Spiritual and religious retreats
Many spiritual programs are constantly going on in the ashram. As an example, in the month of September 2012 a group came from Japan under the guidance of Ginnen. Fifteen people stayed in the ashram and benefitted from meditation classes with Swami Anand from thiruvannamalai, as well as spiritual lessons on the yogavasisht from Premananda swami. Just before their arrival a group yoga retreat had been led by international vishnudevananda yogacharya sri gajanan ji. After these two foreign retreats there was a week-long Bhagavat Parayan program for a south Indian group of 45 people led by a famous spiritual traditional story-teller called Venmani Krishnan Namboothirippad from Kerala. The group enjoyed the ashram atmosphere, celestial Ganga River, and sacred atmosphere of Uttarkashi. This tradition has been going on for thousands of years in India where the master will take his whole group of disciples to some sacred spot like the Himalayan mountains or the Ganga banks, camping there for several or weeks for spiritual retreats. In this case 45 people with a monk and two acharyas (teachers) travelled a distance of 3500 kilometers from the most southern Kerala to the most northern Gangotri (Uttarkashi) for a seven day spiritual retreat.
The ashram provides a platform for these activities and offers its support - guidance, information, communication facilities like internet, ashram vehicles, and priests for worshipping ceremonies, accommodation and a kitchen for cooking and eating, as well as medical help if needed. Thus the Sivanandashram of Ganeshpur is a perfect platform for religious or yoga retreats, for groups from southern or western India.
One of the largest programs conducted in the ashram was the Bhagavad –Saptah, led by the famous Indian story-teller (vyasji) Parashar, from Vrindavan. Two buses full of devotees came from Delhi to attending. Around 350 people were attending the program every day. For eight days the ashram was filled with colorful activities. The ashram provided all of them with food and shelter, with the cooperation of nearby hotels and guest houses. The swamis of Ganeshpur came to help Swami Premananda. Among them, Swami Ramswaroopananda is a major support for these types of programs. He was a major disciple of swami Chidananda and has been living in the Ganeshpur area for 30 years. Swami Chetan also comes and gives his useful service on such occasions. Swami Gangananda who has been residing in Ganeshpur for 45 years in isolation also provides valuable advice on such occasions.