Local Mandali Programs
Local Mandali Programs help teachers support and expand their communities through “grassroots marketing.” This is how most people find their way to Svaroopa® yoga, through friends and recommendations.
By creating these programs for your students, you build their relationships with each other as well as deepen their understanding of what their yoga means to them.
2021 Local Mandali Events
January — Awaken an Inner Capacity
In January, share Gurudevi’s quotation about the pandemic at the end of each class. As the pandemic continued into the 2020 summer, she blogged:
You know how to make lemonade out of lemons, especially because you’re a yogi. That’s the point of doing yoga, to awaken your hidden capacities.
Then ask your students to contemplate a yogic start to their New Year. Offer them a short reflection: What hidden capacity have you awakened through practicing yoga during 2020?
At the end of each January class, save a few minutes for reflection and reporting. Or you can give your students the contemplation and ask for a report at the beginning or end of next week’s class. Encourage them to continue awakening hidden capacities each week. If you’d like, take notes. At the end of January, email your students a list of their remarkable findings.
February — Valentine’s Cards for Gurudevi
Saved & Shown on Your Device
Express your appreciation for Gurudevi’s swift pivot to online teaching to keep our kula learning and growing. Send her expressions of gratitude on Valentine’s Day. Ask your students to create valentines for Gurudevi. They can craft a traditional valentine, or create one electronically. Either way, have them save it (or a photo of it) in an electronic file and email it to you.
In your Zoom class, your students share their traditional creations by holding them up to the camera on their device. For electronic creations, have them open their file on their device. Then make them the Zoom session host so they can screen share. Finally, send your students’ files via email to Gurudevi. We’ll give you all the details to help with this electronic sharing!
And Gurudevi will send a thank you gift to everyone who sends her a valentine, so be sure to include their name and address.
March — Yoga Brings Bliss
We’ve had more “at home” time in the past year to try new things. Gurudevi wrote, “You could do more yoga, even with online classes and programs. You choose. While learning something new broadens your mind, yoga expands your bliss.”
The Svaroopa® Sciences offer so many blissful practices: yoga poses, Ujjayi Pranayama, chanting, japa, meditation and study of the ancient texts. At the end of March classes, ask your students, “Which yoga practices have brought you bliss in the pandemic months of ‘nesting inside’? How do you notice this bliss blossoming forth?”
Perhaps they have a favorite pose that makes them notice bliss arising. Maybe hearing the contemplations open them into bliss at the end of class. Have students report their experiences of bliss. Post their responses on a Zoom white board or on your studio Facebook page. Or collect their responses in an email to send to the whole class.
April — National Haiku Day
A haiku is a Japanese poem of 17 syllables in 3 lines: five syllables in the first and last lines, with seven in the middle. Traditionally, haikus focus on a moment in time, juxtaposing two images. Haiku creates a sudden sense of enlightenment, just as yoga does, for example:
Lying on blankets
I listen to my breathing
Peace is found within
Invite your students to write their own haiku, depicting their yogic process of transformation. They can email their poems to you so you can read them at the end of class. Or they can read the poem aloud themselves. You could even compile the haikus to create a booklet to distribute to your students!
May — Yoga Feeds You & Your Friends
J~naanam annam - Shiva Sutras 2.9
Knowledge is food.
The Sanskrit, word “annam” means food. But it’s not the organic, farm-to-table food we imagine yogis eating, even though the word has a similar meaning — to nourish. You pick and choose what you want from food that will satisfy you, physically and mentally. How do you satisfy and nourish yourself from the yogic perspective? Only the experience of your own Inherent Essence will do.
In January your students explored how their yoga practice had revealed hidden capacities. Nourishing themselves with yoga cultivated inner knowing and shifts. Eating healthier and more vegetarian foods can be one of those shifts. Invite your students to share a new or favorite “healthy,” vegetarian recipes at the end of May classes.
June — Contemplation Article Wall
Introduce your students to the Ashram’s generous Freebies. Engage them in reading Gurudevi’s monthly teaching articles. Or they can listen to the articles on the Ashram’s podcast page. At the end of class, ask students to email you one or more lines from an article. You will share these excerpts at the next class.
Get students started by showing them how to access the articles on the Ashram home page or podcast site. Hold up your phone to the camera while you click through the steps. Or share your Zoom screen to walk students through the steps.
Assign this homework: they email you one or more sentences from a teaching article within 24 hours of class. If you don’t receive an email from a student, call or email them!
Then post their sentences on your studio wall, on Zoom’s “white board” or create a Word file or PowerPoint presentation of contributions. Share these quotations at the end of class. Or make it simple: email with the collected contemplations to your students. Repeat this activity every week.
July — Remember a Great Being
Guru Purnima, celebrated on July 24 2021, is an auspicious day. On this day, one pays respect to a teacher or Guru. Support your students in reflecting on a Great Being.
In the first week, do a quick review of these previous Mandali experiences: identifying a hidden inner capacity; identifying practices that have sustained them during the pandemic; writing haikus about their yogic transformation; and choosing inspiring quotes from Gurudevi’s monthly teachings articles.
Next give your students the added internal support of remembering a Great Being who, for them, emulates transformation. Linger in the sweet thought of a Great Being’s presence. Let them know the practice refines their minds. It lays the foundation for the inner discovery of their own spiritual greatness. For more inspiration and guidance, refer them to Swami Nirmalananda’s Teachings Article: Think of a Great Being (July 2019).
During the rest of the month, at the end of each class, invite students to share their experiences of reflecting on their chosen Great Being during the previous week. Or they could share about their own internal shifts.
August — Friends Get a Free Class
How wonderful to share your yoga with friends and family! The support they get from a yoga class can be the gift that keeps on giving, to them and to you. Empower your students to share their yoga:
- When a student brings two guests to a single class, all three get the class for free.
- When a student brings one guest, their guest’s class is free.(Valid only for guests who are new students.)
September — Tangible Transformation
Describing transformation, Gurudevi Nirmalananda says, “You take on a new form. You have a new sense of self, more true to your own capital-S Self.”
Have some fun and show your students the tangible external transformations that occur with a yoga class.Take a photo of your students before they begin class (Zoom screenshot or in person), and an after-class photo.
Show the photos side by side. Ask students to identify the external changes they see. In discussion you can also help them identify internal shifts.
October — Shiva Masquerades as You!
Shiva loves taking on different forms and identities. Gurudevi often says, “Shiva is having fun being you, even when you are not having fun!”
Share Shiva’s masquerade with your students while they have some fun dressing up too! Pick a different way for your students to dress up each week. Suggest wearing their favorite (publicly appropriate, of course) pajamas, dressing in their favorite color, donning their favorite comfy tee-shirt (even a yoga tee) or even dressing in costume!
November — Oh! the Places We Will Go
Many yogis were able to take advantage of being outside and social distancing during the year. They may have been able to return to their favorite outdoor spots even without masks by now.
Have your students take photograph themselves or others in yoga poses outside. What about Vrkshasana (Tree Pose) next to a tree? Or Prasarita Padottanasana (Slow Motion Dive) seated on a park bench? On a hike, Kurmasana sitting on a slab of stone?
Smart phones have cameras, making photo-taking easy and portable. Encourage your students to email their photos to you. Celebrate your students' yoga out in the world with a wonderful photo display in your classroom or electronic display.
December —Generosity is a Yogic Quality
Gurudevi says, “Generosity has a tremendous effect on your body and mind. True generosity opens your heart and quiets your mind. The principles behind generosity are profound; the science of giving is a spiritual science.”
Encourage your students to practice generosity. Discuss how it feels to be generous financially, especially at this time of year. Ask if they would like to participate in a group giving experience. Your students might choose to give to their local Food Bank or adopt a family to gift with food and presents for the holiday season.
Or, if financially feasible, you could discount your class cost for the month and encourage your students to donate the money they saved to their favorite charity. Students could also choose to donate or volunteer time at their favorite charity. Track the acts of generosity using a graphic or some other visual display. Then at the end of the month, your students have a visual representation of their generosity.
While working with your body, Svaroopa® yoga opens up the full spectrum of your being. Spiritual insights and profound healings happen without any sweat. Slower yoga, consciously aligned and leveraged for multi-dimensional openings, means you get it all.