Presenter Welcome Information
Making the most of your visit
What is the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat?
We are a traditional yoga ashram founded on the teachings of Guru Swami Vishnudevananda, a disciple of the Indian sage Swami Sivananda, and follow a daily schedule designed to support spiritual practice and evolution, as well as a yogic lifestyle. For almost 50 years, we have served as a destination for people seeking a spiritual environment to study and practice yoga and develop a healthy lifestyle.
An ashram is a spiritual learning center, where students and practitioners study, practice, and live in a devotional community, traditionally under the guidance of a teacher.
Our ashram is open to all. We welcome people of all nationalities, faiths, and religions and encourage conversation and exchange between everyone. In service to Swami Vishnudevananda’s vision of a more peaceful world through the principle of Unity in Diversity and a more peaceful world, we invite an array of guest speakers and teachers to explore common ground and promote personal and social wellbeing.
Swami Swaroopananda is the acharya, spiritual director, of the ashram, as well as for the Sivananda centers and ashrams in the Middle East. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.
In addition, there are several Swamis who live at the ashram. You’ll notice that all Swamis dress in orange robes, following ancient traditions. There are other yogis, teachers, and practitioners who serve as the long-term staff of the organization and carry on the teachings of the lineage. They wear yellow and white. The white represents purity, and the yellow represents spiritual wisdom. It represents the spark of knowledge that eventually grows into a fire as the student continues his or her practice.
All of the short-term staff at the ashram are Karma Yogis, offering service to the ashram as part of their spiritual path and growth.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for travel to the Bahamas (including from the United States and Canada). Holders of US, UK, and Canada passports are not required to have a visa in order to enter the Bahamas. Please contact your local Bahamian Consulate to verify if you require a visa to enter the Bahamas.
Local Time, Currency and Climate
The Bahamas is in the Eastern time zone (UTC -5 hours) and observes Daylight Savings Time (DST).
The currency is the Bahamian dollar, although the US dollar is widely accepted. You can use American or Bahamian dollars throughout the Bahamas and at the ashram. At the ashram, we accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, cash (US dollars), and US certified bank drafts to the name Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat. We do not accept personal checks, travelers checks, or American Express.
Although the Bahamas is not part of the Caribbean geographically, it is often included in the Caribbean and shares much of its culture with its southern neighbors. The climate helps make the Sivananda Ashram a much sought-after retreat location by guests and presenters alike.
After collecting your luggage and passing through customs at Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport, you will be greeted by our driver with a Yoga Retreat sign at the airport.
About a 30-minute ride, you will be driven to our dock, located at Elizabeth on Bay Marketplace and Marina, in Nassau, across the bay from the ashram. At the dock, you will be greeted by our Special Guest Host. An easy five-minute boat ride will bring you to the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat on Paradise Island.
Special Guest Services
Your Special Guest Host will greet you at the dock and provide you with general information including meal times and location of dining areas, teaching/ performing venue, the Health Hut Boutique, accounting office, laundry facilities, etc. Special guest services include handling your maintenance and housekeeping requests. Please let us know how we may be of assistance to you.
Internet and Phone
Electrical outlets are compatible with US appliances.
Wireless internet is available throughout the ashram. Please note that WiFi is not available during morning and evening satsangs (6:00–8:00 am and 8:00–10:00 pm), which everyone is invited to attend.
Cellular phone coverage (via the local Bahamian carrier) is available. Check with your cell phone company to find out how to use your phone in the Bahamas.
What to Bring
Ashram presenters are invited to dress in casual, comfortable clothing suitable for warm days and occasional cool evenings. Clothing is modest (covering shoulders & knees), though bathing suits, shorts and tank tops are acceptable on the beach (plan to wear cover-ups on the way to the beach and around the ashram).
This is a traditional ashram; the dress code helps preserve a contemplative atmosphere. During your presentation a sport-elegant or elegant dress-code with covered shoulders and knees will be appropriate.
Other useful items to bring for your stay at the ashram include: meditation shawl, swimsuit, sunscreen, earplugs, eye mask, toiletries, slip-on beach sandals, sunglasses, and sun hat.
AT THE ASHRAM: THE BASICS
Two buffet-style lacto-vegetarian meals are served at the ashram daily, brunch at 10:00 am and dinner at 6:00 pm, prepared with love and care according to yogic dietary principles.
Both brunch and dinner offer nourishing vegetable, grain, and/or bean dishes as well as hearty soups. Brunch also includes fruit, homemade granola and freshly made yogurt. Raw ingredients to make your own salad are offered at both meals, as well as our own baked bread. You are also welcome to enjoy a cup of our daily herbal tea selection. Non-vegetarian food, alcohol and tobacco are strictly forbidden on ashram premises.
As a special guest at the ashram, you can choose to eat privately and interact with your fellow presenters.
Our accommodations are welcoming and simple. Accommodations are reserved for you, in accordance with the arrival and departure dates listed in your contract.
In your room you’ll be provided with a hot water kettle, water jug, mugs, drinking glasses, fruit and snacks. The ashram does not serve coffee or caffeinated tea.
The Daily Schedule is posted on the guest information board in front of the Reception Office. This schedule underpins the daily rhythm of the ashram for everyone.
|6:00 am||Satsang: meditation, chanting, and lecture or Silent Walk|
|8:00 am||Yoga Class (asana, pranayama, and relaxation)|
|4:00 pm||Yoga Class (asana, pranayama, and relaxation)|
|8:00 pm||Satsang: meditation, chanting, and a talk or performance|
We invite you to attend all our daily offerings. We believe it will greatly contribute to your enjoyment of our ashram.
We come together as a community in daily satsangs for meditation, chanting, daily prayers, and spiritual learning. Our satsangs are about two hours long and are held first thing in the morning at 6:00 am and in the evening at 8:00 pm. Our satsang includes 30 minutes of silent meditation, 15 minutes of chanting, and an 45 minute talk, presentation, or performance by one of our teachers or many guest speakers and performers.
There is a strict dress code for the temple and the satsang hall: shoulders and knees should be covered and no tank tops, shorts, or short skirts should be worn.
This is the schedule for the Evening Satsang.
|8-8:30 Meditation, led by Sivananda Staff|
|8:30-8:45 Chanting, led by Sivananda Staff|
|8:45-8:50 Introducing the Presenter, led by Sivananda Staff|
|8:50-9:35 Lecture or Performance (45 minutes), led by Guest Presenter|
|9:35-9:40 Announcements, led by Sivananda Staff|
|9:40-9:50 Final Prayers and Arati, led by Sivananda Staff|
We practice classical hatha yoga. A typical Sivananda asana class is about 100 minutes, and includes a sequence of 12 asanas (postures) that are considered to be the most important asanas to practice daily as well as relaxation. Our classes are taught in the traditional style of entering and exiting a pose slowly and mindfully with concentration and focus on breathing. All classes start with pranayama breathing exercises, and continue with a warm-up of sun salutations and brief relaxations between asanas. We offer beginning and intermediate classes daily to suit a variety levels, and more advanced courses as the student moves into a greater depth of practice.
Beginners and intermediate classes are held every day at 8:00 am and 4:00 pm and yoga mats and cushions are available.
AT THE ASHRAM: AMENITIES
There are three temples that are used for worship and celebration: the Main Temple, Bala Kirshna Temple, and Vana Durga Temple
All three temples play an important role in ashram life and everyone is invited to attend, observe, and participate in the daily pujas. A puja is a devotional ceremony designed to honor a particular deity or deities and is led by our resident Vedic priest or a senior staff member, who chants mantras (sacred words and sounds) in Sanskrit and offers light, fruit, and flowers to the divine.
Booking a Vedic astrology reading with the ashram priest
Vedic astrology is the traditional system of astrology from India and is an excellent tool for self-awareness and growth. It is similar to, yet different from, Western astrology in its determination of a person’s signs and their influence on evolution of the soul. Readings are usually available December through May. To book a reading with the ashram priest, please go to the Reception area between 10:45 and 11:00 am.
Health Hut Boutique
Our Health Hut Boutique & Bookstore is open daily from December through June and offers an eclectic collection of inspiring books and music, including products by our guest speakers, as well as healthy snacks and other yoga products. We offer a smaller selection of items off-season from July to November.
Guest speakers’ books, CDs, and other products are sold on consignment, and marked up by 40 percent. Sales are paid to presenters via bank draft in US dollars.
Well Being Center
The Well Being Center is open December through May and offers a variety of healing modalities to attend to the needs of your body and mind while at the ashram. You can make an appointment after November 24 by phone or email. Payment is required at time of booking. From December through May, you can reach them at [email protected] or 1-866-559-5167.
Boat service to Nassau
*Please note – the boat is only running for airport arrivals and departures. It is not recommended that guests go into Nassau during their stay*
The Accounting Office is open daily between the hours of 11:00 am and Noon for your needs. Your Special Guest Host will provide the location of the office to you. Please be sure to bring with you all the required back-up documentation when visiting the Accounting Office. Email is [email protected].
Sivananda Program/Production Contact List
The Program and Production departments work closely in concert to arrange your stay and to produce your program. Once all the details of your program are finalized and the contract is signed, the production process will start. You will be contacted by the production team at least 90 days prior to your scheduled arrival date to coordinate the purchase of your flight details and any other details relating to your trip and program. You are welcome to contact the production team prior to such time, if you have any questions or requests.
Questions regarding program content or schedule can be sent to the Program Department, directed by Ana Sanjuan, [email protected], 845-444-0608. Ana manages a remote team from offices based in New York.
Questions for travel, accommodations, and on-site production can be directed to the Production Department at [email protected], 416-479-0199.
Many programs are recorded. These video recordings are at times uploaded to our youtube channel and shared in emails and social media.