Coping With Challenges

With the help of Yoga and Vedanta

Sunday September 13, 2020
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Although many would opt for a stress-free life, it is inevitable that we all have to face various challenges throughout our journey. In some cases, we meet them with ease and poise, but at other times we fail to muster the proper resources and fail miserably! Many tools can be developed for dealing with trying situations. During this retreat day, a set of time-tested tools that have been passed down for generations will be presented by the instructors. H.H. Swami Sivananda Ji loved to say an ounce of practice is better than tons of theory. We will share some valuable pointers, after which it is up to each one of us to put them into practice.

8:30 - 9:00 AM Introduction, Shanti Mantra Chanting, Meditation with Gajananam
9:15 - 10:15 AM Soaring Above it, the Art and Science of Positive Thinking with Gajananam
10:30 - 12:00 PM Yoga for Relaxation and Stress Reduction with Swami Sivasankariananda
12:00 - 1:00 PM Lunch Break
1:00 - 2:00 PM Healing by Facing the Issues with Jyoti Rout
2:15 - 3:15 PM Getting to the Root of It All Through Self-Inquiry with Gajananam
3:30 - 4:00 PM Q&A with the Instructors

The instructors
Gajananam is a direct disciple of Swami Vishnu-devananda Ji. He has been practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for over 3 decades and has been studying Vedanta in a traditional manner at Arsha Vidya since 2013. Gajananam holds yoga and Vedanta classes in Fremont, CA, where he offers seekers guidance on the path of self-inquiry.

Odissi Guru Jyoti Rout is a prominent Indian classical dance teacher and choreographer. She has received numerous awards and is the founder-director of Jyoti Kala Mandir College of Indian Classical Arts, which teaches and promotes Odissi dance and music in the USA and India. Jyoti is the mentor of hundreds of students of all ages and walks of life.

Swami Sivasankariananda is the director of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Los Angeles. She is a certified yoga therapist and teaches at the Sivananda yoga teacher training courses and retreats in the US and abroad. All derive great joy from her classes, which she considers as an act of devotion.

- Sliding scale donation - $40 to $108 (use the PayPal button below).
- The donations for this program will help support the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Los Angeles, as well as organizations or individuals who have been affected by the pandemic.
- No one will be turned away for lack of funds
Additional Information
- Kindly be ready with a bolster or blanket and a towel or flat cushion for the yoga session.
- The personal connection is an important dimension in these teachings. As this is not possible at the moment, we recommend that participants keep their videos on during the classes, as this can help bridge the virtual gap.


Intermediate Yoga and Meditation Course

Ongoing Sundays 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Class Meets Online

Yoga is a complete system, as it is designed to balance body, energy and mind, it offers tools for coping in a balanced, stress-free way with life, it shows us ways of understanding ourselves deeply, and it helps us find our center. With a little effort and regular practice, one receives many benefits.

This 7-session course includes both practice of yogic techniques and an introduction to meditation practice. Each class consists of one and a half hours of yoga Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathing exercises), relaxation, and meditation theory and practice, guidance in establishing and deepening one's personal yoga and meditation practice, as well as introduction to various aspects of yoga philosophy and their application in our daily lives.

Whoever you are and whatever is your life-style, incorporating some yoga practice into your daily life can do wonders!


Intermediate/Beginners Yoga Course

Wednesdays Evenings, 7:00 - 8:15 PM
Starting Date To Be Announced

Yoga asanas and pranayama - for balancing body, energy and mind, stress reduction, increased awareness, and a wonderful preparation for meditation. Step-by-step instruction for beginners.

Tuition: TBA
Pre-registration Required

To register and pay the course fees online, use the PayPal button below.

This will be a beginners class, covering the basics of yoga Asana and Pranayama practice and relaxation techniques, as well as guidance for establishing and refining one's personal practice.




Gajananam and lotusVedanta Classes (Online)

The original and most authoritative teachings of Vedanta are revealed in the Upanishads, which are the latter part of the Vedas, the most ancient spiritual texts known to humanity. The Upanishads reveal the unity of the individual being and the universal presence, declaring that they are one and the same consciousness. Due to lack of inner clarity and the unsteady nature of the mind, we aren't aware of this basic fact and identify ourselves with situations and various notions. These in turn sow the seed for ups and downs, pain, suffering and disappointment.

Vedanta claims that one of the most misunderstood words in our language is "I". We take its meaning for granted without any analysis. Many other phenomena are thoroughly analyzed by us, such as atoms, stars, politics, etc., but we don't inquire into the inquirer itself. Different Vedantic methodologies are prescribed for discerning who it is experiencing the world through this body-mind-sense complex. Just as a map is necessary for reaching a destination, the teachings of Vedanta are the compass guiding the aspirant along the path of self-inquiry. Traditionally, Vedanta is studied by listening to the teachings from an experienced teacher, reflecting on them to help clarify our doubts, and meditating on these truths to enshrine them in our being. Vedanta offers a three-step system for gaining this understanding - Shravanam or listening to the Upanishadic teachings from an experienced teacher, Mananam or reflecting on them to help clarify our doubts, and Nididhyasanam or meditating upon these truths.

I am very grateful to be able to continue offering Vedanta classes remotely at these times, as in-person classes are not feasible. The study of this vision has had a tremendous impact on my life, as it helps one gain a deeper understanding of oneself. We take for granted our identity as an individual being - struggling with the ups and downs of life. We get exposed to some philosophical ideas about our identity as a conscious being, but seldom take the time to closely look at and understand this alternate angle of vision. The study of Vedanta is a systematic, in-depth inquiry into fundamental, deeper questions such as "who am I?" and "what is the source of this creation?". Vedanta claims that the source of our insecurity and discontentment is a simple misunderstanding of ourselves.

One and all are invited to join us.

Panchadashi - Mahabhuta-Viveka-Prakaranam
Thursdays, 6-7:15 PM, starting September 10th

Duration: 3 to 4 months

Panchadashi is a highly regarded text for serious students of Vedanta which was written by one of the greatest Vedanta Acharyas, Sri Swami Vidyaranya. This text is a composition of 15 chapters, each giving a full picture of the message of Vedanta with clear and comprehensive examples. The chapter which we will be studying analyzes the essence of the external world, and points out in a step-by-step manner that its basis or substratum is no other than the same universal consciousness which I am. The analysis is based on one of the most important vakyas or proclamations of the Chandogya Upanishad.

Ishavasya Upanishad
Sundays, 9:10-10:25 AM, starting September 20

Duration: 3 to 4 months

Studying the Upanishads is a rare and special opportunity for spiritual aspirants, as they are said to be direct echoes of Ishwara or the divine, noted down by the rishis or ancient seers who had the direct vision of the truth. They reveal the unity of the individual being and the universal presence, declaring that they are one and the same consciousness. We were fortunate to have studied the Katha Upanishad last year, and I would look forward to taking up the Ishavasya Upanishad one at this point.

The Ishavasya Upanishad, found in the Shukla-Yajurveda, is one of the most concise and widely studied Upanishads. It starts with the well-known verse "Ishavasyam Idam Sarvam" - the Universal Spirit indwells everything, it is the unifying factor behind all names and forms. The text points out the two paths one must follow for unfolding this vision - preparation through the path of Karma Yoga and Upasana (selfless service and meditation/worship) for purifying one's heart and mind, then gaining a subtle understanding of the essence through Jnana Yoga or Vedantic inquiry.

The text will be taught along the lines of Sankara Bhashya, the commentary by Adi Guru Sankaracharya, and will include insights given by my teachers.

The Teacher
The classes will be taught by Gajananam, a direct disciple of late Sri Swami Vishnu-devananda Ji. He is the founder/director of the Vishnu-devananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Fremont, served as the director of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in New York in the 1990's, and has been teaching yoga and meditation for 30 years. Since 2013, he has been studying Vedantic scriptures in a traditional fashion at Arsha Vidya.

These courses will take place online. Email us at ishnuyoga@gmail.com to register.
Following the tradition of Vedantic teaching, these classes are free of charge. Donations are optional.




Sanskrit Course Level 3 - Sandhi

Sundays 8:00 - 9:00 AM, Starting 9/27/2020
Class Meets Online

Sanskrit Grammar Level 3

Most of the traditional philosophical and religious texts of India are written in Sanskrit, such as the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Adi Guru Sankara's Bhashyas and Prakaranams. For those interested in deepening their understanding of the philosophy and mantras, having a basic understanding of the Sanskrit language is very helpful.

This course will cover
Sandhi - rules for merging" sounds
Atmanepadi and Parasmaipadi verbs
Verb Lakaras (tenses) and Ganas (groups)
Verbal Participles

Pre-requisite - familiarity with vowel-ending noun declensions and parasmaipadi lat (present tense) verb declensions.

By Donation



For yoga and Vedanta class donations, use the button below


Na Hi Jnaanena Sadrsham Pavitram Iha Vidyate
There is nothing as purifying in this world as knowledge
- - Bhagavad Gita 4, 38

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