Ashrams Around the World

Sivanandashram of Paris

(A report by Swami Devatmananda Saraswati)

Sivanandashram in Paris was created to transmit the teachings of integral yoga in the purest tradition of the ancient rishis of India. Sivanandashram was born in October 1968, and in 1969 it became a 'Cultural Association' according to the French law. Sivanandashram is not an ordinary school or yoga centre, it is an ashram, a place where people can assemble in order to practice spiritual techniques under the inspiration of a master, Paramahamsa Swami Satyananda. It is a preserved place where each seeker can find the methods which will enable him to discover and develop the best of himself. Here guidance is given concerning the suitable spiritual orientation for each individual. One broadens his outlook and gains an understanding of the true meaning of life by learning to live better. In this ashram no religion is preached, but the teachings that one receives develop a deeper comprehension of one's own religion. Whether the seeker is an atheist or a believer, our main aim is to help him to discover his real nature and gain inner freedom, not so much through purely intellectual investigation or blind faith, as by direct and personal experience. We could explain the taste of honey to you for hours and hours, but this would have less value than actually experiencing the taste of honey for yourself.

Life on earth is a great adventure in the unfolding of eternity on the cosmic scale. Awakening to the state of highest consciousness is the key to inner liberation, which we build up with our own hands only in the school of life. We must learn to live by being and not by having. Since 1968 we have tried to work in this spirit through the teachings of yoga in group courses, satsangs, seminars, yogic weekends at the hermitage, talks, cultural evenings, meetings, yogic holidays, short publications and the publishing of our magazine, Satyam, which gives teachings that may enlighten your search.

At Sivanandashram in Paris the following courses and techniques are taught : preparatory course for beginners, hatha yoga, raja yoga, meditation, ajapa japa, antar mouna, yoga nidra, kundalini yoga, integral surya namaskara, nada yoga, prana vidya, chidakasha dharana and trataka. We also give training courses with diplomas for yoga teachers.

At the ashram students are not treated as numbers, but as human beings with individual problems and aspirations. Therefore although each course is given in groups, the director is keen to know all of her pupils individually, and tries to be useful to them by offering her services and advice. She receives each student privately and checks his progress and difficulties regularly, changing his course whenever necessary.

Our ashram has managed to develop thanks to the devoted service of a tiny staff. From Sivanandashram were born Sivanandashram-Hermitage, then Gurudev Ashram in the east of France, and Gurudev Ashram also in Paris; these were started in 1972, 1973 and 1974. Many new people have been quick to join us, but we must be even more numerous and work united in heart in order that the greatness of yoga may become a message of hope for all, a seed of renewal from the dawn of ages for the newly beginning era of mankind. All who wish to help in this mission are invited to become members of Sivanandashram. Even if our work is but a tiny little stone in the huge edifice of the world, still this little stone must be strong and efficient. Altogether let us try to do something for the upliftment of mankind which is presently in such great need of happiness and peace.