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“In olden days these asanas were practiced in Gurukulas and so the people were strong and healthy.” – Swami Sivananda

"Let us bring this message of True World Order"

Swami Vishnudevananda founded the True World Order and the Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training Course in the late 1960s to promote world peace and understanding. In the following article, excerpted from the book Vishnudevananda Upadesa, he urges us to keep spreading the word.

Look at the war that is going on every day. This is the way of the world. War is going on constantly. The True World Order is to remind us that we are living like human brothers on this planet Earth. Try to remove the idea that "I am a Jew, I am a Protestant, I am a white man, I am a black man, I am a colored man, I am an Indian" and so forth. This idea should go from human thinking.

Yoga teaches that you are immortal spirit. Until you find this spirit, until you know that everyone is made up of the same substance, the same spirit, same consciousness, same dignity, there will be no peace. And that is why yoga through True World Order is trying to train the people, the leaders to find this dignity within themselves, at least to a certain extent, so they will not create war, and we can live peacefully on this planet Earth for the short period we are all here.

Let us not fight. Let us bring this message of True World Order: world brotherhood, unity in diversity. We should allow everyone to develop their religion, their language, their culture, their way of life. There is nothing to condemn. We can have beauty by having all these things. There is a beauty in different languages. It is not possible to have one language, one religion, one faith, or one philosophy to suit all human levels. There will always be different languages. Different religions will be there, different colors will be there, different customs, different philosophies, different thinking. Let them all have what they want. If we can live peacefully, respecting others' wishes, others' religions and others' philosophies, and yet sticking to our own philosophy, our own religion, our faith, our own way of life, this is beauty. This is called "unity in diversity."

Join representatives of the world's major spiritual traditions for our Christmas and New Year Symposium and Celebration, Unity in Diversity: The Paths are Many, the Truth is One, which will be held from December 22, 2010 – January 1, 2011.

 

My TTC: I soaked it all up like a dry sponge
by Shanti

In the spring of 2009 I took my first trip on the yoga boat to Sivananda Ashram on Paradise Island. Little did I know that the next 30 days as a student in the Yoga Teachers Training Course would forever change my life. Stepping into that little paradise remains a vivid memory to this day. The luscious tropical greenery, the beautiful red and yellow hibiscus flowers blooming and the soothing ocean waves were quite a treat for someone coming from Canada. I parked my one-person tent beneath a noni tree and had my pre-warm up yoga postures slithering in and out of my tiny home. I had decided beforehand to live simply for the entire month, mainly by hand-washing the very few items of clothing I had brought. All I can say is it's a good thing the TTC pants are reversible!

From satsang to asana class to brunch to lectures, each day was filled with new activities and new information. I soaked it all up like a dry sponge. But as much as I would like to say that retaining all the knowledge was effortless, there was definitely an area that required greater effort: Sanskrit. On our first "day off" (don't be fooled), my classmate Sara and I went to find a secluded place to practice our Sanskrit. We chose a quiet spot down the beach near the lighthouse and set up camp for the day. With our manual and notebooks in hand we began to memorize the Gajananam (opening prayer). Word by word, line by line we repeated it over and over again. Eventually, with the help of refreshing dips in the ocean, we memorized the first stanza. Week one, one stanza, great success!

That day remains a day of great joy in my mind. A day filled with good company, good music, good food, good weather, it was a picture-perfect day to celebrate my birthday. That was my little secret but someone from higher up arranged for me to celebrate on this day. In the morning satsang we had a concert with Gerhard Fankhauser, enchanting string instrument and vocals, and my study-buddy brought her ukulele along for the day. But the greatest gift of all was having found a sanctuary of peace, a place of higher learning and a paradise that I can call home.

Shanti returned to the ashram a few months after her TTC and for the last year has been serving as a full-time staff member at the Bahamas Yoga Retreat.

 

Well Being Center now taking appointments

WellnessParameshwara and Krsnapriya, part of the Well Being Center team

Our Well Being Center will be open for the season on December 11th and will remain open through May 2011. Booking for appointments is now available.

The center offers therapeutic massage, Thai yoga massage, yoga therapy and a variety of ayurvedic sessions including personal ayurvedic consultations, abhyanga (oil massage), shirodhara (oil streamed over the forehead), nasya (oil applied to the nasal passages), basti (localized retention of oil) and ayurvedic facials. We will also offer week-long (or longer) personalized cleanse and rejuvenation programs, in the pancha karma tradition, which include a consultation, appropriate daily treatments and a long-term balancing plan to take home with you. (Last year's participants all want to come back again!) We invite you to come and spend a few days or weeks benefiting from these ancient and profound modalities for deep healing and rejuvenation.

This season we welcome back all our practitioners from last year: Lalita Devi, Isvari, Krsnapriya, Parameshwara and Narayani. We also are blessed to have Shama joining us to provide the yoga therapy sessions. Yoga therapy offers a personalized yoga program specifically designed for individuals facing health challenges on the physical or mental-emotional levels.

Please make your appointments when you make your reservations at the Yoga Retreat to avoid being disappointed. For more information, e-mail lalitadevi@sivananda.org.

 

Using Yoga to Move Beyond Stress
Yoga is one of the most effective treatments because it affects the mind as well as the body
by Susan B. Lord, MD

It's interesting how complaints of "stress" are so common that we tend to underestimate the impact of stress on our physical and emotional health. The science is clear: a prolonged stress response changes our biochemistry and physiology in ways that make us vulnerable to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic recurrent infections, autoimmune disease, arthritis, pain syndromes, anxiety and depression.

Arguably the most important issues your doctor should discuss with you are those that cause you stress. This would be both good preventive medicine and good treatment, as stress also exacerbates all medical conditions. Our present health care system is not set up to help us understand our stressors and deal with them effectively.

The list of stressors is long and unique to each person. Some are obvious like poor quality food, a difficult marriage or overwork. Other stressors are not so obvious. These include thoughts and beliefs that limit and diminish us. They include hurtful or traumatic experiences that have never healed. Identifying and examining these issues can rebalance us physically and emotionally, restoring our vitality.

There are many therapies that are helpful in this process of healing. Yoga is one of the most effective because it affects the mind as well as the body. Yoga opens the body, allowing energy to move through blocks, restoring function not only to the musculoskeletal system but also to the endocrine and nervous systems, which regulate the stress response and the relaxation response. In fact, yoga rebalances every system in the body.

In addition to these physical benefits, the practice of yoga calms, balances and focuses the mind. In states of deep relaxation, we release both new and old patterns of stress. We break through the old patterns of thought and behavior which keep us stuck. So practice yoga, let go of stress and open to your full potential.

Susan Lord will present Transforming Stress: Mindful Living and the Art of Nourishment on January 24-26. Check our website for other Mind and emotions related courses and yoga vacation programs.