Notes on Shivananda Ashram


– We all eat sitting on the floor in lines, are forbidden to talk while eating, must chant before dinner, and eat with our hands as is the custom south India. The chef is a bit of a nazi when it comes to yelling at people that talk during dinner. On the other hand, sitting all together in this way reinforces a sense of community and equality among everyone. We each wash our own dishes at the end of the meal (which encourages us to be thorough I think, since any of us could receive a dish washed by someone else)

-In case you haven’t read from my previous posts, it is HOT and HUMID here and there are LOTS of MOSQUITOS. And they seem to be immune to all manner of repellent.

– The yoga and asana courses are fantastic. The teachers are great, friendly and very helpful. The lecture courses on the history and theory of yoga are also top notch in my book. This place has definitely broadened my understanding of some core concepts in Hinduism.

-This place is a hetero guy’s wet dream. It is crawling with beautiful women (and some men for that matter), who all seem quite flirty, despite the spiritual pretensions. Sometimes I think this place is just a big singles bar for straights. (Although I would be the first to say that sex can be very spiritually uplifting.)

– I could be wrong about this, but my impression from the video I saw about the founder of this place (Swami Vishnu Devananda) gave me the distinct impression that he and his mentor, Swami Sivananda, were shall we say, more than just good friends. But I read everything on baser levels, so there you are.

– A very unpleasant Israeli guy (who we have nicknamed Eor, because he never smiles), comes in to browbeat us all in the early morning in an effort to get us to go to the least interesting part of the program, Satsang (or as we call it, church and prayer).

-We walk barefoot everywhere at the ashram, and my feet are busted from all the rocks and fecal matter underfoot.


  1. Mom says:

    It LOOKS hot!

    You are right about the beautiful women–and I can feel the heat through the photos!

    I’m glad you are learning so much; you can teach me and I won’t have to sweat and be uncomfortable.

    See you next Month!