swami Vishnudevananda
Practical Spirituality: Life and Teachings of Swami Vishnudevananda

February 10 - 16, 2013

Philosophy of Hatha Yoga
Philosophy of Hatha Yoga

February 10 - 15, 2013
Alan Wiuker (Krishna)

Happy New Year!

Om Namah Sivaya

Dear Friends,

Welcome to 2013! A new year, a new beginning, endless opportunities for growth.
We invite you to join us and gain tools to experience the greatness that is you. Expand your healing skills by learning how to work with life energy, let go of your inhibitions and reconnect with your muse, or learn how to become an Agent of Change in a world so much in need.

You are also welcome to take a yoga vacation, and in between yoga classes, inspiring lectures and delicious vegetarian meals,enjoy the wonderful Bahamian sun and our white sand beach.
We are looking forward to greeting you at the Ashram.

Om Shanti. Om Peace.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas

How do we develop courage to face the unknown?

Swamiji talks about developing courage on the spiritual path, and the need to face inner battles to overcome fear of the unknown.

To Realize the Self You First Must Become Selfless
Q & A with Swami Swaroopananda

Swami SwaroopanandaWhat would be the most practical advice for one who wants to realize the Self?


First of all, we need to keep in mind that it is incorrect to say that only a few, rare people have the desire to realize the Self, to know their own essential nature. The truth is that every single human being journeys toward that goal. The only difference is that some journey consciously and some journey unconsciously. Those who journey consciously are called yogis and those who journey unconsciously are called ordinary people. All of us, however, are moving toward the realization of the Self, and this movement follows a certain order - karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga and jnana yoga.

Karma yoga means the yoga of selfless service, and selflessness is the first thing to be developed. Living for the welfare of other beings means we have to change our habit of wanting everything to be for ourselves. In karma yoga we turn this around; we learn to live and act for the welfare of others. We do this service with a special attitude, meaning we do not expect a reward for our actions. We do not expect to receive the fruits of our actions, which makes this type of activity selfless. We culminate the practice of karma yoga by offering the action itself and the fruits of the action to Ishvara, to the Supreme Being. Doing this type of activity eliminates the impurity of the heart, which is selfishness, and prepares us for a higher yoga, which is called bhakti yoga.

Bhakti yoga is the yoga of divine love. At first that love is directed toward all of our fellow beings, but then it is focused on Ishvara, or the Supreme Being, or God, which is the reality behind the phenomenal world and the phenomenal existence. It is the creator, the preserver of creation, and the destroyer of creation. God is the inner dweller who sits within our heart and from there rules the universe. Without God dwelling in our heart, we could not even exist. Bhakti yoga is the practice of directing love toward Ishvara or God, and it purifies the mind of its outgoing tendencies, of being turbulent and scattered. When we practice this yoga we prepare ourselves for the yoga of meditation, or raja yoga.

When we enter into raja yoga we are learning to do two things - to make our mind one-pointed and to meditate. We go through all the different levels of meditation, up to the highest levels, which are the levels of samadhi. For most people this process, generally speaking, follows a certain ladder of eight steps which are causal by nature, meaning one step leads to another. You cannot skip steps, so real raja yogis will not skip the first two steps, the yamas and niyamas, which are the ethical basis of raja yoga. If they skip them they cannot be successful in the subsequent steps because mastery of one step leads you to the next. Those rare people who follow the steps properly attain the higher levels of raja yoga, the levels of deep meditation and Samadhi, or super-consciousness, which is a preparation for jnana yoga, the highest yoga.

Jnana yoga is the yoga of wisdom or the yoga of knowledge because it teaches us how to liberate ourselves from samsara, from this infinite ocean of misery. Samsara consists of birth, the in-between which basically is a mode of existence with different grades of misery, and death, and then an existence after death in different levels - some of them nicer than others. Then we are born again, and on and on in a vicious cycle. This ocean of suffering, though, is sugar-coated, meaning it appears to be a great existence even though the bitter experience of samsara lies just beneath the sugar coating. Most people cannot see this, so they just revolve in this cycle of misery. Then one day we wake up. We get the desire to liberate ourselves from this mode of existence and to enter into the realm of truth.

The realm of truth is where we are all supposed to be, so it is called the realm of our true nature. It is a beautiful, glorious, blissful, harmonious, wise and extraordinary realm. It is the realm of the Atma or the Self. In jnana yoga we learn how to exit samsara and enter into this realm, an achievement that is called Self-realization or moksha or spiritual liberation. This exit from samsara is a process of wisdom and knowledge so it is called jnana yoga, or the yoga of wisdom. It is the culmination of the whole process of yoga. Every step in this process is absolutely necessary, so we start our journey to Self-realization with the most fundamental yoga, with karma yoga. A jnana yogi is a person who is a master of karma yoga, a master of bhakti yoga, and a master of raja yoga. Only such a person can enter the path of jnana yoga or the yoga of knowledge.

You may ask, where is hatha yoga? Hatha yoga is a sub-school of the raja yoga school. Where is kudalini yoga? Kundalini yoga is another sub-school of raja yoga. The same is true with mantra yoga and with nada yoga, the yoga of sound. When you practice raja yoga, you go through all of these practices of mantra yoga, kundalini yoga, hatha yoga and so on. Now some people may say, oh this is difficult and this is long, but it is neither difficult nor long. Rather, it is samsara, the infinite lives of suffering and misery, that is long. Yoga is called the short path because you can realize the Self in one lifetime if you exert, if you are sincere, if you have a good guru. It is called the short path because it can help us to exit endless samsara.

Exiting samsara does not mean that only you exit, because if the motivation behind yoga is egotistic the Self cannot be realized. Self-realization is not ego realization; it is the realization of our true nature, which is ultimate altruism. A realized person loves all beings as his own self. Not intellectually, but truly. These people have what we call ultimate empathy. Ultimate empathy means they really feel for every single being within this creation the way a good mother feels for her own child. Therefore, when these beings realize the Self and exit samsara, they have only one thing in mind - to help everyone else. You have people like Swami Vishnudevananda, who more or less sacrificed his life for every single person on this planet, and Swami Sivananda, who did everything in his capacity to teach people how to practice yoga in the easiest possible way. Swami Sivananda definitely wanted to save all of us from samsara. He wrote so many books. He taught yoga in such a simple way that everyone could practice, and he was actually quite successful. All these people are very compassionate by nature and they do everything in their capacity to help everyone, and they have the capacity to help. There are also people who want to help but don't have the capacity.

The only problem these great yogis have is that we have free choice, and most of the time our choices are not very good. There is a universal law that the free choice of human beings cannot be violated, so even great yogis like Swami Sivananda must allow us to make mistakes. The great yogis who are guiding us, though, will try to persuade us in a kind way and point us toward better choices. Still, the choice is free, and therefore even great beings like Lord Jesus, like Lord Buddha, like Moses, like Muhammad - all these great beings who come to the planet Earth - are not able to save all of humanity from samsara because of two factors: one is the factor of evolution - everyone has the right to go through the complete process of evolution - and the other is this factor of free choice that cannot be violated. When we ourselves come to the point where we have a better comprehension of our situation, and we desire to practice yoga and to realize the Self, it is a very good thing, and such an opportunity should not be missed.

Om Shanti, Om Peace
Swami Swaroopananda, Director

Swami Swaroopananda is the Acharya (spiritual director) of Sivananda Yoga Centers and Ashrams on the West Coast of the United States, in the Middle East, and in the Bahamas, and is one of the foremost disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda. This article is from one of his spontaneous question and answer sessions, which he frequently offers at Sivananda centers and ashrams all over the world.

Cashew Goji Superfood Cookies

chia seed pudding

The following recipe can be a healthy, nutrient dense breakfast, snack, or dessert that will provide you with sustainable energy. It's an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids too.

  • 1.5 cups cashews
  • 2/3 cups medjool (pitted) dates
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup goji berries
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • pinch of himilayan sea salt
  • optional: 1-2 tbsp maple syrup

Grind cashews into powder first. Add everything else and process into a dough in your food processor. Roll into small balls. Place on plate or tray on parchment paper and make sure to space them out well. Wet a fork and then press down in the middle of the cashew cookie ball to flatten it and leave fork lines on top. Re-wet fork for every cookie so dough does not keep sticking to fork. Store in freezer. When ready to eat, enjoy frozen or wait a few minutes for it to de-thaw. Superfood high protein yumminess!

To learn more about these superfood ingredients, visit Grace's blog at or take one of her Gracious Living Vegan or Raw Food Retreats at the Sivananda Bahamas Yoga Ashram.

Check out Grace's upcoming courses in the Bahamas: Gracious Living Vegan Nutrition Retreat, Spring Detox & Juice Fasting Program, Gracious Living Raw Food Retreat, Yoga for Peak Performance in Sports & Life and the Gracious Living Yoga and Food Cleansing Retreat.

Grace Van BerkumGrace Van Berkum is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Sivananda Yoga Teacher, Certified Personal Trainer, and raw, vegan recipe creator. She is passionate about the healing powers of live foods, the power of Yoga and positive thinking, and the power of connecting to nature. This has influenced her to create Gracious Living Yoga Empowerment Retreats in Nicaragua, and around the world, inspiring people towards healthier lifestyles and living their best life possible.

One Day on Earth

On December 12th, 12.12.12, across the planet, documentary filmmakers, students, and other inspired citizens recorded the human experience over a 24-hour period and contributed their voice to the third annual global day of media creation called One Day on Earth.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat is proud to have been asked to collaborate on such an inspiring project sponsored by:

Together, we are showcasing the amazing Unity in Diversity that occurs in one day.


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Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat • P.O. Box N7550 • Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas
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