Ashram rules and guidelines
In India, the tradition was for students to live, work and study with their teacher (gurukula system of education). An ashram provides a spiritual retreat to live and study under the guidance of a teacher. It provides a conducive environment for personal development and the pursuit of spiritual ideals.
Living in the Ashram is a unique opportunity to experience Yoga as a way of life. Yoga is not a religion, and it accommodates, freedom of faith and worship, for it holds that all religions are valid ways of worshipping the same divine principle.
The Ashram welcomes seekers of spirituality, peace and happiness from all over the world irrespective of caste, creed, sex, religion or nationality. Our daily schedule and programs are based on H.H. Swami Sivananda’s principle of the ‘Synthesis of Yoga’ and the practice of Yogic traditions and rituals as given by H.H Swami Vishnudevananda.
The spirit behind the discipline and rules are to ensure that the ashram integrity is maintained, enabling you to obtain maximum benefit from your spiritual practice. You are advised to become familiar with the following information before coming to the ashram.
For the purpose of these rules and guidelines, anyone who stays overnight at the Ashram is considered a guest, and anyone who visits the Ashram during the day is considered a visitor. The following rules and guidelines are summarised in three groups – activities, registration and culture.
(1) Activities (Daily Activities, Seva Service, Silence, Prayers, Pujas)
(2) Registration (Minimum Stay, Check-in/Check-out, Personal Belongings, Payment and Donations)
(3) Culture (prohibited items, books, hand, foot, shoes, dress-codes, male/female relations, temple)
All guests and visitors are required to register at reception upon arrival.
Check-in time is after 2pm and check-out is before 11am. Upon check out, please return keys & bedding to the reception and settle any outstanding bills.
All non-Indian guests must provide their original passport with valid VISA for India to cover the duration of their stay, and all India nationals must provide valid ID proof, at the time of check-in.
A minimum of 3-day stay is required for Yoga Sadhana Retreats, to get admitted. For all other specific courses, guests are required to attend the entire duration of each course. Guests have the option to stay additional days before or after each specific course.
Payments and Donations
Daily donation rates include accommodation, all classes and two meals per day. Daily donation rates are subject to change without notice. Guests are subject to the suggested donation in effect at the time of final payment.
The Indian concessional rate is not applicable for non-resident Indians (NRI), Indian nationals working or living abroad, foreign nationals working or living in India. All guests need to provide evidence of their residence or proof of nationality. Misrepresentation of information will result in liability to pay the full fee and/or dismissal from the course.
Refunds will not be given under any circumstances; however, a credit note may be issued. Credit notes are valid for one year from date of issue; they may be used for other courses or programs offered by SYVP. Credit notes can be used to purchase boutique items.
Smoking, alcohol, drugs, meat, fish, eggs, garlic and onions are not allowed in the Ashram. Pets are not allowed.
Guests and visitors are responsible for their own personal belongings. A safety deposit facility is available, upon request.
Please click here to find the general schedule of the ashram daily activities. The schedules may vary slightly depending on the courses. Please see the schedules of the courses in relevant course pages. Guests are required to attend all daily ashram activities. Any change from the general daily schedule will be communicated to all guests in due time. In the event that a guest cannot attend any scheduled event or require to leave the ashram premises, prior permission should be obtained from the Ashram Director.
Satsang is a Sanskrit word meaning gathering or coming together of seekers of truth. At the Ashram, Satsang is held daily both morning and evening. Satsang consists of approximately half an hour of silent meditation, plus half an hour of chanting and a talk or reading on some aspect of yoga philosophy. As a mark of respect for the teacher and self, guests and visitors are required to be on time and to remain for the duration of each program.
Seva – Selfless service
Seva is an integral part of the daily schedule and provides an opportunity for guests to participate in the upkeep of the ashram. Guests are required to offer up to one hour of Seva per day, this activity specifically purifies individual egos and helps to enhance the ashram atmosphere.
Prayers help to promote a feeling of humility and devotion. Prayers are usually in Sanskrit (Mantras) and chanted at the beginning and end of each class or ceremony. Before every class, we invoke the blessings of Lord Ganesa, to remove obstacles, Lord Subrahmanya for protection and Goddess Saraswati for knowledge. Finally, we salute our teachers (Guru-s). Guests are encouraged to chant along with the teachers.
Puja is one of the modes of Yoga. Puja is the act of showing reverence to a Deity (devata), or an aspect of the divine through invocations, prayers, songs, and rituals. An essential part of puja is for the devotee to make a spiritual connection with the divine. Most often that contact is facilitated through an object: such as a statue, a picture, an element of nature or other objects. Ladies are encouraged to avoid puja during their monthly period, as they are undergoing their own purification.
At the Ashram, two kinds of fire ceremonies are performed. A fire ceremony will purify the atmosphere and those in the vicinity. A simple ceremony known as arati is usually performed by Ashram teachers or staffs and elaborated fire ceremony, known as Homa or Havan, will be conducted by invited priests for specific occasions, such as the opening and closing of each course. Auspicious items are offered to the divine via the fire.
At the ashram, Arati is performed twice daily at the end of each morning and evening Satsang, as well as at the end of specific Horma ceremonies. A flame, symbolizing the light of knowledge, is waved before images of deities and teachers, while the Arati Mantra will be chanted. Traditionally, camphor is burned, as it does not leave any residue, which symbolizes that. ego vanishes without a trace when incinerated by the dawning of knowledge. When the light is presented to the Satang attendees, the attendees will pass their hands over or towards the flame and then raise their palms to their forehead as receiving a form of blessing. At the end of the ceremony, blessed food known as ‘Prasad’ will be offered to all.
One day per week, free time is given to guests for personal study and self-introspection, approximately between 11:00am and 5:30pm. The exact day will be communicated to the guests in due time. During this free time, typically between Seva duties and evening meals, guests are encouraged to engage in self-study, and may leave the Ashram with prior notices with the registration desk.
All books are symbolically associated with Saraswasti – the Indian divine goddess of learning and creativity. It is considered disrespectful to touch it with the feet, sit on books or use the books as pillow. Within the Ashram, guests are also recommended to use only books that encourages the Ashram teachings.
In India, as the left hand is generally used for personal hygiene, one should avoid using the left hand when interacting with others. At the Ashram, meals are served in the traditional manner by sitting on the floor and eating with the right hand. It is considered rude to offer anything, including to serve or to receive food with the left hand. Eat, give and receive (especially food and prasad) with only your right hand.
Shoes, and to a lesser degree, feet, have unclean associations. Both out-door and in-door shoes are not allowed in any of the ashram buildings, especially in places of worship and dining. Shoes should be left neatly in the spaces provided. Avoid pointing your feet at the altar, teacher or any person as this is considered disrespectful.
Guests dress code should be respectful of Indian culture and enhance the spiritual atmosphere of the Ashram. Observance of the Ashram dress code should be maintained at all times, including during asana classes. Both men and women should cover the shoulders, midriff and legs. Tight fitting, transparent and revealing clothing are not permitted in the ashram. Nudity is forbidden.
There are various temples near the Ashram that guests might want to visit during silence walks and weekly free time. Temples are places of worship and meditation. The sanctity of the temples should be maintained at all times. One should bathe and wear clean, modest clothing before entering the temple area, at least one’s hands, feet and face should be washed. Silence should be maintained as much as possible, avoiding unnecessary talk. Ladies are encouraged to avoid temple during their monthly period, as they are undergoing their own purification.
To respect the local culture and the ashram monastic tradition, restrain public expressions of affection such as hugging or kissing. As part of the spiritual disciple, guests are advised to observe celibacy (brahmacharya)while staying in the Ashram. Male and female dormitories are separated, where men are not allowed in the ladies’ dormitory and vice versa.
Guests are requested to observe silence during meals and between 10.00 pm and 7.00am daily. Lights out between 9.30pm and 5am daily.
For photography, video, and audio recording during classes and ceremonies, prior permission from the Ashram Director is required.
Please note :
Guests are reminded that ashram staff are mostly volunteers with varying experience who offer service as part of their spiritual discipline. Your understanding and patience are appreciated. We are happy to have the opportunity to serve and wish you a peaceful and rewarding stay.