An ashram is a yogic 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 is to create a space and 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 an opportunity to reflect, to nurture, to meditate and deepen their personal spiritual practice. This Sivavanda Ashram is open yearround.
Asana is defined as steady posture. Originally, asanas served as stable postures for prolonged meditation. More than just stretching, asanas open the pranic energy channels, the chakras and psychic centres of the body. Asanas purify and strengthen the body and focus the mind. Asanas also make up one of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga, which states that asanas should be held steady and comfortable, firm, yet relaxed.
A satsang is a gathering of like-minded yogis. It is usually led by a senior teacher. Satsang starts with a group meditation, followed by chanting of mantras to open the heart, and an inspirational reading and words of advice from the lineage of teachers.
Ask any staff member to sit with you for a few pointers. Ask reception about the meditation coaching class.
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 centres. 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 dictionary meaning of the words we chant, we can still 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 of attaining God”- Swami Sivananda
The Sivananda Organization is an international organization with centres and ashrams all over the world. We aim to speak the languages spoken by our guests and staff, who 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 yoga is a path towards respect of 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 that you use your own mat. We provide ecofriendly 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.
The Ashram has reached the 21st century, and cellphones do work in the Ashram. However, 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 inward exploration, and 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.
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 of the various buildings. Gardening clothes and 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 of knowledge that burns away ignorance, the fire of discipline that burns away desire and attachment. As Swami Sivananda joked: “A swami wears orange clothes so that those who seek his teachings can find him easily, and those that don’t can turn away.”
Certainly. Meet the gardener at the Krishna Tree at 11 am.
Why do brahmacharis wear yellow? Why does staff and teacher training students wear yellow and white?
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 to this path. Yellow represents the seeking of true knowledge. White represents purification of the Self.
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 a full list of events.