“Serve All” Community | Toronto, Canada

Swami Vishnudevananda’s mission was to spread peace around the world.  We strive to keep this mission alive year after year.  We are continuously supporting children’s orphanages, hospitals, and schools (gurukulas). We have supported medical camps in rural areas in southern India. Slowly we are working to bring Yoga into many community centres in Toronto.

We believe that with the support from all of you, we will be able to not only continue with this mission but to expand even further.

Here you will find a list of outreach programs organised by the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Toronto.

If you are interested in collaborating or supporting any of these programs please contact us directly at: [email protected]

Yoga classes and workshops have been conducted at the following organizations:

  • Toronto East General Hospital (Outpatient Youth Anxiety Clinic)
  • Sketch – Working Arts for Street-Involved and Homeless Youth
  • Robertson House – a shelter for homeless mothers with children
  • Hincks-Dellcrest Centre – a residential youth mental health center
  • Kennedy House Youth Center (secure custody, ongoing)
  • Birchmount Residence– shelter for homeless senior men

Collaboration with the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health. Here, we designed and are conducting ongoing research in
Integrative Cognitive Yoga Therapy” for children, youth, and families.

Yoga program at St. Joseph’s College School

Educational partnership with the Toronto District School Board:

Our goal for getting educational partnership was to be able to reach all children and youth within the school board, allowing us to arrange yoga classes with principals during school hours, when all children are present. This means we don’t only teach the few children whose families would sign them up for after school programs, but are able to expose to Swamiji’s and Master’s teaching to children and youth from all backgrounds, including those who normally would not have any knowledge or access to yoga. Our focus is on priority schools — those with fewer opportunities and services provided to them. Often these schools are located far from our Yoga Centre and we spend many hours travelling to and from these areas.

We teach classes based on our Centre courses, in six or eight sessions. Most of the schools don’t have yoga mats, so Sivananda Yoga Centre staff can be seen dragging bags of yoga mats through the town, school corridors , up and downstairs to classrooms and gyms, and arriving just in time to welcome classrooms of children, running through the door.

The class experiences varied; sometimes classes were taught in silence and with full attention, conveying a deep sense of peace and our teaching, as in our centers. Sometimes, our whole class plan was turned upside-down and we found ourselves teaching in unpredictable and unconventional ways: in gyms covered with spaghetti sauce from the lunch just finished; teachers hard to find or exasperated and tired; and children full of unsettled energy, or confused and mistrustful. We enjoyed it all as we knew what we wanted to convey and we knew that if we allowed Master and Swamiji to guide us, a connection would be created and the teaching would  flow.

Whether we finished the class with neatly prepared guidelines for home practice, or by sprinkling drops of lavender oil on those still restless, we felt inspired as we were planting seeds that helped us so much within our own lives.

We were moved by a lot of positive feedback received from the children. As one ten year old girl said:

“My mom was very upset when she came home yesterday. She was crying  because she didn’t know how she would pay rent. I didn’t know what to do but then I remembered that we were talking in our yoga class [about] what to do when we were  upset. I showed her some of my yoga and asked her to do our breaths with me. She didn’t feel like it but then did it because I really, really  wanted her to. She calmed down and almost fell asleep. I was very happy. Then we made dinner together.”

Some of the participating schools:

  • Stanley St. Public School
  • Driftwood Public School
  • Shoreham Public School
  • Melody Public School
  • Ledbury Public School
  • Central Toronto Academy
  • Carlton Village Public School
  • North Toronto High School
  • Secord Elementary School

Some local charities, representing a wide range of needs, which the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Toronto has raised funds for:

  • Doctors Without Borders (project Syria)
  • Shanti Girls Gurukulam at Trissur, India founded by Swami Tattwarupananda
  • Christmas drive for Christie Refugee Center
  • Swami Sivananda Rural Hospital, Kadavur, Madurai organized by Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Meenakshi Ashram, Madurai and Dr. V.
    Narayanasamy
  • Birchmount Residence – shelter for homeless senior men
  • Kennedy House Youth Center (secure custody, ongoing)

If you are interested in collaborating or supporting any of these programs please contact us directly at: [email protected]