We are coming into a very special time of year, with the approach of Autumn and of Navaratri, the Festival of the Divine Mother. This festival provides a sacred space for reflection, worship, chanting of devotional songs and hymns, and readings from Devi Mahatmyam, the epic story of the Divine Mother.
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
60th Anniversary Celebrations June 30 – July 4, 2017
It has been an amazing 60 years since Swami Vishnudevananda headed west from the Rishikesh Divine Life Society Ashram under the direct guidance of his guru Swami Sivananda. It is a different world from the one in 1957, both by grace of the balancing effects of the Yoga renaissance and in spite of it.
As a small child growing up in the cold winters of Canada, I remember at the first sight of spring, my mother would open up all the windows, clean out the closets & move the furniture to get at all the dust that had accumulated over the long winter. The place felt amazing after that, fresh, clean, new energy. Back then, my family didn’t know much about health or how beneficial an internal spring cleaning would have been. Funny how sometimes we put a great deal of importance on the external, while neglecting what is going on inside.
The sweat lodge is an Indigenous Native American tradition that has different meanings depending upon the tribe who builds it and the number of saplings used to construct it. Built of bent saplings, generally in the form of the Plains wickiup, sweats are dome-shaped structures used primarily for purposes of purification. The larger purpose of sweat lodge can range from simple cleansing to spiritual rebirth, and nearly all tribes of the Plains and Northern Medicines practice sweat ceremony in some way.
This Life is an opportunity to work through our karma. Everyone has challenges in life. In fact, character is defined by the way we meet our challenges. The ultimate question is, “To be, or not to be!” in the midst of those challenges. When we need help who do we go to? – A busy person who is skillful in dealing with challenges.
Swami Vishnudevananda set out upon his mission of World Peace with the seemingly simple slogan – “Unity in Diversity”. Yet within this slogan lies not only the essence of the Yoga and Vedanta philosophy, but also a call to action for all who wish to realize Yoga in this life. Philosophy is a powerful tool when it helps us change the attitudes which guide the way we relate to and act in the world.
As we look forward to the celebration of Maha Sivaratri on February 24th, we can gain a lot of inspiration from the study of Lord Siva’s stories and symbolism, through which He teaches us the philosophy and practices to find equanimity in turbulent times and to hold the space for peace in our daily lives.
Om Namah Sivaya,
We are delighted to announce that last week, after 3 years of fundraising, planning, and construction, the Yoga Ranch’s 93 Kw solar array went operational! It should provide nearly all the electrical needs of the Ashram, including car-charging facilities. Supporting the new solar panels, is a beautiful steel carport which will serve as the new Ashram parking lot. In addition, spring will bring landscaping opportunities, and a transformation of the entrance to the Ashram.
The Yoga Ranch offers an annual 10-day permaculture certification course. It is facilitated by the inspiring couple, Lala Bhakti and Jared Williams. To celebrate the New Year, they have put together 10 tips of small changes you can make to your everyday life for a more wholesome and environmentally sustainable existence.
Om Namah Sivaya,
Here at the Ranch, daily interactions serve as a constant reminder that living with integrity and serving with humility are not only ideals to strive towards, they are a necessary and central part of our practice.
Srinivasan’s article on the yamas and niyamas, published in the most recent edition of YOGAlife serves as an inspiring summary of the ethical foundations of yoga, and why they are so important in helping us fulfill both our daily duties and highest life goals, to the very best of our abilities.