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Swami SivanandaSwami Vishnu

Sivananda Bahamas Blog

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Inspiration and ideas on yoga philosophy, practice, and lifestyle. Enjoy, tell others, and return often.
 
 
 

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A small sampling of our accommodations. Want to learn more? Give a visit to our brand new website: www.sivanandabahamas.org/guest-information/rates-and-accommodations/ (4 photos) ... See MoreSee Less

21 hours ago

Thomas Taulbee, Anthea Dee Anthea and 23 others like this

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Denise Migenis WilcoxAurea Grandguillotte!! Want to?!1   ·  13 hours ago

Pat KirklandWe loved our stay, and this room!3 hours ago

Renjith NairPls tell me difference between luxurious hotel and asramam20 hours ago

Renjith NairThis is five star hotel or asramam20 hours ago

Mari Nes AadnesenYoga retreat Vibeke Berge Ravnås? :)20 hours ago

Luvjit KandulaThis was the best room ! :))21 hours ago

Terri MillerSee u in 5 months. I wish I could live there!!!1   ·  21 hours ago

Katherine MoffattChar Chris Thompson21 hours ago

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Are you following us on Instagram yet? Follow now: instagram.com/sivanandabahamas ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

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Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat added 3 new photos. (3 photos) ... See MoreSee Less

4 days ago

Jenny Parvati Lynn Scott, Marc Halpern and 23 others like this

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Malela QuintanaDaniella Sforza Sara D. Landry2   ·  3 days ago

Dawn Landen NantzBeautiful! Can't wait to return2   ·  4 days ago

Catherine PompeoOm Namah Sivaya!2   ·  4 days ago

Bob ConnollyI went to one retreat at Sivanada Ashram and can't wait to get back. Jai Ganesha!1   ·  3 days ago

Simon Sibi Paul FlackNice to see yu. Refreshment for the eyesz.1   ·  3 days ago

Catherine DegandNamaste - Om Namah Sivaya Love is All - Thank You :-)1   ·  4 days ago

Perla Aura Medicine SongHello blessed ones , thank you for a perfect January, 2014 . lovely to see your faces .2 days ago

Alexandra Shambhavi StutmanOooohhh, beloved Swamiji Brahmananda!!! Miss him and his lectures!!!Will be therefore for Sivaratri! :-)3 days ago

Aliana AcevedoI wish i was there!!!3 days ago

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Did you know that you can now register and make payments online using our brand new website? We are always striving to make your visit as easy as possible.

Have a look now: www.sivanandabahamas.org/
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5 days ago

Special Offer for October 2014 No Yoga Vacation Fee!

To celebrate the launch of the 2014-15 season, we’re waiving the daily Yoga Vacation fee for the month of October. You pay only for your accommodations — and take advantage of the Summer/Fall rates! Explore our wide range of housing options. Learn more: www.sivanandabahamas.org/special-offer-october-2014/
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6 days ago

 
Chanting Ahimsa |  sivanandabahams.org

Chanting Ahimsa

by Nicole Vahlkamp (Nirmala), karma yogi

It is 6 o’clock in the morning and 200 people are sitting cross-legged on a large wooden platform surrounded by palm trees made slightly iridescent by the contrast between the slowly rising sun and the shadows of the dissolving darkness. At the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat in the Bahamas, Maya Tiwari, a renowned Ayurvedic teacher, is leading satsang the gathering of students to study and meditate on yogic teachings of truth.

Tiwari is teaching the group about ahimsa what Swami Sivananda defined as non-violence in thought, word, and deed. Together, everyone repeats an ahimsa chant: I take the vow of ahimsa. I make inner harmony my first priority. I take the vow of ahimsa in my thoughts, speech, and actions.

The group is tentative at first, perhaps still too sleepy to chant with spirit, but Maya is encouraging. “Say it like you mean it,” she urges. “Chant like Mike Jagger!” she insists, and soft laughter rustles throughout the crowd. Her jesting works. The group ahimsa chant gradually grows louder, shifting the energy to one of both subtle strength and peace.

My thoughts wander and I suddenly realize that, beyond my own vegetarian diet, I never think much about ahimsa even though I know it is one of the most important components of yoga. This chant adds another layer to my understanding, because the vow has a very clear instruction: Make inner harmony the first priority.

Tiwari speaks as the group continues to chant, telling us that ahimsa begins within the self, inner harmony is a prerequisite for greater non-injury, and ahimsa mantras can help us in our inner journeys towards love and kindness.

Of course, I know this to be true from personal experience. When I think of times when my words have been harsh when I lose my patience with a colleague at work, scold my sister for leaving dirty dishes in the sink, or speak abruptly to someone I hardly even know my upset is rarely elicited by the other person. Instead, something else is making me angry, which I unfortunately take out on those around me.

Swami Sivananda understood the negative power of anger and its ultimate contribution to violence. In his writings on ahimsa he taught, “All sinful and wrong actions are committed by you when you are under the sway of anger. Anger can be easily subdued by practicing non-violence. If anger is under your control you cannot do evil actions and you will enjoy supreme peace.”

When we are angry, we can only spread anger; to spread peace, we must be internally peaceful.

But how do we cultivate such inward peace, kindness, and compassion?

Ahimsa mantras can guide us.

Whenever something disturbs us, we can use mantra to clear the mind, sweep away the negative thoughts, and re-focus our energy on peace and love. In this way, we train the mind to calm itself when agitated, subdue anger, and avoid inflicting both internal and external harm.

Imagine if your co-worker upsets you, but instead of immediately lashing out, you repeated a mantra five times before responding? Or if the next time you started to be hard on yourself, even in small ways by saying, “I should have gotten more work done today; I shouldn’t have eaten that; I don’t look good in this outfit,” you instead began to repeat silently, “I make inner harmony my first priority.”

I imagine all my interactions would be much different if I practiced this mantra daily.

As the sun rises, the group’s chanting grows stronger, and so does my own voice. Eventually, my mind is focused only on repeating this vow, and I feel greater affirmation, self-confidence, compassion, and calm.

I can literally feel the power of the mantra in my body, and I understand Swami Sivananda and Maya Tiwari’s teaching of truth: serenity within the self is the only path to true ahimsa.