Yoga Vacation Program
December 22, 2022 — January 1, 2023

Christmas & New Year Unity in Diversity Symposium

Be the Light

Swami Swaroopananda, Swami Sarvapriyananda, Rabbi Mitchell Chefitz, Snatam Kaur, Sopurkh Singh, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Alberto Villoldo, Jeffrey Lloyd, Gaura Vani, Krishnan Namboodiri, Swami Hridyananda, Swami Brahmananda, Swami Paramananda, Jnaneshwari Chaitanya, Rukmini Chaitanya, and Pranava Chaitanya

Join us this holiday season for a joyous celebration during our annual Christmas & New Year Unity in Diversity Symposium. World-renowned spiritual leaders, musicians and artists from different religions and spiritual traditions will inspire us and help us navigate this time of change and new beginnings as we move forward towards a bright future. Through live lectures, workshops, concerts, and performances, we will deepen our understanding of the spiritual path and how we can march forward towards a bright future for ourselves and humanity. We will reflect on the past year and establish a new, enlightened vision for the coming year.

The teaching of Unity in Diversity was at the core of Swami Vishnudevananda’s mission. According to yoga and Vedanta philosophy, the one God or Ultimate Reality manifests as a multiplicity of names, forms, shapes, and colors. There is an underlying unity which supports our manifested diversity. “Unity” and “diversity” are one and the same and their essence is our own essence: pure existence, pure consciousness, and pure bliss.

Join us for this spiritual gathering and gain a direct glimpse of this truth. Through talks, concerts, spiritual practices, discussions, and more, we will participate in breaking down artificial barriers and experience the unity in our diversity.

Swami Swaroopananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda. A practicing yogi from a very young age, Swami Swaroopananda has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga. He taught in Yoga Teacher Training Courses around the world and is currently teaching advanced yoga philosophy courses and lectures internationally. He is Director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and acharya (spiritual director) for the Sivananda centers and ashrams in the Bahamas and the Middle East. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.

Swami Sarvapriyananda is the minister and spiritual leader of the Vedanta Society of New York. He joined the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1994, received sannyas ten years later, and served in the Hollywood Temple. He was the acharya of the monastic probationers’ training center at Belur Math, and also served as the vice principal of the Deoghar Vidyapith Higher Secondary School. He regularly gives retreats and spiritual talks throughout the United States.

Rabbi Mitchell Chefitz is the author of the best-selling novel The Seventh Telling: The Kabbalah of Moshe Katan. His story collection, The Curse of Blessings, has been widely translated. His rabbinic career includes 12 years at Temple Israel of Greater Miami as rabbi and scholar-in-residence, as well as more than 20 years as director of the Havurah of South Florida. He currently is program director for the Center for Jewish Life in Miami. His recent publications include The Kabbalist’s Aleph-Bet, an adventure through the Hebrew letters, and Beyond Prayer, eighteen lessons to enhance rabbinic prayer or replace it.

Snatam Kaur is an American kirtan singer and peace activist, who learned to sing in the Sikh musical style with her mother. One of the most popular New Age artists of our time, she has been recording music since 2000; Her best-known CDs include Shanti, Grace, and Liberation’s Door. Her music can be heard around the world in venues from yoga studios to schools to Hollywood films and in the homes of her fans worldwide. Snatam Kaur has an amazing ability to transform traditional chants into a contemporary sound that appeals to the modern ear and awakens an ancient yearning in the soul. While traveling the world on tour she also teaches yoga and meditation to children and adults alike, a part of her commitment to give people tools for a daily experience of inner peace.

Sopurkh Singh began studying Kundalini Yoga and Meditation with his teacher Yogi Bhajan in 2000. He now teaches retreats, workshops and classes all over the world with his wife, Snatam Kaur.

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo became a Buddhist while still in her teens. At the age of 20, she traveled to India and become one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. The international best-seller Cave in the Snow by Vicki Mackenzie chronicles Tenzin’s 12 years of seclusion in the Himalayas. In 2008, the head of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage gave her the rare title of Jetsunma (venerable master). Deeply concerned with the plight of Buddhist nuns, Jetsunma Tenzin established Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in India. She has written two books: Reflections on a Mountain Lake and Into the Heart of Life.

Alberto Villoldo, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and psychologist who has studied the spiritual practices of the Amazon and the Andes for more than 25 years. While at San Francisco State University, he founded the Biological Self-Regulation Laboratory to study how the mind creates psychosomatic health and disease. Dr. Villoldo is founder of The Four Winds Society, through which he teaches individuals throughout the world the practice of energy medicine. He has written numerous best-selling books, including Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment (with Dr. David Perlmutter); Shaman, Healer, Sage; and The Four Insights.

Jeffrey Lloyd was born in New Providence, The Bahamas. He is the former Minister of Education in The Bahamas Parliament. He is a leader in Christianity and an active member in his Roman Catholic church. He is also a practitioner of Siddha yoga. Mr. Lloyd is married to the former Michelle Donna Marie Mitchell. He is the proud father of 5 daughters and also has 5 grand children.

Gaura Vani started studying sacred music in Vrindavan, India, at the age of six. Today, he shares the magic he received and performs extensively with his kirtan ensemble throughout the world. His albums include Ten Million Moons and Nectar of Devotion.

Krishnan Namboodiri is a Tantric priest from South India, trained in the classical tradition of mantras (sacred sounds), pujas (prayer ceremonies), homas (fire rituals), and yantras (sacred geometric designs). He performs many daily and special rituals for the ashram.

Swami Hridyananda is a direct disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda and senior staff at the  Yoga Retreat. She has spent over 35 years teaching different aspects of yoga, as well as teaching in Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Courses. She also teaches meditation, thought power, chanting, and supports individuals on their inner transformative journey.

Swami Brahmananda is Manager of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and senior staff of the Sivananda organization. A long-time practitioner of yoga, he regularly teaches yoga philosophy and meditation for the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Courses as well as meditation immersion courses. He is a much-loved, inspiring, and knowledgeable teacher.

Swami Paramananda is the manager of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch and longtime teacher of Sivananda Yoga Teacher Trainings in the Bahamas, New York, and India. A much-loved teacher admired for his humor, warmth, and devotion to the practice, he seamlessly weaves classical yoga teachings into modern daily life.

Jnaneshwari Chaitanya is a senior staff member and teacher of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat. An experienced and devoted practitioner, she is an inspiring and insightful teacher of Yoga and Vedanta in Yoga teachers training courses and many of the ashram programs. Jnaneshwari Chaitanya is known for her clear and pure way of communicating the knowledge and its application in daily life, and is especially known for her skill in teaching the Bhagavad Gita.

Rukmini Chaitanya is a senior staff member of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas, and the personal assistant to Swami Swaroopananda, the Acharya, or spiritual director of the Ashram. She regularly teaches the Bhagavad Gita during the Sivananda Yoga Teacher training as well as other courses on the Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta, positive thinking, meditation, and yoga philosophy.

Rukmini Chaitanya is known for her enthusiastic and inspiring teaching style as well as for her devotion to the lineage and the scriptures. She is dedicated to each of her students and has an innate desire to share knowledge with them. She brings a great deal of clarity to every topic and is highly appreciated for her capacity to unfold complicated topics and present them in a coherent and pure way.

Rukmini Chaitanya was interviewed on The Spiritually Inspired Show

Pranava Chaitanya is an advanced Sivananda Yoga teacher and senior staff at the ashram. He regularly teaches workshops, courses, and delivers satsang talks on a variety of topics including yogic practice, meditation, positive thinking, raja yoga, yogic diet, stress management, and yogic tools for happiness. He is one of the most popular and beloved teachers of our Sivananda Essentials Courses. He teaches with love, compassion, and care for his students, while delivering the materials in a very clear and coherent manner. Pranava Chaitanya is also a member of the Hatha Yoga team of our Yoga Teacher Training Courses (TTCs) at the ashram. He is the manager of the ashram kitchen and an expert on yogic and Ayurvedic nutrition and diet.

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