Swami Sivananda Radha (born in Germany in 1911 as Sylvia Demitz) was a student of Swami Sivananda Saraswati, and her dedication to promoting the well-being of people everywhere led her to create Yasodhara Ashram in Kootenay Bay, British Columbia, a spiritual center which still thrives to this day. Her establishment of a woman-focused lineage, The Saraswati Order, resulted in the ashram largely run by woman, with special attention to women’s issues and the understanding of the Divine Feminine. Swami Radha’s approach was to bring Westerners the teachings of yoga in a manner that was relatable and which cut away much of the complicated philosophy, terminology and practice that Indian yogis adhered to, allowing greater apprehension and benefit for a wider group of seekers.
Her chosen name “Radha” is in praise of Radha, the goddess of love, the main consort and devotee of Krishna. Radha existence was dedicated to love, compassion and undying devotion to the Divine, and she is never separated from her lover, their bonds of love are so strong. The virtues of the Divine Feminine , devotion to tenderness, nurturing, love and compassion are sorely lacking in our world today and it is a blessing that such teachings are available at Swami Radha’s ashram.
One of the most beloved of Swami Radha’s teachings was The Divine Light Invocation. It is simple, easily remembered and highly beneficial, particularly in times of darkness, doubt, fear or anxiety. Some people like to incorporate this into their Hatha yoga practice, but it is equally powerful for those who wish to recite the words at any time of need. You needn’t be a yoga practitioner to benefit from this healing invocation.
I am created by Divine Light I am sustained by Divine Light I am protected by Divine Light I am surrounded by Divine Light I am ever growing into Divine Light.
For more of Swami Radha’s teachings, I suggest the following books, both written by her, and which allow for greater understanding of her approach. She is an inspiration to women’s seekership everywhere, an advocate of wholesome, healthy living and the will to thrive.
Radha: Diary of a Woman’s Search
Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language
Also visit the website of Yasodhara Ashram for more information about the opportunities for spiritual development, study and retreat.