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Ananda Kutir Ashrama

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Children of Light School and Ananda Kutir Ashrama

The idea for the formation of the Children of Light School was borne out of the support of children, parents, teachers and facilitators  of the ‘Children’s Integral Yoga Programme’ at Ananda Kutir Ashrama.

The name ‘Ananda Kutir’ was derived from the name of the cottage in which Swami Sivananda lived in Rishikesh, India. Ananda means ‘Bliss’ and Kutir means ‘Cottage’. It is therefore the ‘Cottage of Bliss’.

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Mother Yogeshwari and Swami Parvathiananda standing alongside the Sivananda Pillar at the Ananda Kutir Ashrama

Ashrama is a Place of Peace. It is a home for all people to learn about themselves, to learn the Truth and to find love in their hearts.

When Swami Venkatesananda visited Cape Town, South Africa, he inspired many people to practise the teachings of Integral Yoga. In 1982, Mother Yogeshwari, Swami Parvathiananda and many other special devotees of Swami Venkatesananda started the Ananda Kutir Ashrama.

Mother Yogeshwari shares her perspective on parenthood and education:

Swami Venkatesananda used  to  say that  the mother  was  the first Guru. She  is  his/her  first  teacher.  She is, or should be, the one  who tends to  the baby and child and  teaches basic knowledge, which includes moral standards as well as  general knowledge.  This may be a thing  of  the past. But  it is the ideal  start for a balanced, happy personality. There are  instances when  the  mother is the bread winner and  the father stays  home  and  takes  over the motherly  duties.  If  both parents  are happy  with  this arrangement, it works  out  well. Other times, there  is  a loving  granny to look  after  them.  This  is  often very  good  as  the  granny has developed  wisdom as  well  as  having  experience.

A child’s  education then begins by following  the  example  of  the parents. Going  for   walks with the parent or parents  is  important. An awareness  of  nature and the  importance  of treating  animals  kindly and  having  respect  for  the environment.

Singing beautiful  songs  to  a  child  at bedtime has  lasting  effects as well  as reading  to  them.  The  choice of  reading matter  should  be educational. As early  as possible the  parent  should take the child to a library so that he or she will  develop a love  of  books. Children  who  love  reading are very  easy  to  teach and  have  a  good  grounding for almost  any subject. A father or mother should play games  with  the child  or  children, not  only sporting games, but board games and educational  ones.  As  they grow  older games like Scrabble. A weekly outing is important when the whole family are together. Meals  should  be with the family,  at least  once  a  day when they  can  share  their  experiences. When  a  child  comes home  from school,  there should be a parent  or  grandparent at home to  greet  them  and  to whom  the child can confide. So  parents  should  take responsibility  for their offspring  and not leave it to overworked school teachers!  There should  be communication between the teacher and  parents.

Love of God and awareness of God is  the most important knowledge to impart. Regular prayer should be encouraged and the best form of teaching is by example.


 

Swami Parvathiananda shares Three Spiritual lessons for children based on the Vedas:

  1. Every day appreciate, love and care for your parents, brothers, sisters and extended family. Learn to show it by really just enjoying their company. Do little things to help them.
  2. Every day, give a little help to animals in your life by simply being kind and caring. Never hurt an animal deliberately. Feed them if you can.
  3. Do something daily to care for Mother Earth, our living planet, by taking some responsibility for your environment. Plant flowers, trees and vegetables and water them. Practise recycling and taking care of the forests and mountains.
Ananda Kutir Ashrama Children’s Integral Yoga Programme

‘True education must impart initiation into the divine life, because, ultimately, its aim is to draw out the dormant divinity hidden within each human being.” – Swami Sivananda

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Children delivering sandwiches to Leliebloem Home

In August 2011 a group of parents who have been attending the Ananda Kutir Ashrama’s programme and have gained immense benefits from participating in Integral Yoga activities got together to initiate a children’s yoga programme. This programme takes place once a month, with an average of 25 children from various faiths attending on a regular basis. The parents are very actively involved in the planning and running of the day activities.

Yoga teachers who have been trained by Swami Parvathiananda and Mother Yogeshwari offer their time as seva to facilitate sessions. This programme has a very positive effect on children and their families.

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Making aromatherapy playdough at a family camp

These are some of the children’s comments on the Children’s Yoga Day activities:

Sanoshin, 8 years old says: “I enjoy gardening and making sandwiches for the children. I enjoy giving.”

Dorje (7 years old) said the following to his mother: “You know mum, when I did yoga this morning I felt peace and love that I have never felt before. I think it’s God.”

Ananda Kutir Ashrama offers Integral Yoga, which combines all the Yogas:
  • Hatha Yoga: purification of body through asanas, pranayama and mudras
  • Raja Yoga: purification through mind/awareness training
  • Meditation: purification through dharana, dhyana and samadhi
  • Bhakti Yoga: purification through the Compassion of a Loving Heart
  • Karma Yoga: purification through Selfless Service
  • Jnana Yoga: purification through contemplation of Scriptures

For more information, visit http://www.anandakutir.org.za

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