Tour through Ananda Ashram at ICYER, a modern GurukulaThe Ashram is located 5 kilometers from downtown Pondicherry (South-India) on the Bay of Bengal. It is a quiet and peacefull place perfect for Yoga Sadhana.
Inaugural of the 45th International Yoga teachers Training Course on October 2nd 2013 at ICYER @ Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India.
Photos from Ammaji's 70th Jayanthi Ayush Homam taken by the official photographer, Sri S Velu. Ammaji's 70th Birthday Celebration was held at ICYER at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry from 6th to 16th September 2013. This was a gala get together of the Gitananda Yoga Family Worldwide and sessions were conducted by senior members of the Gitananda Tradition. There were invited sessions by senior members from different countries in Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, relaxation, Jnana Yoga, VBT, Mantra Yoga, Bhajans and entertaining music and dance performances by Yognat students and teachers.
Some images from Dr Ananda's successful teaching tour of the UK in April 2013
A photo report on the successful and most entertaining dance drama by Yoganjali Natyalayam, “THAMIZH MUTHATTI AVVAI” A spectacular full length dance drama on the life and teachings of the great Dravidian poetess Avvaiyar that was staged in honur of the 105th Jayanthi of YOGAMAHARISHI DR. SWAMI GITANANDA GIRI GURUMAHARAJ on October 16, 2012 at New Auditorium, JIPMER Campus in Pondicherry, India.
A gala 9 hour long performance of music, dance and yogasanas by staff and students of Yognat on 24th June 2012 celebrating the 19th Annual Day of YOGANJALI NATYALAYAM (Pondicherry's Premier Institute of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga, Bharatanatyam and Carnatic Music) and the 44th Anniversary Celebrations of ANANDA ASHRAM.
Dr Ananda teaches in Berlin, April 2012
Ananda Ashram Presents
YOGA IN YOUR OFFICE
PRESENTED BY YOGACHARYA DR ANANDA BALAYOGI BHAVANANI Ananda Ashram at ICYER, Pondicherry, India. www.icyer.com & YOGACHARINI VIBHA,Kaya Swadhyaya, Chennai. www.kayaswadhyaya.com Yoga is the ancient art and science of holistic living that is as applicable today as it was thousands of years ago. Countless office goers wish to take up the practice of Yoga, yet do not find the time or space for it. This presentation will enable you to bring Yoga right into your office space thus improving your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health as well as your productivity. These practices can be done from even in your office chair or sofa and also when you take short breaks to go to the rest room or have a glass of water. Simple loosening movements, psychosomatic harmonizing techniques and stress busting breathing practices are presented in a simple and easy to follow manner. Techniques to achieve deep and profound relaxation as well as contemplative practices to achieve meditative awareness are elucidated. This novel approach brings Yoga into every moment of your busy corporate life making you a better person and your life a better one too. SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION by Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani SECTION 2: GETTING STARTED SECTION 3: ENERGIZING JATHIS SECTION 4: KRIYAS FOR PSYCHOSOMATIC HARMONY: Tala Kriya, Ashoka Kriya, Pawan Mukta Kriya. SECTION 5: ASANAS FOR HEALTHY BODY POSTURE: Vajra Asana, Baddhakona Asana & Kriya, Vakra Asana, Bharadwaja Asana SECTION 6: ENERGIZING MUDRAS: Hastha Mudra Sequence, Manduka Mudra, Gomukha Mudra, Garuda Mudra, Kaki & Hasya Mudras SECTION 7: PRANAYAMAS TO OVERCOME EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL STRESS: Pranava Pranayama, Chandra Nadi Pranayama, Bhramari Pranayama, Savitri Pranayama SECTION 8: RELAXING YOUR BODY AND MIND: Spandha – Nishpanda Kriya, Marmanasthanam Kriya SECTION 9: DEVELOPING AN INNER QUIETNESS: Brahma Mudra, Meditative Sitting, Om Japa, Chakra Dhyana DIRECTION BY SRINI @ YATRA MULTIMEDIA, AUROVILLE, INDIA
A photo report on the successful and most entertaining dance drama by Yoganjali Natyalayam, SHAKUNTALA: A Bharata Natyam Dance Drama Enacting An Ancient Tale of Innocence, Love, Destiny, Separation and Reunion that was staged in honur of the 104th Jayanthi of YOGAMAHARISHI DR. SWAMI GITANANDA GIRI GURUMAHARAJ on October 16, 2011 at New Auditorium, JIPMER Campus in Pondicherry, India.
Such a great time we all had with the wonderful Yoga group from Down under who joined us for intensive Yoga Sadhana at ICYER from 10-20 August 2011 under guidance of Ammaji and Dr Ananda. Devasena, Shalini, Vibha and Shweta assisted in teaching the classes while the energetic youngsters from Yognat gave a graceful cultural performance at the valedictory function where Shalini received her well deserved Advanced Yoga Diploma from Ammaj. Murali and Margo were honored on behalf of the Australian group members and Cathryn while Ann Maree were honored on behalf of the New Zealand members. Vibha and Dr Balaji also recived special appreciation for their loving and dedicated seva for Ammaji during her recent hospitalization.
YOGANJALI NATYALAYAM Pondicherry's Premier Institute of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga, Bharatanatyam and Carnatic Music Invites you with family and friends to the Eighteenth Annual Day of YOGANJALI NATYALAYAM and Forty-Third Anniversary Celebrations of ANANDA ASHRAM from 2:05 pm Sunday, June 26th, 2011 at the Subhalakshmi Thirumana Nilayam, Muthialpet, (Opp. Police Station), Puducherry - 605 003.
The 16th Annual Summer Intensive Yoga and Bharatanatyam Course was held from 2nd to 31st May 2011 with nearly 200 students participating in Yoga, Bharatanatyam and Shlokam recitation classes that went on for more than four hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Tremendous changes were witnessed in the children as the intensive gave them an opportunity to work closely with Ammaji and thus manifest their inherent potential. Students were taught the Maha Lakshmi Ashtakam, eight beautiful verses in praise of the goddess of prosperity by Smt Meena Ramanathan. The spellbinding Yoga theory classes were given by Ammaji on the concept of BINDU, the major points of consciousness on which we can contemplate and meditate to achieve a one pointed and controlled mind. The content of these classes lodged deep within everyone's consciousness as Ammaji hit the nail right on the head in a soft but steady manner. 75 students and staff members participated in the 16th annual summer 3-day residential Yoga Youth Camp at ICYER. This was conducted from 20-22 May with numerous activities such as individual and team games based on Yoga concepts, Karma Yoga, beach classes, a bonfire and many other holistic activities to broaden the young minds. The valedictory function for the summer intensive classes was conducted on 31st May and students presented special Yogasana demonstrations based on the Bindus and the special dance items taught during the month. The eminent social activist and Gandhian, Dr N Ardhanari was special guest of the evening and gave away prizes for the winners of various competitions. The noted Tamil scholar, Muthamizh Mamani Kalaimamani Pulavar I Pattabiramane was felicitated by the Yognat family on the occasion as he was celebrating his 79th birthday the same day. Yognat is blessed to have his benevolent support at all times.
A few images of Dr Ananda and Devasena in the UK and Italy in April-2011
The tranquil, spiritual shores of Pondicherry were the kshetra, the field on which was played out the magnificent success of the 18th International Yoga Festival organised by the Tourism Directorate of the Government of Pondicherry from 4th to 7th January 2011. This was the 18th edition of this annual event held every year since 1993 when Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri, Swami Dayananda Saraswathi and Shri MP Pundit launched the first edition under the patronage of Thiru V Vaithiyalingam, the then as well as present Chief Minister of Pondicherry and Sri Har Swaroop Singh the then Lt Governor. Such a festival is unique for it is the longest and maybe only such directly Government sponsored and organised International Yoga Festival anywhere in the world where all traditions are represented and various facets of Yoga brought to light under the same umbrella. This year was the most successful one in the festival’s history with more than 1100 delegates participating in discourses, workshops, lecture demonstrations and Yogasana championship. Highlights of the cultural evenings were the ‘Muruga Muruga’ dance drama presented by Yoganjali Natyalayam and an energetic folk dance performance by the Chennai Chera’s team. Right from the spectacular Opening Ceremony graced by the presence of the Union Ministers to the Valedictory Ceremony, all the events went off in a systematic and organized manner. The venue was very well decked up and many delegates appreciated the uniqueness of such an ambiance as no other place in the world has such a blessed venue for a Yoga Festival. One cannot but commend the Department of Tourism for making such an event possible at such a lovely and apt venue, thus bringing great glory to Pondicherry. Ms Kumari Selja, Union Minister for Tourism inaugurated the festival in the presence of Thiru V Narayanasamy, Union Minister of State for Culture. Other dignitaries present on the occasion included the Lt Governor of Pondicherry Dr. Iqbal Singh and the Chief Minister Thiru V Vaithiyalingam. Both the Union Minister Thiru V Narayanasamy and Chief Minister paid rich tributes to Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj and Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani for their unparalleled service for the cause of Yoga in Pondicherry and the Chief minister announced that his government is considering setting up a Yoga University in response to the requests for the same that have poured in from all parts of the globe. The dynamic former minister of education and tourism, Thiru S P Sivakumar reiterated his plea that the Government of India must honour Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani with an apt National Award at the earliest. Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani was honored by the Union Minister in recognition of his Yoga Seva along with other eminent Yoga experts from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu who have supported the conduct of the festival over the years. During the festival, workshops were conducted on different traditions of Yoga allowing Yoga enthusiasts a glimpse of the important highlights of each tradition thus realising the ‘Unity in Diversity’ of such illustrious, living traditions of Yoga. On the first day the Gitananda tradition was represented by Ammaji, Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani while the Iyengar Tradition was represented by Dr. Rajvi Mehta while on the second day Nrithya Jegannathan and Dr. Abhijit Redij represented the Krishnamacharya and Kaivalyadhama traditions respectively. All participants enjoyed these presentations that gave them the opportunity to understand various perspectives of this great art and science of Yoga. Discourses and lecture demonstrations were conducted on various topics such as Yoga for diabetes, Yoga for women, Yoga for children, Yoga for cardiovascular and respiratory disorders, Yoga for stress management, Yoga in daily life as well as Yoga and sports. Eminent presenters in these sessions included Dr AK Atre, Dr Nalini Devi, Yogi Vinod, Dr Balaiah Kovuru, Sister Neelima, Asana Andiappan, Dr. Raghava Someshwar and Dr. Ramakrishna Reddy along with speakers from numerous local and national organizations. The Yogasana Championship is always a tedious affair and hundreds of competitors vie for the top honors. In categories ranging from 10-15 years till 50 and above, they display their skill in various Yogasanas such as forward bending, back bending, hand and leg balancing and twisting postures. They also take a written theory examination and public viva-voce that tests their knowledge of the Yoga theory thus making sure that those who win have both the practical and theoretical awareness of Yoga. This is another unique aspect of the Pondicherry Festival for most other such competitions are a mere test of ones flexibility only. This year was historical as Master AS ANIRUDH of Yoganjali Natyalayam wining the Champion of Champion Award thus bringing name and fame to Pondicherry after 11 long years since Miss M Niraimathi had won the female championship award. His spectacular and clinical performance saw him winning the coveted championship while the female championship was won by Mss SUTHANDIRA of Cuddalore. There are many who criticize Yogasana competitions but it is important to realise that children who have practically no access to any kind of sport or physical education have a “level playing field” in Yoga Sports (Yoga Asana Competitions). They need no costly equipment. They need no big Olympic standard swimming pools or huge stadiums. They do not even need uniforms. All they need is a small space the size of their own bodies and a strong will, determination, strength, endurance and good guidance from a dedicated teacher. This, judging from the astounding quality of Yogasanas performed, is available in abundance in our nation’s youth. Yoga Sports is one of the innumerable branches of the mighty tree of the ancient Yoga Science. We must not forget that Yogis have always pitted their bodies and wills against the elements, against each other and even against the negative qualities in their very own selves. In ancient times Yogic scholars held debates, with high stakes, great rewards for the winner, sometimes even death to the loser. The Rishis met periodically to discuss and debate Yogic Theories and to compare the power of their Tapasya. Such “friendly competition” brought out the best in all. Life is basically competition for survival. In every walk of life, from school to college to competitive exams to career to business to politics to artistic endeavours, all facets of life are competitive. No one can deny this reality. The Bhagavad Gita, termed by many as the Yoga Shastra, records the teachings of Lord Krishna within the most competitive structure of them all – violent warfare and conflict onto the death on the battlefield. Krishna does not tell Arjuna to sit in a corner and meditate. He says, “Arjuna, you are a warrior. Go out and fight!” He tempers this by counseling, “Carry out your duties to the best of your ability and do not be attached to the rewards of your action”. The whole message of the Yogic teaching could be summarized in these seven words, “Do Your Best and Leave the Rest.” When we deal with our children one of the mottos we set forth as an ideal in Yoga Asana Competitions is this: “If you win, you win, and if you lose, you also win because you learn.” Thus, Yoga Asana competitions, when viewed in this perspective, actually teach youngsters the proper attitudes to be cultivated in all their life activities. Competition is not bad. It is only “the thinking” which makes it so. Viewed thus, Yoga Asana competitions are a legitimate “branch” of the Yoga Science, every bit as much as “Yoga Therapy,” or academic study of Yoga in University structures, examinations in Yoga, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Yoga etc. The Director Tourism, Sri Mathew Samuel ably guided the show with inputs from the Minister and Secretary of Tourism. Great praise is due for all members of the Tourism department for their untiring efforts and a special mention must be made of the two dynamic pillars, Shri S Subramanian and Shri Chidambaram who have become real Karma Yogis! They seem to have the equanimity that eludes even most Yoga practitioners today. All of them spared no effort in making sure that every participant went back home with positive and fond memories of Pondicherry. Ammaji and I are always humbled by the respect, love and appreciation showered upon us by all officials and staff of the Tourism department who really work hard to make the festival a great success. We have felt like ‘family’ and this has enabled us to put in our best efforts from all angles. I also personally thank them for the “Lifetime Achievement in Yoga” award, a great honour indeed that was bestowed upon me by them. I still have a long life to live and will always strive to live up to the expectations from all those who truly love and live Yoga. On behalf of ICYER, Yoganjali Natyalayam, Pondicherry Yogasana Association and the Worldwide Gitananda Yoga Family I offer my sincere thanks and congratulations to the Director, officials and staff of the Tourism Department for their great service for the cause of Yoga and our Indian culture. May the Divine bless them all for this great service with success at all levels and in all endeavors. The festive, joyous atmosphere present throughout the festival was “proof of the pudding”, proof that Yoga had brought all together in joyful harmony. All who attended returned home refreshed, possible more enlightened and stimulated to undertake even more intensive Yoga Sadhana in their own personal lives. This festival was indeed an event that inspired, educated and stimulated positive action - a rare event in the normally “dog-eat-dog” ethos of modern day life!
Yoganjali Natyalayam chose the theme of Lord Muruga and premiered its latest full length Dance Drama on the occasion of the 103rd Jayanthi celebrations for Pujya Swamiji held at the JIPMER auditorium in Puducherry on the 7th of November 2010. Auspiciously this also coincided with the start of the six day long Soorasamharam festivities celebrated with great pomp and ceremony in Muruga temples all over Tamil Nadu. We are immensely fortunate at Yoganjali Natyalayam that our visionary founder Pujya Swamiji and our dynamic director Puduvai Shakti Ammaji Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani have refused to bow down to this negative and devolutionary modern trend. They have staunchly stuck to their cultural guns and instead of lowering standards for the sake of the masses have on the other hand tried to elevate the masses to understand the spiritual arts in their truest and purest reality. Every year our beloved Pujya Swamiji’s Jayanthi gives us an opportunity to pay our deep respects to one of the greatest Rasikas (loving patrons) of the Indian Classical Performing Fine Arts. Every year Yognat performs a full length feature Bharatanatyam dance drama in honour of Swamiji’s Jayanthi celebrations we have presented 16 such cultural extravaganzas since 1994. This includes the presentation of Kannappanar, Karaikkal Ammaiyar, Kamba Ramayanam, Nandanar, Meenakshi Thiru Kalyanam, Sri Andal Kalayanam, Nala Damayanthi, Silappadikaram, Ramavatharam, Pancha Maha Bhutas, Jayadeva’s Dasavathara, Navagraha Vazhipadu, Karna Charithram, Sambandar and Panchali Sabadam. All of these dance dramas are originally choreographed by our beloved Director Ammaji and Chairman Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani with extensive research, creation of lyrics, uplifting music composition and enthralling dance choreography that are unique to the Yognat tradition. The 16th full length Bharatanatyam Dance Drama of Yognat was a thematic presentation in praise of Lord Muruga, the favorite deity of our South Indian Dravidian culture. This showcased a unique union between ancient and modern Tamil literature as embodied though a union of songs penned by Saint Arunagirinathar and Mahakavi Subramania Bharatiyar. The famous song “Muruga Muruga” of Mahakavi Subramania Bharatiyar and the Tiruppugazh “Erumayileri” of Saint Arunagirinatha were meaningfully combined to depict the Divine Leelas of the youthful lord. The dance drama was basically divided into two parts and in the first part Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles, was propitiated through a song penned by Bharatiyar invoking the great Lord. “Bless me with all that is pure and auspicious” requests the poet, praising the elephantine Lord who resides in the pure hearts of his devotees. This was followed by Saint Arunagiri’s Tiruppugazh “Kaithala Niraikani” describing Lord Vinayaka in a vivid manner. Selvi G Kanimozhi, a senior student and faculty member of Yognat did a magnificent job in bringing a dancing Ganapathy alive for the rapt audience in tandem with 16 other young dancers led by Selvi I Krishnaveni. Kanimozhi also helped us in the basic choreography and general organisation of the drama while Krishnaveni and S Devasena (Sowmiya) did the groundwork for the Swara-Korvai compositions that preceded each part of the drama This was followed by the second part that depicted the Divine plays of Lord Muruga. Various episodes narrating the Divine Leela were depicted including his playful jaunts on his favorite peacock, Pranava Upadesa to Lord Shiva, the battle with the Asura Surapadman and the courting of the lovely Valli. The spectacular vigorous Kavadi folk dance by the young team with Anandraj as Palani Murugan on the mountain was one of the super hits of the evening The Pranava Upadesa by young Muruga to his father Lord Shiva was portrayed with young Muruga (Dhivya Priya Bhavanani) teaching Shiva (Smt R Bijal in a majestic role) the importance of the Pranava Mantra after berating a proud Brahma (excellent Bhava by Smt Reena Dayanidy). The constant refrain of the Tiruppugazh with the chanting of the Omkara created a vibrant atmosphere for this very special moment where the son becomes Guru to his own father! The battle between Muruga played admirably by Selvi R Varalakshmi and Asura Surapadman portrayed energetically by Selvi G Kanimozhi was really great. Rhythmic patterns were chanted along with special effects by the musical team and the battle between “good and evil” came alive for all. Special attention was paid to detail and the destruction of Surapadman’s chariot and his final destruction after he hides himself as a tree was meticulously brought out in the choreography. The super duper hit was however the scene describing Muruga’s courtship of Valli the gypsy maiden. Muruga appears as an old man (excellent portrayal by S Geethakala) and cajoles Valli (played admirably by J Sanghavi) with promises and threats. Lord Ganesha comes to his help as a mad elephant (played well by Swathi) and finally Valli realises who the old man really is as the lord appears in full splendor to wed her. Verses from Bharatiyar’s song “Velava” as well as the “Kaithala Niraikani” Tiruppugazh were interwoven tastefully in this scene along with the refrain “Valliyai Manampunara Vandamugam”. The climax scene depicting Muruga with his six heads and twelve arms was artistically created by the young team with all the members of the troupe appearing on stage for the final rendition of the soul stirring Vande Matharam of Bharatiyar. Ammaji always makes it a point to end all the performances with this rendition to remind us of the greatness of our beloved culture My beloved Dharmapatni, Devasena was responsible for much of the basic choreography and gave admirable support with her Nattuvangam and Vocal music while Yogacharini Dr. Sangeetha (Laura Biagi) of Italy made her big “debut” on the clasical stage with an excellent perfromance that elevated the musical redition. The rhythmic team was led by my dear friend Thirumudi S Arun with support from Kalaimamani Al Ramasamy and the senior artiste Thiru S Gopal. Kalaimamani Thiru S V Jagadesan and Thiru V Thanikachalam gave excellent tuneful support on the keyboard and violin respectively while the English and Tamil commentary was clearly enunciated with dedication by Smt. Meena Ramanathan and Shri P Muthtamizhvaanan respectively. During the felicitation ceremony Lakshman Sir expressed his happiness at the growth and development of Ananda Ashram, ICYER and Yognat in Pondicherry and expressed his pride at the standard maintained though the hard work of Ammaji and Dr Ananda. He praised the excellent manner in which Swamiji and Ammaji had brought Ananda up and now the next generation is going great guns too. The audience burst into laughter when he said, “Ananda being a multifaceted personality will not only heal patients who come to him but will also make them dance with health after that”. To have the blessings of one’s Guru is so important and this was a truly memorable day when we could receive such bountiful and hearty blessings from our Guru. May we all be blessed by the great and powerful energy of Lord Muruga. May our great Gurus bless us in all our endeavors and may we always be true to the great cultural heritage of our Dravidian and Indian culture. Om Saravana Bhavaya Namah Om
A photo essay of some of the Ashram activities in October2010
ANOTHER LOVELY TIME DOWN UNDER I am truly blessed in this incarnation to be able to live, love and share Yoga. This is only because of the potent blessings of my beloved Swamiji and Ammaji that enable me to fulfil my Dharma of doing my best and leaving the rest at all times. The Yogic seeds they have planted all over the world are today blooming, flowering and flourishing creating great opportunities for self-transformation in so many sincere and dedicated souls. Devasena and I had a gala time down under visiting our Yoga Sambandam, our Yoga relatives who gathered together with a sense of oneness, love, respect and profound interest. It was indeed a pleasure to meet and mix with so many of them who went to great trouble, expense and time to be with us on this tour. Such love and respect gladdens my heart deeply and makes me more determined than ever, to do more and more, to propagate Swamiji’s ideals of Yoga as a way of living throughout the world. It was indeed a great honour to be invited to be invited by the International Yoga teacher Association to be the Major Presenter at their Worldwide Convention at Sydney. We were touched at the love, affection and respect we received from all delegates and presenters numbering nearly 200. To be invited as a Major Presenter at a Worldwide Convention being held after 13 years and to be in the list of legendary names reading like a Who’s Who of Yoga is humbling to say the least. It reiterates the gratitude I have towards life and my guru parents for I am so lucky to be able to live, love and share Yoga to my fullest. Devasena and I enjoyed performing our Carnatic Vocal Concert and Bharatanatyam performance at the Gala Dinner and were both deeply touched by the spontaneous and generous appreciation we received from all quarters. My dearest Yoga family of Devidasan, Bernadette, Margo and Gita made it even more special by being with us throughout the convention. Yogacharya Muralidharan Giri was a gracious host and took excellent care of us throughout the tour. Readily sharing his home with us he left no stone unturned to make us feel as comfortable as possible. Murali is a wonderful human being and has such a Yogic attitude towards everything. He is an excellent organiser and had everything in the right place, at the right time and in the right manner. His loving care and concern for us stimulated me to write a short poem entitled, “Fulfilling our Dharma”. A great many are unaware of their Dharma. There are many who shrink their Dharma, While some fulfil it though with great reluctance and Others having no other option. Yet, there are some who go beyond it, They are the rare ones and My dear Murali belongs to that Rarest of the rare breed of human beings We had a great time visiting the Shiva Vishnu temple in Helensburg and had a good tour around the Sydney Opera House, the botanical garden and Harbour Bridge. We also enjoyed a wonderful day out with my dear friend Balakrishnan who is a dear friend and classmate from our school days together at Bhavan’s Gandhi Vidyashram in Kodaikanal. Bala and his wife Maria settled in Australia seven years ago with their darling son Nikil and it was a pleasure for all to catch up on news, views while enjoying a south Indian breakfast of iddlis (my first ones abroad) and Vadas with traditional Indian Chutney and Sambar. Maria is an excellent cook and we relished each and every morsel before taking off on a trip down the coast off Sydney visiting Stanwell Tops, Corrimal beach, Wollongong Breakwater lighthouse and then ending the day with a nice luncheon cum dinner at the Taj Mahal restaurant. Its is so nice to meet up with my dear friends like Bala and share the success stories of our lives as well as the trials and tribulations that have shaped our lives today. We are already looking forward to the next visit and I am sure that will be soon too. A day with the animals at the Kuala Park was another chance for us to reconnect with nature through its manifestation in the form of Kuala, Kangaroos and Cockatoos. Enjoyed a special bonding with one of the kangaroos who asked me why we humans are so inhuman! The Koalas were too busy either eating or sleeping and I think that incarnation must be the one where we get to rest the most. The Cockatoos enjoyed chatting with us whistling and saying many times “Hi, Polly wants a cracker”. However once they found out we didn’t have any on us, it was time for them to chorus, “Bye”. Talk about fickle minds! Being with the animals made me realise once again how lucky I was to have had such close interactions with all the animals in our mini zoo created by Swamiji in our Ashram at Sri Kambaliswamy Madam in Thattanchavady. These are such deep experiences that enable us to understand the oneness in all beings and thus open ourselves to the infinite universality. Another lovely evening was spent with Murali’s music teacher Shreeyukta Dipannita Bhattacharyya (Didi) and her husband Shree Amal Bhattacharyya (Dada) at their hospitable home. We enjoyed a concert of Shastriya Sangeet by Murali on the occasion and it is a credit to both his perseverance and Didi’s teachings that he has blossomed into a capable singer. Of course, he still needs to have her instrumental support to get it all together but it was surely a special day to hear him sing so well. We then enjoyed a delicious North Indian dinner cooked with love by Didi and exchanged tales from all over the world as they have travelled to so many countries with such experiences everywhere. Devasena and Murali accompanied me on a nice visit with my dear Swami Anandkapila (Dr Jonn Mumford) at his home in Sydney. I have a deep sense of gratitude towards him for his having given back to the Parampara a ‘Slice of Swamiji’ through his dedicated teachings of the Yantra over the past so many years. I count on his love and blessings at all times and he constantly motivates me to do my best in all spheres of my activity. It was a pleasure to meet and interact with both Janne and Edan as well as share their stock of lovely chocolate cake and Lamingtons (those delicious little sponge cakes coated in chocolate and coconut). We also enjoyed playing around with his pet doggie "Star" who is such a sweet little darling. She can definitely lick one to death if one is not careful and has a great talent for saying Namaste. We also had a lovely dinner at Govinda’s, that wonderful vegetarian restaurant of ISKON that is a regular must visit on any and every trip to Sydney. To be able to have dinner there twice on this trip was special indeed for such food is hard to come by when one is a vegetarian and travelling the globe. The annual meet of the Gitananda Yoga Association of Australia was an opportunity for us to reconnect with so many loving members of our Yoga family. We all enjoyed an intensive 3 day retreat that dealt with the topic, “Moving from Dis-stress to De-stress through Yoga”. It was indeed a special gathering as nearly fifty Gitananda Yoga teachers and students from all over Australia and New Zealand participated with great enthusiasm. It was special to have seniors like Sri Bala, Dr June Henry and Gita attend and bless us with so many lovely stories of their unique experiences with Swamiji. A strong New Zealand contingent made sure that the meet was an integrative one bringing together in Yoga the Trans Tasman neighbours. Margo is such an amazing organiser and had everything organised so perfectly that it was all like a walk in the park by the time we got there. She is a source of strength for all of us and a true example of Yogic womanhood for the younger generation. Riverglen Conference Centre is an excellent venue and the excellent, natural ambiance added to the intimacy felt by all participants throughout the retreat. Talks on various aspects of stress and its pathophysiology both medical and yogic were complemented by practical sessions on stress busting Jathis, Asanas, Pranayamas and deep relaxation. Sri Bala led us through an experiential session of the Pranava as taught by him in his Chakra healing Course while Margo enthralled us with Swamiji’s Siamese Kriya! Devasena and I really enjoyed performing our music and dance for our dear Yoga family who are such Rasikas, real lovers of the cultural fine arts of India. We also chanted some of the Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali and also learnt many Mantras to induce healthy vibrations into the universe. It feels so good to have such a devoted and sincere Yoga family Down Under with loving Yoga relatives willing to go to great lengths to be with us on our travels. The AGM of the Gitananda Yoga Association of Australia was conducted with dignity and the meeting decided to stick with the present office bearers and just add a few more to enable smoother functioning. I happily and willingly continue to serve Swamiji’s mission of uniting all our Yoga family as the Honorary President. Other office bearers present at the AGM included Muralidharan Giri (Trevor Fox) as Chairperson, Sri Bala Ratnam as VBT Consultant, Margo Hutchison as Liaison and Event Coordinator, Devaki Kerin as General Secretary, Janani (Louise Healy) as Joint Secretary, Catherine Dornekamp as NZ Rep for North Island, Gargi (Helen Nortje) as NZ Rep for South Island, Dianna Timmins as Editor of the Association Newsletter. Committee members who couldn’t make it to the AGM but gave their wholehearted support through individual meetings and correspondence included Swami Anandakapila (Dr Jonn Mumford) as Yantra Consultant, Devidasan Giri (Jean-Michel Ruffier) as Treasurer and Niraimathi (Nicole Cox) as International Secretary. The return journey was one of a relaxed nature as we had a long stopover at Singapore that enabled us to go on a free guided bus tour of Singapore thanks to the authorities there. It is really mind boggling to see the amazing development of this place in the past 45 years since they got independence. Makes me wonder why we in India cannot do the same. When such a small place can do so much why cannot we with so much intelligence and ability in our country create a heaven on earth for our fellow beings? Thoughts such as these took over my mind as we went on the tour that showcased the mixed cultural co-existence between people from so many cultures. It was a pleasure to be back home after the journey and as we got caught up with all the local news and developments, I thanked the Divine for giving me such a wonderful life with so many opportunities to love, live and share Yoga with so many all over the world. May we all grow together and may we all sustain one another in our spiritual growth towards the highest state of Kaivalya.
GURU APPEARED TO BLESS GURU October 12, was for me a special day indeed, a great day in this Navarathri 2010 as our Param Guru Padmashri Adyar K Lakshmanan appeared in person at ICYER to bless my Gurus. The second three days of Navarathri are special for goddess Lakshmi and her energy seemed to manifest through the benevolent presence of Lakshmanan Sir. For me it seemed as if goddess was answering my prayers and had as Ashta Lakshmi sent her Ashta Aishwariyam for ICYER. It was such a happy moment to see him and then to hear his lovely teachings that came through in each and every word of his conversations. I even forgot the world for a short while such was his inspired elevating presence. I felt that Goddess Saraswathi couldn’t wait till Vijayadasami and hence came a few days earlier to bless us all. Every word seemed to flow from his heart just like the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. This was how it felt when I watched the teachings flow with such love from Guru (Lakshmanan Sir) to Sishya (Dr Ananda). He is such a great man, yet so humble, so simple having such a sweet childlike laugh. He is the perfect example of the Tamil proverb niraikudam thellumbadhu that means a full pot makes no noise whereas the pot with a few things in it makes the most noise. The great ones are the simplest and most humble. I feel that maybe I was ready to understand him only on this visit as though we had been to Chennai to study with him on numerous occasions I was not ready at that time to understand the depth of his wisdom. Such similarity is there in his and Ammaji’s thinking and expression. It is such a wonderful feeling to witness the union of the minds and hearts of these great souls who love our Indian culture so deeply. I can never forget this Navarathri for it showed me the great love that exists between the great Guru and his great Sishya who is also Guru to so many all over the world. Which Guru in this modern Kali Yuga would be happy to bless his student saying, “I am so proud of you Ananda, you have the potential to equal and even surpass me”? Ammaji often reminds us that, “When the student is ready, the Guru appears”. That is really true. In the case of Dr Ananda I feel that it is slightly different. When the student is fully prepared, the great Guru blesses him saying “What a best Sishya I have, may you grow beyond me”. No other Guru in this world would have such a beautiful Bhavana (attitude) towards his sishya. Such love, such grace, and such a wonderful heart. To see the love, admiration and respect Dr Sir has for his Guru is so touching for they are indeed made for each other. With great patience and keen interest he listened to numerous compositions of Dr Sir and while appreciating the skill weaving of lyrics, music and rhythm didn’t fail to make a few subtle corrections with grace. Lakshmanan Sir demonstrated one of his spell binding complicated compositions and this was such a potent stimulus that Dr Sir composed a new Mallari that very night! We are all so fortunate to receive the blessings of Lakshmanan sir because of the grace of Swamiji and Ammaji. They have created such a wonderful structure in which total instruction and growth can occur in a natural manner. It is only because of them that we can even meet such real humane beings. Lakshmanan Sir has a deep connection to the spirit of Lord Rama in his life (his elder brother is Rama Rao known to all of us as Ramu Sir) and is so much like Lord Krishna in his teachings. A state of great happiness and even Samadhi like experience is the only way I can express what I felt. I am so very lucky to have my dear husband as my Guru, as I learn so much everyday. I am really fortunate to have Ammaji and Swamiji as my Gurus and hope to be worthy of their blessings and have taught me so much and continue to show me so much in this lifetime. It’s amazing how everything came together and the news of Baba getting his visa made me happy as I feel the whole episode happened so that we could have Darshan of Lakshmanan Sir again after so many years. It goes to prove that the Guru spirit can reach anything, anytime, anyway, anywhere and anyone. This was proved true as the Guru blessings reached all of us in right way at the right time and the right person (Dr Ananda) was there to receive them in the right way. What a wonderful day. Guruji ki jay. Hail to our great gurus.
Photo report on Dr Ananda and Devasena in Europe2010
Some images from the spectacular 17th Annual Day celebrations of Yoganjali Natayalayam held at Pondicherry on 13 June 2010. More than 400 children and youth performed on stage in the 9 hour non stop performances of Indian classical vocal music, Sanskrit chanting, classical Indian bharatanatam dancing, folk dancing and spectacular yogasana tableaux that were appreciated by more than a thousand in the audience.
The14th Annual Summer Intensive Yoga and Bharatanatyam Course was held at Yognat in May 2010 with more than 175 students participating in Yoga, Bharatanatyam and Shlokam recitation classes that went on for nearly four hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Tremendous changes were witnessed in the children as the intensive gave them an opportunity to work closely with Amma and thus manifest their inherent potential. Students were taught the Dasa Sloki from Adisankara by Smt Meena Ramanathan. Theory classes given by Amma were the highlight of the intensive. The concept of the Shat Ripus, the six enemies of the spirit was taught in Amma’s inimitable manner with the children lapping up all the knowledge with great enjoyment. The content of these classes lodged deep within everyone's consciousness as Amma hit the nail right on the head in a soft but steady manner. Nearly 100 students and staff members participated in the three day residential camp at ICYER conducted at the end of May with numerous activities such as Yoga individual and team games, Team Karma Yoga, beach classes, a bonfire and many other holistic activities to broaden the young minds. The students enthusiastically participated in all activities. S Sabaraishreee and P Anand were selected "Best Students of the Camp" in recognition of their Yogic talents and behavior.
Images from the successful tour of Dr Ananda to South Africa in April2010 that was organised by the Anjali School of Yoga, Cape Town.
Dr Ananda's lecture tours to Gujarat Ayurved University and his Alma Matter, JNMC, Wardha in March and Ragas Dental college, Chennai in April 2010
Photos from the certificate awarding function for the latest batch of yoga eaglets flying out from Ananda Ashram at ICYER. The best batch to date in Ammaji's own words and a set of youngsters who will bring laurels to the paramparai for sure in time to come.
The grand Indian wedding of Giriraj and Sivashankari held at Kambaliswamy Madam in March 2010
The Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education & Research (ACYTER), JIPMER oraginised a National Workshop-Cum-Seminar on “Role of Yoga in Prevention and Management of Hypertension” in collaboration with Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, (MDNIY) New Delhi. The workshop was conducted on March 18-19, 2010 at the JIPMER and more than 200 medical and paramedical professionals as well as yoga therapist participated enthusiastically. The Workshop-Cum-Seminar deliberated on the role of yoga in the prevention and management of hypertension with lectures, panel discussion and practical sessions that were conducted by eminent medical and yoga experts from all over the country. The Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education and Research (ACYTER), a collaborative venture between JIPMER, Puducherry and Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY), New Delhi was established by a MOU between JIPMER and MDNIY in June 2008. This advanced centre is focussing on the role of Yoga in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disorders and diabetes mellitus. The centre aims to popularize the science of Yoga amongst medical professionals and general public.
Photos from the Jayanthi celebrations for Swami Kanakananda on 2nd and 3rd feb 2010
Photos from the highly successful National Yoga Week organized by MDNIY at Delhi in Feb2010. We at the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER) in Pondicherry offer our best wishes to Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga for its yeoman efforts towards bringing the message of our Rishi forefathers to every corner of our country, using every possible means to raise the consciousness of our people about our unique national heritage. In this modern time, Yoga is a word which has entered the global vocabulary, but its true meaning is little understood. The Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in New Delhi is playing a role in enlightening the public in the deeper meaning of this great life science, by propagating Yoga as a Way of Life. The National Yoga Week held annually is one of its most successful projects to achieve this goal. May the Gurus bless and inspire the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga and its Director Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi to continue vigorously his dynamic service for this ancient science and art.
The Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy Education & Research (ACYTER), JIPMER organised a seminar-cum-workshop for medical & paramedical professionals and yoga therapists at JIPMER on “Yoga and Complimentary Therapies for AIDS/HIV”. Date: Saturday, 30th January 2010. Venue: Multipurpose Hall, JIPMER Nursing College, JIPMER, Pondicherry-6
Performance by Yognat at the Fete de Pondicherry held on 28th Jan 2010
Some photos from the Workshop on stress management and personality development conducted by Anandita Trust at Pondicherry and sponsored by CCRYN, New Delhi
Yoga Bhishmacharya SRI BALA presented CHAKRA HEALING WORKSHOPS at JIPMER, ICYER and the International yoga Festival in January 2010. The workshop focussed on learning to • Breathe deeply, slowly & rhythmically in different ratios to REGENERATE & REJUVENATE. • Neutralise traumas & tensions of this and previous births at the major Chakras. • Enhance the psychic qualities of the same Chakras. • Activate the process of healing by allowing the cosmic vibratory energy of AUM to vibrate & resonate at the seat of the problem to REHABILITATE. • Enhance the process of healing by meditating at the Anahata Chakra – the seat of the soul, & end with an affirmation.
Scenes from the 17th International Yoga Festival held at Pondicherry from 4th to 7th 2010
The evening Poornima Puja on Dec 31st 2009 in honor of the Mahasamadhi of Yogamaharishi Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj
Dr Ananda was an invited Plenary Speaker at 6th International Yoga Conference, at Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla, Maharashtra-Dec 27 - 30, 2009. He gave a Plenary Address in the Plenary Session on “Yoga and Cultural Synthesis”. He was also Chairperson for the paper session on Applied Aspects of Yoga and was a panelist in the Panel Discussion on Ethical decline in Yoga Research and Yoga Teaching. Devasena Bhavanani accompanied him and participated as invited Guest in the conference.
The aim of the Swami Gitananda Best Youth and Child Awards Competition is to stimulate the youth of India to take up the study of the wholistic concept of Yoga. This ensures their present and future health, happiness and well being, and enables them to avoid the pitfalls of modern living, that is, various bad habits like drug addiction and alcoholism etc. Furthermore, the Project aims to educate the public as to the true meaning of Yoga. In modern times, most equate Yoga with the term "Asana", and believe Yoga only to be a good exercise to lose weight, cure illness or prevent illness. In fact, Yoga is an ancient science and art developed by our Rishis, which cultivates an entire life style, a wholistic way of living. Classical Yoga includes a Cosmic World View, a life-affirming philosophy, a practical and valuable set of moral and ethical principles, deep understanding of the Karmic law, intellectual exercises, emotional cleansers, body purifiers, nerve strengtheners and gland stimulators. Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita tells Arjuna : "Yoga is skill in action". The practices of Yoga are encoded in the eight step process termed "Ashtanga Yoga" by Maharishi Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras, which was written more than 2500 years ago. The Ashtanga Yoga of Maharishi Patanjali envisions the Yogic path to Moksha or Enlightenment as entailing eight steps: first and second steps are the Yama and Niyama, a practical moral and ethical code to regulate life style. The third step is Asana, the attainment of perfect ease and stillness of body, through various physical practices. The fourth step is Pranayama, various types of breath controls which culminate in mastery of Prana, the Universal Life Force. The fifth step is Pratyahara, an understanding of the role of the sense organs in human life and proper care and control of these "windows of the soul". The sixth step is Dharana, concentration practices which develop the mind's ability to focus itself on one point. The seventh step is Dhyana, meditation, (but not as popularly conceived). In classical, wholistic Yoga, Dhyana was an exalted state of consciousness achieved by the rare few who had perfected Dharana, or concentration. It is a state where the "personal" merges into the "Universal" consciousness. The eighth and last step of Ashtanga Yoga is termed "Samadhi". that literally means "becoming one with the Highest". When the individual Jiva merges permanently and irrevocably with Atman, or the Universal Consciousness, the Goal of Life, Moksha, is achieved. Through this brief description, one can see the immense scope of Classical Yoga and how its meaning has been pathetically reduced in modern times to a simple keep-fit activity or quick-fix avenue to a nebulous "peace of mind". The study and practice of Classical Yoga produces a strong, healthy, active, alert and disciplined personality. Hence, such a science should be cultivated in the practitioner from a very young age. The child should "grow in Yoga", thus becoming a good human being, one who is a boon not only to himself and his family, but to his community, his nation, the earth planet, and indeed, the very Cosmos. It is to promote the concept of Classical Yoga, that the Swami Gitananda Best Youth and Child Awards Competition has been envisioned. True Yoga knows no religion. It is not a cult, or a sect. It is not exclusive, but rather inclusive. It is not introverted to the individual personality but rather extroverted to the universe. Thus, it may be practised by anyone who has a sincere desire to understand his or her purpose in life and who wishes to live a happy, healthy, meaningful and productive life. This Competition was designed to stimulate, foster and test various Yogic traits of personality, including : Discipline of body, emotions and mind Clear strong intelligence Ability to communicate orally and in written form Development of presentable personality Knowledge of Yogic philosophy and theory Skill in Yogic Practices such as Asanas and Pranayamas Skill in arts which are complementary to Yoga Quick thinking, on-the-spot, alert consciousness Calmness of mind. Self control under all circumstancs (Sthitha Pragna). The Swami Gitananda Best Youth and child Awards are named after the illustrious Guru Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri, who was considered one of the five leading authorities of Ashtanga Yoga, or Classical Yoga, in the twentieth century. We bow our heads to this great Guru and all the Great Gurus and Rishis of our Indian culture, who have shown us this wonderful spiritual path which truly leads us "from untruth to Truth, from darkness to Light and from death to Immortality".
The 136th Guru Puja celebrations for SrilaSri Kambaliswamigal and the 16th for Yogamaharishi Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj held at Sri Kambaliswamy Madam, Thattanchavady, Pondichery on 16th December 2009
The 24th Pondicherry State Yoga Sport Championship was conducted in a grand manner on 14-15 November 2009 at the Sri Subulakshmi Mahal, Muthilapet, Pondicherry-3. Nearly 700participants took part in this event despite the heavy rain that lashed Pondicherry this week. Expertise and proficiency of the competitors was tested in both their performance of the various types of Yoga Asanas as well as knowledge of Yoga philosophy, psychology and history. Kalaimamani Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, President of the Pondicherry Yogasana Association inaugurated the championship with Guru Puja to the founder, Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri. Ammaji extolled the youngsters to make a sincere effort to understand the true nature of Yoga thus becoming better human beings for the welfare of the society and the world. The competitions were conducted simultaneously on four stages with 75 jury members and 25 volunteers performing their roles willingly and untiringly despite the huge workload. There were 46 different categories ranging from the pre-school toddlers to the mature college level students. A special event was held for children of the SADAY School for special children. 40 of these special children who have mental and physical handicaps participated and not only performed the Asanas but also expressed the definitions of Yoga in the most sweet and charming manner. The climax of the event was the grand CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS competition where the first prize winners from all the categories competed against each other in a spectacular show of Yoga Asana skill as well as expression of their admirable knowledge of Yoga theory. Champion of Champions trophy for this year was bagged by M. SIDDARDHAN in the male category and S. SABARISHREE in the female category. The competition came to an end with the valedictory function chaired by Prof Dr A Gnanam, one of the illustrious educationalists of India who has served as Vice Chancellor of Madras, Bharatidasan and Pondicherry Central universities as well as Chairman of the NACC committee. Dr KR Thiyagarajan, Medical Superintendent of the Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute and Dr. V Gopal, Principal College of Pharmacy, MTPG&RIHS expressed their blessings and wishes for the event. Shri N Ardhanari, World Conference of Religion and Peace and Muthamizhmamani Pulavar I Pattabiraman gave stirring blessings on the occasion. Yogacharini Dr. Nalini Devi, Gitananda Yoga, Spain and Dr. Sugatham of SADAY were present on the occasion. Dr A Gnanam was awarded the title of Karma Yoga Shironmani in recognition of his illustrious and selfless service for the cause of higher education in India. Shri Paramakedou received the Mooligai Maruttuva Chemmal award for his service for the cause of Herbal medicine in Puducherry. Yoga Chemmal awards for the year 2009 were bestowed upon Smt V Suseela, Thiru Venkatachalapathy, Thiru R Chandraselkar, Thiru S Tamilsengolan, Thiru G Dayanidy, Thiru T Sathish Kumar, Thiru V Gnanavelu and Selvi G Kanimozhi in recognition of their achievements and efforts for the cause of Yoga. Three new DVDs on Yoga by Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani were released by Dr A Gnanam on the occasion. These DVDs are on Advanced Pranayamas, Yoga for Pelvic Health and Yoga for Sleeping disorders. Mr. E. Srinivassan of Yatra Multimedia, Auroville who has directed the DVDs was honoured on the occasion. Members of the Jury and the volunteers were honoured for their Karma Yoga and all participating institutions were felicitated with an honour award. Students of Yognat presented a spectacular Team Yoga tableau to bring the curtain down on another grand success with the blessings of Swamiji and Ammaji who continue to inspire us all to do our best for the cause of Yoga and Indian Culture.
Some glimpses of the Panchali Sabadam Dance Drama premiered by Yoganjali Natyalayam at the JIPMER Auditorium on 11th October 2009 in honor of the 102nd Jayanthi celebrations of Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj. The drama deals with the story of Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas and her humiliation at the hands of the Kauravas in the court after Yudhisthira, the head of the Pandavas loses the game of dice to Shakuni and Duryodhana. The terrible oath taken by Draupadhi is the climax of the drama that was written in Tamil by the great poet Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharatiyar nearly 100 years ago in Puducherry. The Drama was directed by Ammaji, Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani and Dr Ananda with inputs from Devasena Bhavanani (choreography), Kalaimamani Pulavar I Patabiramane (lyrics) and Kalaimamani SV JAgadeesan (music).
Some scenes from the inauguration of the 41st Yoga Teacher Training and Yoga Sadhana Course at ICYER on 2nd October 2009
Navarathiri celebrations at Pondicherry in September 2009. Many music and dance performances were held as part of the 9-day celebrations that culminated with the Vijayadasami special classes at Yoganjali Natayalayam, the city centre of Ananda Ashram.
A wonderful gala time celebrating birthdays of Ammaji and Anandraj on Spetember 10th 2009 with family and friends! Felicitations to Yognat achievers and a warm welcome back for Dr Ananda and Devasena. Margo Hutchison of Australia was honored with the Swami Gitananda World Senior Citizen Award. Three new books By Dr Ananda were also released on Hatha Yoga Practices, Meditation and Weight loss that has been translated into Tamil by Meena Ramanathan
Photos from Dr Ananda and Smt Devasena's European tour in August 2009
Dr Ananda Balayogi and Devasena Bhavanani were guests for the massive Ganesh Chaturthi puja celebrations held at the Gitananda Ashramin Savona, Italy
Ananda Ashram at ICYER, Pondicherry (www.icyer.com) has embarked on a project of putting out various videos related to applications of Gitananda Yoga in association with the well-known music company SUPER AUDIO, Chennai (www.musicandchants.com) who is a partner of UNESCO’S Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity. DVDs/ CDs with Super Audio Chennai: • PRANAYAMA FOR HEALTH AND WELL BEING • YOGA MUDRAS- GESTURES FOR YOUR HANDS, FEET AND EYES • BODY TALK- YOGA GESTURES OF THE HUMAN BODY • YOGA STRESS BUSTERS • YOGA FOR BREATHING DISORDERS • YOGA FOR WEIGHT LOSS • MEDITATION: THE INNER YOGA • CHAKRAS: THE PSYCHIC CENTRES OF YOGA AND TANTRA • YOGA FOR DIABETES • YOGA FOR HYPERTENSION • YOGA FOR SPINAL HEALTH • YOGA FOR HEALTHY DIGESTION • YOGA FOR ARTHRITIS • YOGA FOR PELVIC HEALTH • YOGA FOR SLEEPING DISORDERS • ADVANCED PRANAYAMAS MUSIC THERAPY AND YOGA (One DVD-three VCDs). Artistic choreography of Yogasanas performed by students of Yognat the under direction of Dr Ananda in tune with music composed by Dr Harre Harren, eminent musicologist and music therapist. These three VCDs are available separately or in combination in one DVD from Vedu Electronics, Chennai. DHIVYANANDA CREATIONS • Ten lesons in Yoga for insomnia by Amma • Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram DANCE DRAMA PRODUCTIONS: • “HOMAGE TO THE NAVAGRAHAS” (live performance) of Yognat’s dance drama (2006). • “KARNA CHARITRAM” a DVD (live performance) of the dance drama by Yoganjali Natyalayam (2007). • “SAMBANDAR CHARITRAM” a DVD (live performance) of dance drama by Yoganjali Natyalayam (2008).
The colorful celebration of the 16th Annual day of Yoganjali Natyalayam in Pondicherry with more than 300 participants on stage and 1000 in the audience for 8 hours non-stop!
The 13th Annual Summer Intensive Yoga and Bharatanatyam Course was held in May 2009 with more than 175 students participating in Yoga, Bharatanatyam and Shlokam recitation classes that went on for nearly four hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Tremendous changes were witnessed in the children as the intensive gave them an opportunity to work closely with Amma and thus manifest their inherent potential. Students were taught the Dhyana Shlokam from the Bhagavad-Gita by Smt Meena Ramanathan. S Samyukta was declared BEST GIRL of the Intensive while R Vimalraj topped the points competition in the intensive with a magnificent performance throughout. S Geethakala was given a Special Award for her amazing abilities throughout. Theory classes given by Amma were the highlight of the intensive. The concept of Yoga and Bhoga and characteristics of both Yogic and Bhogic personalities were brought out in Amma’s inimitable manner with the children lapping up all the knowledge with great enjoyment. BEEPs (Bull’s Eye Enlightenment Points) were codified by Amma and the kids enjoyed them tremendously. An essay and art competition was also held to take the concepts deeper. The content of these classes lodged deep within everyone's consciousness as Amma hit the nail right on the head in a soft but steady manner. A booklet with core concepts was presented to all students for ready reference. 75 students and staff members participated in the three day residential camp at ICYER conducted at the end of May with numerous activities such as Yoga individual and team games, Team Karma Yoga, beach classes, a bonfire and many other holistic activities to broaden the young minds. The students enthusiastically participated in all activities. S Krishna Kumar and S Devasena were selected "Best Students of the Camp" in recognition of their Yogic talents and behavior.
Activities of the Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy, Educationand Research (ACYTER) at JIPMER, Pondicherry
The 23rd Pondicherry State Yoga Sport Championship was conducted in a grand manner in December 2008 at Naveena Gardens Hall.. More than 600 participants took part this year and their expertise in both Yoga Asanas and Yoga theory were tested. This year the competition was conducted simultaneously on four stages with 50 jury members and 20 volunteers performing their roles willingly and untiringly despite the huge workload. A special event was held for special children of SADAY school (both with the physical and mental handicaps) for the second consecutive year. More than 30 special children gave a very moving performance and prizes were distributed immediately after their competition with four levels being awarded prizes in junior and senior categories for male and female. The Champion of Champions trophy for this year was awarded to M. Swaroopa Ramanan in the male category and S. Devasena (S. Soumiya) in the female category. The competition came to an end with the valedictory function chaired by Thiru Om Shakthi Sekar, MLA, with Thiru T.P. Santhaseelan, Kalaimamani Pulavar I. Pattabiramane, Yogacharini Dr. Nalini Devi and Dr. Sugatham of SADAY in attendance. Dr Ananda’s five new DVDs on Yoga Therapy were released on the occasion. These DVDs present Yoga practices that aid in spinal health, hypertension, digestive disorders, diabetes, and arthritis. Mr. E. Srinivassan of Yatra Multimedia, Auroville who has directed the DVDs was honoured on the occasion. A pleasant surprise for the evening was the award “YOGA KALAIMAMANI” that was given to Dr. Ananda by Kalaimamani Thiru Pattabiramane. Jury and volunteers were honoured for their Karma Yoga and all participating institutions were felicitated with an honour award.
Dr. Ananda had two highly successful world tours in the past year. The first one was to the UK, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and USA in Sept-Oct 2008. The second was his trip down under to Australia, New Zealand and Singapore in April 2009. Dr Ananda was Invited Guest of Honour at the International Yoga Therapy Conference in San Rafael, California, USA in October 2008. He gave a Keynote address, workshops, practical classes and panel presentations along with eminent yoga masters from North America. He was also Invited Guest of Honour at the Milano Yoga Festival 2008 in Milan, Italy. He presented workshops and retreats in more than two dozen venues worldwide in these tours. He was also invited to present a talk at the Indian Embassy -Tagore Cultural centre in Berlin in September 2008. He was the first invited Guest speaker of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM) in Melbourne, Australia in April 2009 and presented a workshop for the International Association of Yoga teachers (IYTA) in Sydney. These tours have been a grand success and more and more are getting interested in the marvelous depth of real Yoga and Indian Culture.
On August 19th 2007, Yoganjali Natyalayam performed a Bharatnatyam Dance Drama to honor the Centenary of Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri. Being a Leo Dr. Swami Gitananda embodied many positive aspects of the sun such as radiance and benevolence. For this the producers of the dance drama decided to put on stage the story of Karna, who is another central character of the Mahabharata epos. Karna was a son of the sun god Surya thus representing loyality, gratitude, and generosity.
Between August 15th and August 22nd 2007, a group of senior teachers of the Gitananda Yoga tradition met at Ananda Ashram. They celebrated the centenary of their guru and reviewed some advanced Yoga practices. Of course they had also the chance to attend various cultural programs, of which the dance drama "Karna Charitram" (see gallery below) was a highlight.
In 2003 the construction of new student quarters was successfully completed at Ananda Ashram. The roof top of the new building turned out to be the perfect place for the Ashram's early morning Yoga Class. This gallery gives impressions.
Yoganjali Natyalayam (the Pondicherry City Centre of the ICYER) has developed a very popular Bharatnatyam troupe. The troupe is specialized in performing difficult acrobatic Natya Karanas which are essentially a form of Yoga Asanas. The pictures in this gallery show scenes from performances at Ananda Ashram and Chidambaram in the year 2000 .
According to Hindu tradition a new day starts with the first beam of sunlight. Thus the new Millennium started in Pondicherry January 1st, 2000 at about 5:30 a.m., when thousand of school children saluted the early morning sun by performing a Millennium Surya Namasakar (salutation to the Suns). The event was organized by Pondicherry authorities responsible for tourism and education as well as by the ICYER. The latter gave Yoga training to teachers, who passed their knowledge to their students.
Mixed pictures of Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri, Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani and Dr. Ananda Bhavanani.
Asanas performed by students of Yoganjali Natyalayam and the ICYER.