|Practice Yoga While Living in the World|
February 15 - 17, 2013
February 26 - March 1, 2013
arch 1 - 3, 2013
March 4 - 7, 2013
March 5 - 9, 2013
March 8 - 10, 2013
March 10, 2013
March 10 - 15, 2013
March 11 - 16, 2013
March 13 - 16, 2013
Om Namah Sivaya
With the holidays behind us and the year slowly unfolding, now is the time to set your intention on accomplishing your goals, and finding the proper means, or proper sadhana for that. To refresh and step up your practice and recharge and rejuvenate your body and mind, immerse yourself in the classic practice of Hatha Yoga. To acquire a new skill and connect to your inner creative space, discover Sacred Art. To learn how to dive deep within and find true peace and bliss, immerse yourself in the practice of Meditation. Many other forms of sadhana will be offered by our highly experienced teachers during the coming months.
Om Shanti. Om Peace.
Practice Yoga While Living in the World
Many of us in the Yoga Teachers Training Course either are or will be householders. Can we stay on the path of enlightenment and raise kids at the same time?
Answer: Householders definitely can study and practice yoga. In fact, the sadhana for those leading a family life - what they are practicing - is self-sacrifice. They are learning to abolish the ego, to abolish selfishness. Karma Yoga, the yoga of selfless service, is a very good path for householders. Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion, and Raja Yoga, the yoga of meditation, are also good paths for householders. Then, theoretically, householders can study Vedanta because it is very good to keep the ultimate goal in mind. Householders who practice yoga will find that it is beneficial for the whole family, and especially for the kids. Being a householder should not be an obstacle to the practice of yoga.
Sometimes, however, we need to adapt, adjust and accommodate because when children are born, the parents often don’t sleep at night and there are many issues to deal with and so on. Then the question comes, where is the time to practice yoga? The answer is, the time to practice yoga is there in every moment. For example, a mother can repeat her mantra while she rocks the baby, or she can coordinate the rocking of the baby with the breath, and with the mantra. When she feeds the baby she can think of it like a puja: "Oh, this is not only a baby. This is God. I am worshipping God right now." You can practice in many ways. Because you are married, for example, and there are two people, there is a great opportunity to practice Karma Yoga and to develop many wonderful qualities like patience, love, compassion and understanding. Of course, if you like the practice of Hatha Yoga, then you can encourage the other members of your family to join in. Nowadays, there are even people teaching baby yoga, so even small babies can learn to practice yoga.
Certainly, a person who leads a family life can learn to practice yoga; this is not an obstacle. It just requires some flexibility, some creativity, and some adjustment. That is all. Do not think that life in an ashram is easier because an ashram is like an extended family. Sometimes there are difficulties and obstacles that are similar to those we face in family life. But obstacles are not obstacles, they are opportunities. We need determination: "Yes, I have a family and this is wonderful, and I am going to lead a yogic life, and I am going to bring the family in, and this yogic life is going to radiate and bring a lot of blessings and benefits to the family."
What things can an individual do to grow spiritually when the person does not have a living guru and lives a long distance from an ashram or center?
Answer: These days communication is becoming much easier. Use the internet and you can keep in contact with an ashram or center. Create a connection with a teacher you trust and communicate with that teacher. Get some guidance and create a daily routine of practice, and do this practice every day. Fill in a spiritual diary and send it once a month to your teacher so he or she can correct it and send you some advice about the practice. Occasionally, go and visit your teacher; come to the ashram occasionally, go to a yoga center; eventually create your own yoga center if there is no center in your city. If you do not want to create a yoga center, create a circle of yoga in your home. Invite some friends, have a satsang at your home, a small satsang. Meditate, chant, do some study, practice yoga together once a week.
Nowadays, relatively speaking, it is quite easy to get to a yoga center, to maintain contact with a teacher, to get the help of a teacher in our spiritual practice, and so on, since communications are very good. The technology allows you to actually see the teacher even though you are in one place and the teacher in another. If you do not have a high-tech teacher, then you should go and meet your teacher in person; it is very beneficial to go and meet your own teacher. Do your level best to create a daily routine of practice, to keep contact with the teacher, to visit an ashram or a center occasionally, and to create your own circle of yogic practitioners wherever you are.
Om Shanti, Om Peace
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.
10 Days Advanced Hatha Yoga Retreat
February 21 - March 2, 2013
The practice of hatha yoga begins with asanas, but its aim is to achieve the state of meditation and Samadhi, or super-conscious state. For that, further steps in the practice are needed, which are in fact, not very well known in the modern world of yoga.
Hatha yoga really deals with the manipulation of the currents of Prana and Apana, which are the ones that keep the mind in an agitated and dualistic state. Once the Pranic currents are controlled and neutralized, the "vrittis" or waves of the mind subside and the state of meditation is then experienced.
In the path of Hatha yoga, there are some practices that are taught openly to everyone, even in cities and large groups, and there are other practices that are to be taught and practiced only in a special secluded environment, and under the individual supervision of a qualified teacher and following a special diet and other regulations.
The Advanced Hatha Yoga Retreat is specifically aimed to people who are already dedicated yoga practitioners, yoga teachers and spiritual aspirants who wish to deepen their yoga practice.
Give yourself a precious gift: Have a real retreat from all your usual activities, take 10 days to immerse yourself into an advanced sadhana (dedicated spiritual practice) time, without any distractions, in the highly spiritual and healing energy of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat.
During the Retreat, we will emphasize the practice of pranayama, which is done 3 times a day in progressive levels and lengths. The practice or pranayama gradually "becomes" a practice and experience of meditation.
The daily schedule will further include the practice of asanas, Japa yoga (mantra meditation) and study of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and other classical yogic texts.
The Retreat aims to give individual guidance to the students according to their personal capacity and helping them to reach a deeper internal direct experience. It combines group practices with individual practice time such that students will spend most of the day immersed in their practices. The practice of silence (mouna) and introspection is also encouraged.
Read an article on Hatha Yoga by Krishna Darshan.