Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp. If this is your first time here you may have a few questions. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
An ashram is designed as a retreat from the concerns of worldly life. It provides a safe space for personal development and the pursuit of spiritual ideals. The common intent of those who visit helps create a space for like-minded people to experience the benefits of Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda. The Sanskrit word “Ashram” translates as a place away from work. The peaceful setting in Nature allows the yogi a chance to reflect, to nurture, to meditate and deepen their personal spiritual practice. This Ashram is open all year round.
Asana is defined as steady posture. Originally, the asanas served as stable postures for prolonged meditation. More than just stretching, asanas open the prana energy channels, the chakras and psychic centres of the body. Asanas purify and strengthen the body and focus the mind. Asana is also one of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga, which states that asana should be held steady and comfortable, firm, yet relaxed.
At an Ashram we are blessed to have wise senior teachers with us. A senior teacher will lead the satsang. A satsang is the gathering of like-minded yogis. To begin there is a group meditation, then chanting of mantras to open the heart, followed by an inspirational reading and profound words of advice from the lineage of teachers that reaches us all.
Ask any staff member to sit with you for a few pointers. Ask reception about the meditation coaching class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
These are called murtis. A murti is an image which represents a divine spirit (murta). Meaning literally “embodiment”, a murti is a representation of a divinity, made usually of stone, wood, or metal, which serves as a means through which a divinity may be worshiped. The murti is a way to communicate with the abstract one God. Once a year, in July, the murti of Subramanya-Ayyappa is taken out of the temple, placed on a chariot and escorted around the village of Val Morin. This celebration is called Kaavadi.
Stay for longer periods of time. Staying for a week can create opportunities to ask more questions, practice and read. Some yogis join the month-long TTC program to take their practice to a deeper level. Each year we aim to design a summer program filled with courses specifically focused on deepening the personal practice. Feel free to ask questions to any senior staff member.
We chant to assist in opening the heart. Our being consists of vibrations. Chanting helps tune that vibration. Chanting has a profound effect on our body, mind and soul and even our surroundings. Chanting is the yoga of sound. The various musical notes have their corresponding nadis, or subtle channels, in the chakras, the energy centers. Sanskrit is special because the vibrations of the sounds have a direct correspondence to the meanings of each letter. So even if we don’t know the intellectual dictionary meanings of the words we chant, we will still be able to intuitively understand what we are chanting. That is the magic. First and foremost is that you try to chant. The most important ingredient is your intention. “Kirtan is the easiest, surest and safest way for attaining God”- Sw. Sivananda
The Sivananda Organization is an international organization with Centres and Ashrams all over the world. We aim to speak to all languages as our guests and staff come from countries all over the world. Swami Vishnudevananda teaches us to live in “Unity in Diversity”, support all languages, cultures and beliefs. With the motto “Unity in Diversity”, students from different countries, cultures and religious beliefs have found that the practice of Yoga is a path towards respect for differences, transcending limitations and achieving inner harmony.
We strongly advise that you bring a yoga mat for your time at the Ashram, due to hygiene reasons we advocate use of own mat, we provide eco friendly mat spray for use to all. We cannot guarantee availability of a yoga mat, as there is a limited supply at the ashram, alternatively there is a boutique at the ashram where you can purchase a mat of your own.
The Ashram has reached the 21st century and cellphones do work in the ashram. Remembering the idea of an ashram is to turn to one’s personal practice of yoga and step away from the material world, waiting for text messages and phone calls can distract the mind from any inward exploration, plus distract those around us. Therefore to assist all yogis in their practice and create a peaceful environment for all, we ask that all cellphones are shut off and stored in safekeeping. Ask at reception.
It is recommended to wear comfortable casual clothing in natural fabrics such as cottons or wools. Fleeces are also very useful for any change in the weather. Slip-on shoes are recommended when coming in and out the various buildings. Gardening clothes/shoes for garden lovers. There is a silent meditation walk twice a week, so walking shoes may be useful. In the warmer months the asana classes are held outside in the fresh air. Wearing layers is recommended.
The word swami means monk. There are swamis from virtually all known religions. And here lies a very important point; a swami dedicates their life to the absolute Truth, beyond the different forms of religions. Serving others, supporting life in every way without expecting any reward, is akin to the sun shining selflessly onto the world. Some say this is the reason for the customary orange/saffron clothes of a swami. Others say the orange clothes are a reminder of the fire, the fire of knowledge that burns away ignorance; the fire of the hardship that burns away desire and attachment. As Swami Sivananda joked: “A swami wears orange clothes so that those that seek his teachings can find him easily, those that don’t can turn away.”
Certainly. Meet the gardener at the Krishna Tree at 11:00AM.
A Brahmachari has accepted absolute brahmacharya as a preparation for sannyasa. After taking the vows of brahmacharya, there is a name change, followed by the surname of ‘chaitanya’. Traditionally, the brahmachari would wear yellow clothing, to signify the quest for true knowledge, in recognition of their commitment on this path. Yellow represents the seeking of true knowledge. White represents purification of the Self.
Our staff is happy to offer coaching classes for any of your asana postures. Ask reception about the schedule.
Please click below to read about rules and regulations of the Ashram.
People visit the camp for anything between an hour and a month!
Join us for a Satsang, a Yoga class, a meal*, half a day, full day, a weekend, an extended stay, or join for courses of up to one month long.
Check the calendar for full list of events.
The daily program is always the same unless announced differently :
|6 am||Morning Satsang: open to public|
|8 am||Yoga Class: free with night stay, you can come 10 minutes before class and sign up at reception, where you can sign up for one class, get a card of 10 classes for 90$, or a 3 months unlimited card for $195|
|10 am||Brunch (* for guests only. If you wish to join, please sign up before the yoga class)|
|11 am||Karma Yoga: An hour of selfless service where everyone at the camp work together for the upkeep of the camp|
|12 pm||Workshop 1|
|2 pm||Workshop 2/ Walk|
|4 pm||Yoga Class: Same as above|
|6 pm||Dinner: Same as Brunch|
|7:30pm/8 pm (summer)||Evening Satsang: Open to Public|
Any other Questions? Ask your asana teacher, the staff at reception or review the Visitor’s Handbook.
Any changes to the schedule will be announced during Satsangs.
“Yoga balances, harmonizes, purifies and strengthens the body, mind and soul. It shows the way to perfect health, full control over the mind and total peace with our own Self, the World, Nature and God.’’ – Swami Vishnudevananda