About Swami Nirmalananda

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati leads Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center and Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram in Downingtown PA. An American yogi, she is an inspiring teacher with a loving manner and a great sense of humor. Before becoming a swami (yoga monk), as Rama Berch, she served the yoga community as the founding president of Yoga Alliance. Traveling and teaching nationally and internationally, she is authorized to initiate people into deep meditation through Shaktipat, as did Swami Muktananda, her own Guru. The Ashram website features extensive Freebies, including articles and audio recordings on the principles of consciousness as taught by the sages of India, as well as how to apply them in your life today.

All posts by Swami Nirmalananda:

My First Yoga Teacher

You never forget your first yoga teacher. She has a special place in your heart. While I’d begun with TV yoga at age 12, my first in-person class wasn’t until 10 years later. The teacher both wowed and horrified me by demonstrating Shavasana with Ujjayi Pranayama, emphasizing the expansion of her belly on the inbreath. […]

Yoga: Classical, Modern & Authentic

I helped create Yoga Alliance by serving as the founding President. I learned a lot from the many yogis involved in establishing national standards for yoga teachers. Three of yoga’s then-living masters sent personal representatives: BKS Iyengar, Swami Satchidananda and Yogi Bhajan. Each of them emphasized yogis getting together. In spite of the differences we […]

Opening Into Life

Vitally alive! A body that is breathing and pulsating with aliveness in every cell. Eyes clear and radiant. Glowing with a happiness that arises from an inner surety of being. Yoga makes you alive — fully alive. You have the capacity to live this way in every moment, and some work to do in order […]

The Dual Purposes of Life

If you had a sense that you came here in order to accomplish one overarching purpose, you are only half right. Yoga describes the purpose of human life as being two-fold. There are two things that you are here to accomplish. The first is to have experiences, a full range of experiences. This means that […]

Yoga: Alternative Lifestyle or Mainstream?

I was presenting at a yoga conference, gathering feedback from yoga teachers about the founding of Yoga Alliance, while serving as the founding President. One woman was concerned that the new Yoga Alliance would make yoga mainstream, “If yoga becomes mainstream, I’ll have to quit!”

Who’s In Charge?

You’re looking at the dessert tray, which they bring to your table after your meal at a fine restaurant. Who’s in charge? Your taste buds? Your tummy? Your inner cop, counting calories? Your Ayurvedic sensibilities? Or perhaps your vegan raw-food healthy organic self, saying yes, but only to the Vegan No-Bake Cheesecake?

Yoga & the 5 Attributes of Success

Yoga makes you more successful at anything and everything you’re interested in accomplishing. This means that yoga makes you better at getting what you want. This is because yoga improves 5 key attributes that contribute to your success in any endeavor.

Not Enlightened Yet?

Life is not perfect, you already know. The ups and downs continue but if you were enlightened, they wouldn’t bother you. It’s the botheration that is the problem. It sabotages your happiness but, worse, it sabotages your ability to deal with what’s happening.

Every Pose is for Your Spine

My first yoga teacher told me, “Every pose is for your spine.”  I didn’t understand, but I loved her classes.  I even started doing some poses at home.  After 2 or 3 months of taking her weekly classes, she told me I was ready to teach.  Really?  I was amazed!  This was 1976. The pathway to becoming a yoga teacher was not clearly defined.