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 support their relationship with you. Also very important, you build their relationships with each other as well as deepen their understanding of what their yoga means to them.
You are welcome to mix up the months if you prefer, or even to use a program from a prior year. It's all about what works for you and your students.
Thank you to Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain, Cayla (Mangala) Allen and Caroline (Nitya) Kutil for creating these wonderful plans in collaboration with Gurudevi Nirmalananda!
2023 Local Mandali Events
January: Choose a Word, Just One Word...
“Just one word will change your life. It takes only one word, as long as you commit to it and use it. Are you interested?”
(Just One Word, January 2005 Teachings Article- Click here)
For the new year, ask students to pick a single word that describes a yogic quality they’d like to cultivate throughout the coming year. In your introduction you can give examples: centered, grateful, patient, present, whatever words invoke a spiritual way of living. At the beginning of the second class ask students to share the word they chose and why. Compile a list of all the words they chose and send to your students.
Then each week check in with them to see how it is working. What new understandings have emerged from contemplating the qualities of their word and how is this showing up in their life?
February: Send a Valentine & Invite a Friend to Yoga
You may arrive to class feeling tired, stressed, in pain or unhappy. Yet when you finish the class, you are light, uplifted, optimistic, cheerful and friendly. It is just like Gurudevi says, “Bit by bit, as you continue yoga, you are lessening or becoming free from the habitual anxieties that everyone else lives in.” (It All Begins at Your Tailbone, February 2013)
Have your students make a list of friends who would really benefit from Svaroopa® yoga classes. They can introduce their friends to the wonders of this practice by sending them a Valentine inviting them to a free class. What a heartfelt gift to offer to someone you care about.
The Ashram is sending you heart shaped valentines with free class coupons to use. The student who gives it out is the one who signs it; their signature validates the gift and tells you who was the giver. Then you can thank the giver!
March: Hello, Collarbones!
Widen your collarbones. This is an easy way to help you “straighten up” when slumping. During your classes this month, incorporate Pawanmuktasana (Blade) into your lesson plans. This pose naturally widens your collarbones. It expands your breathing and improves your posture, giving you a positive outlook on life. Gurudevi explains:
When your collarbones are wide, your smile is wider and happens more often. Check it out in the mirror! Your collarbones determine the alignment of your shoulders, which determines how old you look to others. And with the extra breath, you have more energy and your heart is more open.
Encourage your students to notice their collarbones and widen them throughout their day. They are probably not even aware of how much they round over. By simply bringing awareness to this area, their spine will lengthen up. Ask them to report on how this gentle practice changes their breathing, mind and mood.
April: Where Do You Wear Your Head?
When your mind is racing into the future, you’ll find that your head is pushed forward. Pushing your head forward causes neck tension and compression around your heart. You end up in “Vulture Asana,” disconnected from your body and your heart. It all began at your tailbone, of course, but there’s hope!
Gurudevi describes it this way:
When you align your head with your spine, everything changes. You’re more fully embodied, living in the present moment. Your breath is easier, your heart is more open and you’re more blissful. You’re living your life with a whole new quality and presence of being. You are becoming your own Self.
All the work your students did with their collarbones last month helps them with this. Show them how to bring their head in line with their spine. Remind them to do it as many times a day as they can remember. It might be 100 or more! Have them share their findings with each other, and how much better they are feeling.
May: "You-jiavi" Challenge: It's All About You!
Ujjayi Pranayama is one of the most powerful practices we offer. Gurudevi says, “You discover the organic and natural expansiveness of your breath in a graceful and scientific way. Each additional minute of practice is worth more than the preceding minute.” (The Magic & Mystery of Ujjayi Pranayama, February 2007)
Encourage your students to do Ujjayi Pranayama as a home practice. They will increase their prana, the energy that keeps them alive. This breathing practice balances their immune system and resets their healing capacity.
Invite them to keep track of the number of minutes they do Ujjayi Pranayama every week. You post the results on an inspirational chart to display at each yoga class, even online. At the end of the month, you could offer a certificate, or a free class or therapy session or other gift to the student with the highest number of minutes.
June: Level Up
When you level your weight evenly through both sides of your body, your mind becomes grounded, quiet and clear. Each week, include a pose in your classes that gives your students the experience of “leveling up.”
For example, in Tadasana have them spread their weight evenly through both feet and legs. In seated poses, coach them to spread their weight evenly in both sitbones. Once they’ve had the experience of leveling up in class, encourage students to practice it during their day.
Assign them the homework of being aware of sitting more evenly through both sitbones or standing more level in both feet. Each week ask students to describe how they feel when they level up.
July: Go with the Flow
Going with the flow is an important life skill. Whenever you object to what is happening, your mind reacts, your spine tightens and you’ve lost your center. Yet life is always going in the right direction, even when you don’t understand it.
How do you participate without trying to control? You simply let go of your objections. If you let go of your objections, you can still care and act. But it will be out of love instead of fear and frustration.
Encourage your students to be aware of when they are objecting to whatever is going on. Offer them some yogic tools to “go with the flow.” They relax their body like a mini-Shavasana or do a few Ujjayi breaths. They can repeat mantra or say a prayer.
The point is to accept that whatever is going on IS reality. By not objecting, you will see things more clearly and maintain your yogic state, even while you make choices about how to respond. Ask for reports on how this is going at the beginning of your classes. Their reports will support and inspire one another.
(Note: photo is of Katy Perry's Sanskrit tattoo, meaning "Go with the Flow.")
August: Yoga On-the-Go
In the USA, many people travel in August. If your students aren’t in class, they miss out on what you are offering, so they won’t benefit from your Mandali activity. This activity is designed for you to share it with them even when they are away. Invite them to take their yoga with them when they travel or go on vacation.
FOR STUDENTS IN CLASS:
Include a “Yoga Bit” in every class. Emphasize that doing even a little bit of yoga while traveling or on vacation keeps you in your body, more present to yourself and others.
What can they do? The Magic Four, or 5 minutes of Ujjayi Pranayama, or a Lunge or two, or even remembering to pull in your abs makes a huge difference. In class, have everyone list how they plan to do yoga. If they are traveling, encourage them to pack at least a pair of blocks!
FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE AWAY:
Send them a short email to tell them a pose you’ll be teaching in the next week. Or you can share what other students have come up with for their “yoga on-the-go.” In this way they can inspire one another even if they are away from class. They’ll really appreciate hearing from you!
Our swamis will be sending a weekly email during August, with the “Pose of the Week.” This can inspire you to stay in touch with your students, both those who are out of town as well as those coming to class. It’s an easy way to keep them on track!
September: Contemplating Yoga's Teachings
Say a few words about the abundant resources available under “Freebies” on svaroopa.org. These include free daily E-Quotes, 2 blog sites, podcast audio discourses, YouTube videos, years of monthly teachings articles, a free mantra card, etc.
At the beginning of the month send your students a link to Gurudevi’s recent Teachings Article. Ask them to pick a sentence or two from the article and send it to you, adding what was meaningful to them about this quote.
You can read one of the quotes they picked and of comments in each of your weekly classes. At the end of the month put together a list of the quotes that they chose, along with their comments (anonymously). Send it out to your students.
October: The Lunge Plunge
How important is the Lunge? A Lunge gives your body and mind a quick reset. Just think how good you feel in class after opening your hip creases and lengthening the front of your thighs. Lunge also takes the crunch out of your low back, making standing and walking easier. Lengthening your torso opens your breathing, improves balance and relieves anxiety.
Have your students take the “Lunge Plunge.” Suggest 1 a day to start. Have them make a calendar to keep track of their commitment. They can share their progress at the beginning of class. At the end of the month, the student with the biggest tally gets a certificate, or a free private session or other prize of your choice.
Practicing yoga makes you feel alive and full inside. As Gurudevi reminds us,
You are not empty, waiting to be filled up by others. When you know your own Self, your heart is always filled from within. Then your life is a divine gift, both a gift to you as well as a gift to others, for you operate from the overflowing bounty that is ever arising inside.
(Being a Role Model, September 2016- Click here)
Yoga gives them the fullness. Ask them how they can bring that overflowing feeling into the world. Offer suggestions, like giving donations or volunteering their time to an organization that has meaning for them, or even by helping a friend. Ask students to report on their experiences of giving, how it manifested for them and how it felt.
NEW ADDITION: The Ashram is offering a class for Svaroopa® yoga teachers in honor of Gurudevi’s birthday and accepting donations to the Ashram in her honor as well. As a teacher, you might consider doing the same thing. Or, you could offer the proceeds of one of your November classes as a donation to the Ashram.
December: Taking Note
In every class, there is something you say that has meaning for your students. Different students pick different things, but everyone is inspired. Perhaps it’s the opening contemplation after Shavasana, or a tip you gave in one of the poses. Maybe they have an awareness during a pose that gives them a mini breakthrough. Then class is over, and they have forgotten!
This month encourage your students to bring pen and notebook to class. In each class ask them to write down just one thing that stood out — only one. Writing it down is a way they can imprint that new awareness in their mind. At the end of class, have them share what they wrote down. This is a way to build community and integrate yogic teachings into their lives.
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.