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Experiences of Serving as SYDA Foundation Staff

As SYDA Foundation staff at Shree Muktananda Ashram, I was able to contribute in a meaningful way to something I love and deeply value. I learned an immense amount - from how to run meetings to how I welcome people.

A number of years after serving in the ashram, I was sitting in a graduate school class on leadership. The professor was speaking about the various skill sets of a leader and how a leader thinks and acts. As I watched people furiously taking notes, I sat still, smiling. As a SYDA Foundation staff member, I had already learned the leadership skills the professor was speaking about—critical thinking, generosity, authentic caring for those around you, and efficient communication. These skills and qualities are part of the ashram culture.

A Siddha Yoga student from USA

I gained a greater respect for myself and others through my service at Shree Muktananda Ashram. I developed this virtue through the attention paid to details like how we clean our rooms, how we respect the atmosphere of the ashram by observing silence, and even how thoroughly we chew our food! As a staff member I learned how to develop overall goals for each seva project. This helped me to pay more attention to everything I was doing and why I was doing it.

In these and many other ways, I also learned to become more attuned to the energy in my own heart as a basic and fundamental approach to life.

I'm now much more aware of how my state influences my environment and my relationships, and I choose behaviors and relationships that are respectful to me and are energizing. All in all, this has resulted in a much smoother and richer experience of my life.

A Siddha Yoga student from USA

Following the ashram schedule was the most transformative aspect of my time in Shree Muktananda Ashram, as it turned me into a much more disciplined person. Before coming into the ashram, when I was in university, I had no proper time to wake up in the morning and subsequently missed classes and so forth. Living in the ashram transformed this for me. I became respectful of my time and other people’s time. This helped train my mind to be focused and not all over the place. I overcame laziness, became much more organized, and stopped taking things—and people—for granted.

After my time in the ashram, this newfound discipline truly helped me in overcoming fear and setting up my own business. I had to set goals and reach targets and, at the same time, make sure I maintained a good balance with my personal life. Without that discipline I wouldn’t have been able to do that so successfully.

A Siddha Yoga student from England