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Swami SivanandaSwami Vishnu

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Call nothing your own. Even this body is not yours. Rejoice in the Soul or Atma within.

—Swami Sivananda

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Yoga Philosophy & Teachings

Yogic Holidays and Their Meanings

Have you ever wondered about the history and culture behind yoga? Beyond asana classes, yoga has a rich cultural history, including many holidays that signify many important elements of yoga and its Vedic roots. At the ashram, in addition to honoring i …
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Facing Fear and Generating New Habits

Question: I have a tendency to run away from hard situations. How do I properly face my fears? Answer: First of all, sometimes it is good to run away from situations; it is not correct to say that it is always healthy to face situations. Sometimes it i …
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Feeling Disconnected? Yoga Psychology Can Help.

Yoga is alive today and thriving all over the world, says Dr. Uma Krishnamurthy, a child psychiatrist who is now a practitioner and teacher of yoga psychology as well as an annual presenter at the ashram. “The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit ‘yuge’ …
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Learning to Teach Yoga: Three TTC Students Share Their Experiences

Among the 32 graduates who spent a month in the ashram’s intensive Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course (TTC) are three students who shared their experience of a demanding and rewarding month on Paradise Island: Rocky Vega, Stuart Bishop, and Robin H …
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Illusion, Reality, and the Validity of Western Science

  Question: If experienced reality is just an illusion, is western science then futile, or pointless?   Answer: An illusion can be a useful illusion. We need to understand this. An illusion is not an unreal thing. An illusion is simply an app …
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Courage to Walk into the Unknown

  Question: How does one summon courage to walk into the unknown?   Answer: How do we get courage to walk into the unknown? We get courage to walk into the unknown little by little. Courage is a long process. We need to face many dangerous si …
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What is Vedanta philosophy?

  Question: What is Vedanta philosophy?   Answer: The philosophy which is based on the teachings of the Upanishads is called Vedanta. The Upanishads are the ending portions of the Vedas, and their subject matter is focused on answering the qu …
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How to Practice Positive Thinking

  Question: Replacing a negative thought with a positive thought seems like an emotional denial. How do we properly practice positive thinking? Answer: There are several ways to practice positive thinking. First of all, when negative thoughts come …
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What is True Happiness?

  Question: Can you explain what true happiness is in relation to just being happy with the surroundings and myself, which seems so shallow and superficial? Answer: Our real nature is true happiness. Our ultimate nature is true happiness. Every ot …
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What is Vedanta? Q&A with Swami Medhananda Puri

Swami Medhananda Puri is a distinguished traditional teacher of Vedanta and a regular presenter at the ashram. In this Q&A, he offers responses to a few basic questions about Vedanta (also called Advaita Vedanta). Question: What is the core of Adva …
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Swami Swaroopananda on Obstacles to Yoga Practice

Question: What are the main challenges in leading a yoga lifestyle and how should we cope with them when they arise on our path? Answer: The main challenge is karma. That is the main challenge but it is also the main opportunity. In yogic practices we …
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Introduction to Meditation

We’re all conditioned to look on the outside for happiness, whether it’s relaxing in a hammock or indulging in a slice of chocolate cake. But how long can you lie in a hammock? And think about the cake: one slice is great, maybe two, even three. But fi …
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Transcending Duality

Question: How can we transcend duality? Answer: First of all we have to define what duality is. Duality is our notion that each one of us is an individual conscious being and we are aware of others, or beings or objects that are different from us; this …
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How to Acquire Faith

Question: What is faith, and how does one acquire it? Answer: Faith, first of all, is not blind belief. Faith is a way of knowing, or is a way of knowledge. Faith is a way of knowledge, not through the five senses, not through the intellect, but throug …
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The Karma of Swadharma

Question: What is swadharma? Answer: Swadharma means our self-duty. This is the karmic duty with which we are born. Each one is born in this world because of karma, because of past actions; and due to our karma, we are born with certain things that we …
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Take Time to Relax in Savasana

by Katie Papo (Ambika) Crunches and leg lifts were my go-to boredom fighter while everyone else laid in savasana (corpse pose) at the end of yoga class. I first started practicing yoga for the workout, so the last thing I wanted was to imitate a dead p …
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What Is Meditation?

“Dhyanam nirvishayam manah”: That state of the mind wherein there are no Vishayas or sensual thoughts is meditation. “Tatra pratyayaikatanata dhyanam”: A continuous flow of perception or thought is Dhyana (meditation). There is continuous current in th …
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The Five Points & Four Paths of Yoga

Based on the teachings of Swami Sivananda, Swami Vishnudevananda summarized yoga philosophy into 5 main principles, known in our tradition as the Five Points of Yoga which make the complex teachings of yoga easier to understand: Five Points of Yoga Pro …
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