Satchidananda Ashram–Yogaville, the internationally known ashram founded by Swami Satchidananda in Buckingham, Virginia, is celebrating 50 years of Integral Yoga this summer. Swami Satchidananda founded the Integral Yoga Institute in New York City in 1966, making yoga more accessible and helping to launch and shape the modern yoga movement. A sound and well-nourished mind, body and soul are the goal of an Integral Yoga practice, which includes meditation, hatha yoga and a vegetarian diet. In 1979, the Ashram was built to help further the teachings of Integral Yoga.
In celebration of 50 years of Integral Yoga, the Ashram will host IY-50, a series of programs and events from July 15 through 17, followed by a week of special conferences. One highlight includes an evening homa (fire ceremony) to honor the 25th anniversary of the Lord Siva Nataraja Shrine at Kailash on the grounds. Special guest Sri Swami Marudhachalam, junior pontiff at Perur Ashram and pontiff at the Dhakshinamoorthy Ashram in India, will lead this event to kick off the weekend festivities. Other events include hatha yoga practices, chanting, lectures, ceremonies and presentations centered around compassion.
Preventative health and wellness expert and cardiologist Dr. Dean Ornish, who uses Integral Yoga as a basis for his popular programs, will offer a special video message for IY-50 attendees. He says he likes this style of yoga because it favors a calm, meditative approach, and chose it because of its valuable techniques for reducing stress, a major risk factor in heart disease.
With rich and varied programming, many popular experts such as yoga master Erich Schiffman and author Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. have presented at Yogaville. The Ashram has space to host more than 200 visitors at a time and welcomes over 10, 000 guests each year. “Some people come here for a program to reset their path to a better way, ” says Ram Wiener, vice president of programs and business. “Others want the lifestyle of clean living and spiritual growth, and end up taking up residence here.” Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Peter Max, Carole King and Liev Schreiber ascribe to the teachings of Integral Yoga or have visited Satchidananda Ashram in the past.
A simple mantra to serve all, do good and be good resonates every day at the Ashram. This year, IY-50 provides a special opportunity to reaffirm this uncomplicated, peaceful and loving approach to living well. Regarding the next 50 years, Wiener says, “We have one purpose, and that is to serve. Things will evolve from there.” Whether a guest comes for a day, a weekend or a lifetime, Yogaville provides a place for seekers of purpose and peace and a life of growth and union.
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