About Swami Nirmalananda

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati leads Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram in Downingtown PA. Honored both in India and America, 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:

How Much Yoga?

When you decide how much yoga you are going to do, you are deciding two things:  (1) what to do with some available time (a simple thing), and (2) what your goal in life is (a really big deal!).  You are really choosing —do you want to be happy or do you want to be […]

Devotion in Yoga

Family and holidays are at the fore of your mind this time of year, with yoga often receding to the background. Of course, you use yoga to recover from overdoing it, whether it’s the food, other pleasures, or the pressures of inner and outer expectations. Yet the sages of India describe devotion as an essential […]

Sensory Impressions

I watched the fiery sun rise over the Ganga (Ganges River) in Varanasi.  Surya wiggled through the layers of clouds and became round again, reflecting across the water shining in my eyes.  People around me were doing other things:  watching a passing sheep, playing with a ball, washing laundry on the stones, walking and talking […]

Family

I remember being surprised by how I felt at a family reunion many years ago, sitting in a room with 25 blood relatives, many of whom I hadn’t seen in decades.  I could feel the bond with them so tangibly, so physically.  It’s like my DNA recognized their DNA.  Thus while we were getting caught […]

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?