60TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center
60th Anniversary Celebrations June 30 – July 4, 2017
It has been an amazing 60 years since Swami Vishnudevananda headed west from the Rishikesh Divine Life Society Ashram under the direct guidance of his guru Swami Sivananda. It is a different world from the one in 1957, both by grace of the balancing effects of the Yoga renaissance and in spite of it. Swami Vishnudevananda came to the West fueled by his faith in the prophetic words of his Master: “Bring Yoga to the West, people are waiting.” Yoga and Vedanta have been a force for peace, through the vision of “Unity in Diversity”. Yoga has been a force of peace by offering the disciplined, courageous, yet humble and effective option of non-violent resistance to the evil excesses of power, privilege and empire. It has offered the purifying discipline of karma yoga, as skill in action, asking the important questions of “Who am I?” and “How can I help?” Yoga has reached our cultural icons such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and The Beatles, as well as political leaders who have gleaned some peace, balance and wisdom from the teachings and practice. Yet, most importantly, Yoga has offered a true “counter-culture” of not only peace and love, but also personal discipline and responsibility for generations of common practitioners, who have collectively made Yoga not only a household word, but also an alternative to war and a stabilizing force in a civilization terribly out of balance.
Yoga is the option of peace. Peace is a learned skill to be practiced every day using the vast toolbox of Yoga to find health and balance of body, mind and spirit, but also in all of our relationships. Moreover, the gift of the Guru is a light of truth and compassion that offers a focus to step outside of vain ego. The practice of yoga cultivates a Universal perspective of the sacredness of life and become part of the solution rather than fighting to impose our vain “truth” onto others. It is the path of inner peace, which leads to outer peace. The more empowered and connected, the more we care and the more likely we can and will treat all life as sacred and thereby do positive actions.
Health is balance and dharma. Yoga develops the discrimination between the “Good” and the “Pleasant”. Pain and disease thus become teachers, feedback, along with that of health and vitality that show the way of Dharma. Bhoga, Roga and Yoga: the knowledge of yoga shows that Bhoga (enjoyment) leads to Roga (disease) which brings us to Yoga (the practice of health, balance and sustainable happiness).
Sixty years ago, in 1957, Swami Sivananda sent Swami Vishnudevananda to the West with the words, “People are waiting”. From the perspective of an Indian swami, the people of the west had everything – everything, that is, except health, peace of mind and happiness. He found that given the healthy alternative of Yoga that we embraced the discipline and were hungry for knowledge. With his own passion to serve, his disciplined practice, along with the enthusiastic response of his students, Swami Vishnudevananda went on to build the world-wide International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, with centers, ashrams, and teachers around the world.
On the July 4th holiday weekend (June 30 – July 4), the New York Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers will be celebrating the 60th Anniversary with several Sivananda Acharyas, (Swami Swaroopananda, Srinivasan and Prahlada) along with other direct disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch. We will share stories and inspiration from our time with the yoga master who inspired this international movement and all of the volunteers that have carried on the great work and continue to train and inspire new generations of yogis and yoga teachers.
Ken Whiteley, who is a soulful musician with an inspired yoga practice that shines through his music will be leading hindu chants and christian gospel music to brighten the celebrations. Shyam and Mohini, seasoned teachers and directors of our Ft. Lauderdale Yoga Warehouse will be leading asana workshops. We also expect appearances from other direct students of Swami Vishnudevananda sharing their stories and yoga inspired journeys. We hope you will join us for this historic celebration and reunion for all Sivananda teachers and students.
Om and Prem, Srinivasan