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May 5 - June 1, 2013

Advanced Raja Yoga Course
April 24 - May 4, 2013
Swami Brahmananda

Self Enquiry and Silence: Guided Study and Practice of Vedanta
April 17 - 26, 2013

Swami Sitaramananda

April 25 - May 1, 2013
Catherine O'Neill (Durga Leela)

April 26 - 28, 2013
Swami Sitaramananda
APRIL 21-30
Spring Detox & Juice Fasting Program
Manu Dawson, Sita Chaitanya, Grace Van Berkum
MAY 2-4
Gracious Living Raw Food Retreat
Grace Van Berkum 
MAY 2-11
Yoga for Grief Relief Professional Training Course: Level 1
Antonio Sausys 
MAY 3-9
Yoga for the Special Child Basic Training

Kathy Randolph 
MAY 8-12
Yoga for Peak Performance in Sports & Life
Grace Van Berkum, Brian Culkin 
MAY 10-19
Ayurveda and Yoga Wellness Counselor Certification

Catherine O'Neill (Durga Leela), Sita Chaitanya
MAY 12-16
Yoga for Beginners Course
Senior Staff of the Ashram
MAY 17-21
Intermediate Yoga Course
Senior Staff of the Ashram
MAY 17-22
Meditation Immersion Course
Swami Brahmananda 
MAY 23-26
Gracious Living Yoga and Food Cleansing Retreat

Grace Van Berkum 
MAY 24-26
Guided Imagery & Creative Visualization: Awareness Adventures for the Body, Mind & Spirit

Julie Lusk 
MAY 24-26
Sacred Art Course: Express Divine Inspiration
Sita Chaitanya 
Global Young Leaders Forum
Elaine Valdov, Andrew Cunningham 
MAY 27-31
Adaptive Yoga Training

Krishna Das 

As nature wakes up from the winter's frost into the rapture of spring, the grandeur and beauty of creation is revealed. Learn how to recognize the grandeur inside and connect to your source. Dive deep within through silence and self-study, becoming strong and steady as a mountain. Detoxify your body using nature's gifts in the form of nourishing juices. Explore the mysteries and wonders of the mind or learn how to introspect during our Meditation Intensive Weekend. Recover and heal from self-destructive and addictive tendencies to be as free as a bird.

We are looking forward to greeting you at the Ashram.

Om Shanti. Om Peace.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas
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Finding and Pleasing Our Perfect Teacher
Q & A with Swami Swaroopananda

It is said that the fastest way to enlightenment is to be with a sat guru and let him take you over, literally following everything he says. What do you think of this, and how can we take advantage of it in this organization?

Answer: This has nothing to do with an organization. You should know that the moment you find your own guru you are within the last leg of your spiritual journey, the happy but difficult end. It is difficult because it is not the purpose of the guru to make life easy or to please us. On the contrary, the purpose of the guru is to help us get rid of the arch enemy of any spiritual practitioner, which is the ego. Not only theoretically, but practically, and this is a very painful process.

The yogic teaching is that when a person is ready, the guru will be at the doorstep, just outside the door. You may open the door and bump into your guru and not recognize your guru, but if your guru shows up you are very blessed. That doesn't mean it is going to be easy. Don't think that the appearance of the guru is the herald of easy times. No, it is the herald of difficult times and in the beginning, the guru will make our life difficult.

It has to be like this. Guru means a spiritual preceptor, our spiritual preceptor. Sat means perfect, so a sat guru is a perfect guru, a perfect spiritual preceptor. Such a preceptor has two qualities, according to the yogic scriptures. The first quality is that he or she is fully enlightened. Actually, we don't use the word enlightened in yoga; we use the term Self-realized. The person is perfectly Self-realized, completely Self-realized, and having attained the highest spiritual realization, knows the Ultimate Truth directly. The second quality is that the teacher is also a master of the scriptures, so the teacher is a master of yoga in the full sense of the word - ultimate realization and a master of the scriptures. When a person has both qualifications, such a person is called a sat guru. Why does he need the scriptures? He needs them in order to communicate the knowledge to others, the way a musician needs an instrument in order to communicate music. It is very difficult, very rare to find such a teacher so if you find one, make sure you don't lose him or her. Just hold fast, which means that when such a teacher gives you spiritual instruction, do your level best to practice it with devotion. Pray hard that the teacher will not disappear.

Getting such a teacher has nothing to do with this or that organization. It is a personal matter. Every person has his or her own guru. Now it may happen that all the people here have the same guru - Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnudevananda - it can happen, but this is not the rule; the rule is that everyone has his or her own guru. It may be the same person, but it does not have to be the same person. Ultimately, all the gurus are one. There is an ultimate guru and all the other gurus are manifestations of that ultimate guru. But the manifestations are different. So my teacher is like this and your teacher is like that. This is how it works.

Finding our teacher is very precious. We should cherish it by pleasing our guru. One way to please the guru is to actually practice the teachings. Another is to help other people. Gurus are immensely pleased when we serve others; it brings them great joy. When Swami Vishnudevananda was giving the diploma of the Yoga Teacher Training Course - back when he was teaching the course himself - he would give the diploma with a prayer. This was his prayer: Whatever good you received, please go now and share it with others. Whatever good you received, please don't keep it to yourself. That's the idea. Share it with others. The yoga teaching is not for you, it is for all.

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.
Gracious Living Creamy Tomato Miso Dressing

  • 1 tomato
  • handful of walnuts
  • handful parsley
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1/4 cup 100% extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

Blend till smooth & creamy.


For more amazing recipes, visit Grace's blog at or take one of her upcoming Gracious Living courses at the Yoga Retreat.  

Spring Detox & Juice Fasting Program, Gracious Living Raw Food Retreat, Yoga for Peak Performance in Sports & Life or 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.  

Krishna Das: The Yoga of Chant Retreat
Krishna Das - The Yoga of Chant Retreat

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