Residents 2005

Residency Program Agreement

Agreement for living at the
San Francisco Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center


The International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center was founded in 1963 by Swami Vishnu-Devananda to spread the teachings of classical Yoga and Vedanta to the maximum number of people. Here Yoga is not a matter of theory but rather a living experience of immersion in a Yogic environment, which is very beneficial for one’s spiritual progress. The integral Yoga teaching is offered through the practice of Swami Vishnu-Devananda’s 5 principles for Health and Peace of Mind, as well as through the 4 classical paths of Yoga

He summarized his mission in these words: “Health is Wealth, Peace of Mind is Happiness, Yoga Shows the Way."

Center Life and Schedule

The Yoga Immersion Program is available for serious Yoga students who wish to live in a peaceful and positive environment, under the guidance of experienced practioners. The student-resident is expected to try his or her best to follow the disciplines of Yogic life.

Obligations of
student-residents in a nutshell:
  • Attendance at morning satsang
    6 a.m. - 7:15a.m. (Mon-Sat)
    and Sunday evening 6 p.m.
  • Participation in at least 4 asana classes/week
  • Karma Yoga - Approx. 6 hours/week selfless service
  • Pay tuition on time

Spiritual Practices

You are encouraged to take part in the theoretical courses offered (Positive Thinking, Karma Yoga, Meditation, Bhakti Yoga, Vedanta, Hatha Yoga, scripture etc.) to enhance your practice and knowledge. All courses and classes are included in the residential donation (with the exception of those taught by guest teachers).

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga is selfless service, as well as a duty and a spiritual practice. It is an integral part of the spiritual discipline. It helps to open the heart and teaches how to live in a cooperative living environment. The student-resident is expected to perform his/her Karma Yoga chores (approximately 1 hour/day) in the right spirit, trying to give and to contribute as much as possible.

Life and General Schedule

5:30 a.m. Wakeup
6:00 - 7:15 a.m. Satsang (meditation, chanting, reading)
Breakfast (self service)  
12:00 p.m. Lunch (communal) and dishes
6 p.m. Satsang (Sunday only)
7 p.m. Dinner (Mon - Fri)
9:30 p.m. Arati - light waving ceremony (optional)
10:30 p.m. Lights out

Rules and Guidelines

Students must attend all satsangs, both morning (Mon-Sat) and Sunday evening. Permission to miss Satsang is granted only in the case of a specific emergency, weather or health considerations, as approved by the director. Meditation is the heart of spiritual life, and the spiritual core of the Center.

Students must attend at least 4 asana classes per week. These strengthen both body and mind, and lead to stillness for meditation.

Absolutely forbidden substances: all smoking materials, alcoholic beverages, drugs, and non-vegetarian food (including, without limitation: meat, fowl, fish, eggs, onions, garlic and mushrooms). These are not allowed on Sivananda Center property and are not to be consumed by students during the period of residency. One of the primary tenets of Yoga is ahimsa (non-violence) and student-residents represent the Center. Therefore they are expected to honor and maintain a vegetarian status both inside the Center as well as outside of it.

If a student or his/her guest breaks any rule, or in any other way breaches the spiritual foundations of this community, he/she must immediately leave the Sivananda Center without notice or refund if so ordered by the director. The student-resident is considered to be a member of the Yoga Center and thus a representative of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers in general. As such, if the director determines that the behavior of a student-resident is harming the Center’s ability to function in the best interests of its mission, he/she will be asked to leave without delay.

No weapons of any kind are allowed on the premises.

No rock music or any loud music is permitted in the Center. Chanting of classical bhajans (spiritual songs) is encouraged.

Dress in public areas must be simple and modest.

Guests of student-residents are not allowed to stay overnight without having some interest and participation in the Center's spiritual disciplines.

Staff and student-residents live together as a true family

Thus, gossiping or backbiting about other residents, staff or students is totally unacceptable and degrading to everyone concerned. Likewise, conversations held at meals and in front of guests should be of a positive or spiritual nature, remembering that student-residents are seen as representing the Center.

If a resident-student becomes disconcerted with living within the spiritual disciplines of the Center, he/she shall refrain from making negative comments to other students, staff or guests, and shall consider finding a more suitable environment to his/her taste.

None of the Center facilities, whether food, paper, telephone, office equipment, etc., is to be used without the specific permission of the director. The laundry machines (dryer and washer) are primarily for the Center’s use but are available for student-residents during off hours.

No key to the building is entrusted to the student except in special circumstances.

The lights-out time and door-locking is 10:30 pm. The student must be in at this time unless pre-arranged with the director.

The student-resident is responsible for his/her personal belongings and cannot hold the Center liable for damage or loss to them. The student-resident must be responsible for his/her own health insurance and pledges to report any restrictive or contagious disease to the Ashram’s director, who can decide if the student is eligible to stay.

Cleanliness: The student-resident is expected to treat the Center as his/her own home. He/she has the responsibility to clean and maintain a clean, sattvic atmosphere and to participate in the maintenance of the atmosphere in his/her personal space and in the common spaces such as kitchen, bathrooms, hallways, asana rooms, and meditation room.

If any disagreement arises about the interpretation or enforcement of these rules, the director’s understanding shall be ruled as authoritative.

Legal Status of “Student-Resident”

Upon acceptance, the student-resident becomes a licensee at the Center. This license to use the Center facility may be terminated at any time, without notice, at the discretion of the director. Student-residents are advised that acceptance does not give the student-resident exclusive use of any portion of the Center. The student-resident is not a tenant, and a legal landlord-tenant relationship is not intended by this agreement. The Center is a center for spiritual practice, as well as a center of higher education, and is exempt from the San Francisco tuition Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance. See 37 S.F. Admin. Code, Section 37.2(p)(3).

Application Process

Again, the Center is a center for spiritual practice, as well as a center of higher education. The enquiring applicant needs to understand that the Center is not a boarding house. The applicant should have the attitude of a yoga student, meaning a sincere desire for self-improvement and self-knowledge and willingness to follow the discipline of Yoga and meditation. A general prior understanding of Yoga is helpful. Please refer to the “Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga” or “Meditation and Mantras” by Swami Vishnu-devananda, or “The Sivananda Companion to Yoga” or any books written by Swami Sivananda.

Application Form

Please complete the attached application, making sure to include all requested information. Make sure to specify the duration of time you wish to stay and the exact dates of your proposed arrival. Call and schedule an interview with the director. Please have at least attended a Yoga class and Satsang (see schedule).

Donation for Immersion Course

Upon acceptance by the director, the student-resident is required to give a DEPOSIT EQUAL TO 1/2 MONTH'S tuition, guaranteeing his/her good intention to honor the rules of the Ashram. DEPOSITS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. This donation can be given back upon request at the end of the student-resident’s term of stay, provided that he/she is in good standing and that he/she has given at least ONE MONTH'S written notice of departure. Monthly tuition is $910-$1200 for a single room or $725 for a shared room.

The student-resident agrees to honor the requirements for his/her immersion course. Residents are required to have a day job, be students at an educational institution, or be involved in charitable work.

After an initial one month stay, with acceptance of director and community, one can continue living here on a month-to-month basis. We ask that in the first month two weeks' notice is given.

All tuitions are prepaid on the first day of the term and are NON-REFUNDABLE. There will be no refund if the student-resident decides to quit before the intended period of stay.

The undersigned has read all the rules and agreements herein and further agrees to be a student-resident in a Yoga immersion program of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center and Ashram.

Immersion course from ……………………. To ………………………….

Date:  ………………………………………………

Signature of Student:  ………………………………………………………………

Signature of Director: ……………………………………………………………..

Witnessed by: ……………………………………………………………………..