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The Yoga News - our very first issue! (July, 2008)
June 30, 2008

Yoga News-July08
International Yogalayam
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July 01, 2008
The Yoga News

IYA-members Yoga News ...
India Bends Toward
Yoga Regulation

With the formation of the Indian Yoga Association, yogis across the major yoga traditions in India have finally dove into the perilous waters of regulating the training and practice of yoga…
Jill-Bolte-Taylor Yoga Feature ...
From Neurons to Nirvana
How a neurobiologist had the rare opportunity to study herself, from the inside out.
ganga-dussehra Yoga Festival...
Ganga Dussehra
The descent of  Mother Ganga

India Bends Toward Yoga Regulation
The formation of the Indian Yoga Association signals recognition of the need to create global standards in yoga education.
By: Yogacharya

After years of consultation with eminent yoga experts, India’s Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddhi and Homeopathy (AYUSH), along with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has overseen the establishment of the Indian Yoga Association (IYA), a self-regulatory body responsible for establishing standards for accrediting yoga institutions, yoga curriculums and yoga therapy.

This recent development in India signals the first official government sanctioning of efforts to regulate the tradition of yoga, and it is appropriate that India, the motherland of yoga, and the Indian government, which has become increasingly aware of the need to protect and preserve its cultural heritage, should take this historical initiative and lay a much needed foundation for establishing a credible standard of yoga education and practice. 

Perhaps more importantly, it is also the first time that representatives from all the major lineages of yoga across India have come together in search of a common regulatory goal.

This news, however, may not bode so well with yogis around the world. Many practitioners and teachers of yoga might wonder just what this means for yoga, their current status as teachers and institutions, and their various yoga practices. It may be too early to tell, but the IYA is already feeling pressure by those who feel that their approach to yoga may be compromised by any standardization.

As Smt. Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, Acharya of Ananda Ashram in Pondicherry, India says; “No one can argue that the wild mushrooming of Yoga Institutes and Yoga schools and the rapid proliferation of so-called Yoga Teachers is truly alarming… Clearly, some regularization, standardization, clarification, and accreditation is the need of the hour.”

How to do this will certainly be a challenge. The word ‘yoga’ today has taken on many new and often strange associations. There is much debate, even in India, over what this ancient science is all about and what it holds in store for those who engage in it.

First, and perhaps foremost, will be the task of defining the term yoga. The measurement of the quality of yoga teachings will also another hot topic of debate. As Dr. KD Sharma, former director of the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, states: “Those concerned with ensuring quality yoga education are well aware of the difficulties of assessing and regulating this subject. [Yoga] is not physical education… and hence, its value cannot be assessed by normal academic measures. It is an Indian art and science, not a foreign concept of physical training, and cannot be measured by the foreign [Western] standards of education.”

The board members of the Indian Yoga Association must also grapple with the relevance of the age-old guru-chela (teacher-student) relationship, as well as the significance of the paramparai (yoga lineage) tradition, both of which have always been an integral part of yoga’s foundation but have become increasingly discounted by the modern approach to yoga and its teaching. So has the relevance of the very culture from which the teachings of yoga have sprung. These issues and their significance to the future of yoga are no small matters to consider.

Anyone who has ever been to India knows that the wheels of Indian bureaucracy turn slowly. With much at stake, and under the direction of a group of eminent masters who have dedicated their lives to the preservation and propagation of this ancient science of life, these decisions are not likely to come easily, nor quickly.

The Founding Members of the IYA are:
Dr. B.K. S. Iyengar (Pune); Shri. O.P. Tiwari (Kaivalyadhama, Lonavala); Dr. H.R. Nagendra (VYASA, Banglore); Dr. S.P. Mishra (Haridwar), Smt. Hansa Jayadev (Yoga Institute, Mumbai); Shri. S. Shridharan (Krishnamacharya Yoga Institute, Chennai); Smt. Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani (ICYER, Puducherry); Shri. Shrdhalu Ranade (Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry); Dr. Swami Ananta Bharti (Swami Rama Ashram, Delhi); Dr. K.Krishna Bhat (Manglore University, Manglore); Dr. Ishwar Bharadwaj (Haridwar); Dr. M.Venkanta Reddy (Hydrabad); Swami Mangaltirtham (Bihar School of Yoga, Munger); Dr. Swami Shankaranandaji (Munger); Swami Dharmanand (Delhi); Dr. Anil Singhal (Himalayan Institute of Yoga, Deheradun)

About the Author:
Yogacharya is the director of
International Yogalayam,

Got an opinion?  Send us Your Comments ...

From Neurons to Nirvana
A scientific experience of cosmic proportions

On Dec. 10, 1996, Jill Taylor woke up to a pounding pain behind her left eye, what she described as “the kind of caustic pain you get when you bite into ice-cream.“  Gradually, over the next four hours, she watched as, one by one, her brain functions, speech, movement and comprehension began to leave her. She had suffered a stroke.

Each year, nearly three-quarter of a million people suffer a stroke in North America alone. What was unique about Jill Taylor is not that she was and still is a renowned neurobiologist, whose life is dedicated to the study of the human brain, but it is the profound experience that it left her with, and the change it has made in her life and her work.

It took eight years for her to “fully recover”, as she puts it, and in February, 2008 she recounted her experience in an eighteen-minute lecture at the cutting-edge TEDtalks conference in Monterey, California.

In that presentation, Taylor presents herself at the opening as the quintessential neuroscientist, giving a brief but rather academic overview of the hemispheres of the brain and the scientific classifications of their various neurological functions.

It’s not until she treads into the depths of her personal experience that the transformative weight of that life-changing morning is revealed. What she proceeds to narrate is a tale of experience that is both heart-warming and though-provoking. The yogi would easily recognize her sensation of the dissolution of her ego-self into the expansive state of universal one-ness. As she describes it, “I found nirvana. I remember thinking that there is no way that I can squeeze the enormousness of myself back inside this tiny little body.”

Perhaps the full scope of it all was not truly absorbed by the hundreds of people, scientists, media personalities and folks from all walks of life who listened intently with reserve while she showered them with the profound emotion of her experience.

That’s no surprise. After all, what she was attempting to illustrate is an experience that, by its very nature, defies description. An incident that some of a purely scientific bent may no doubt attribute solely to the firing or misfiring of neurons and other biological processes, but an experience that the yogis would certainly appreciate as something much more… one that few today can appreciate or even approximate… what Taylor herself describes as a “tremendous gift”.

In the end, she speaks the profound truth that lies at the very heart of the practice of yoga: “I realized that if I have found nirvana, then anyone who is alive can find nirvana… I pictured a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, loving, compassionate people who know that they could come to this space at any time, and that they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemispheres and find this peace.”

To watch the full 18 minute lecture, click here…

About the Author:
Yogacharya is the director of
International Yogalayam,

Got an opinion?  Send us Your Comments ...

Ganga Dussehra
The descent of Mother Ganga

On the tenth day of the bright half of the month of Jyeshta, this year falling on June 13, an important festival, known as Ganga Dussehra occurs in Northern India. It celebrates the descent of the holy Ganga River down to the parched earth.

Each year at this time, big Melas, a Sanskrit word meaning 'gathering', are held at important centres along the banks of the river. Here, hundreds of thousands of people throng the ghats to bathe in the waters known as the river of India, and wash away their sins.

The Ganga, largest of the rivers in India, has been sacred since ancient times. She is seen as the mother who washes away all the sins of mankind, and has been venerated in India through countless generations. Today, she remains a potent symbol of life and salvation, representative of both the intimate connection between mankind and nature, as well as the vital thread of life upon which humanity’s very existence depends.

The Story of the Ganges: 

Long ago there was a king named Sagar who, aspiring for Indra-hood (king of all the Gods), performed one hundred Asvamedha (horse) sacrifices. But in fear of being dethroned, the great God Indra stole the hundredth sacrificial horse and left it within the premises of the reclusive Rishi Kapila.

All the sixty thousand sons of Sagara went out after the horse. When they found it, they mistook Kapila for a thief and attempted to destroy him, whereby they were cursed by the great sage and burnt to ashes. Kapila then claimed that “they would be renewed only if the water of the Ganga flows over this land”.

Sagar’s grandson Anshuman tried but did not succeed in bringing down the Ganga to earth. Then his son Dilip tried, but also without success. Finally his son Bhagirath, after performing severe austerities, managed to please Mother Ganga.

She appeared before him, but told him to seek the help of Lord Shiva to help check her flow, as otherwise the whole earth would be submerged in her torrential waters.

Again performing rigorous penance, Bhagirath pleased Lord Shiva who then received the deluge of Mother Ganga in his matted locks and let her drip over him and spill gently to the earthly planes.

WebSite News

The first half of 2008 has been a busy one at International Yogalayam. For starters, we’ve completely re-designed our website, a monumental task that remains a work in progress. We took our first foray into video production in the spring too, adding another dimension to our groundbreaking yoga e-course, which is now available on our website.

And of course, you’re reading the inaugural edition of The Yoga News, our new monthly Yoga E-zine, which features current yoga news and yoga special interest pieces, while also providing a platform for all you yogis to promote your upcoming yoga-related events.

Advertise for FREE in The Yoga News!
While we are still building our readership, we're offering you a great opportunity to place your yoga-related advertisements ABSOLUTELY FREE in The Yoga News. Please review our media kit for ad specs and submission proceedures.

3-Weeks of Yoga goes live!
Continuing to work on merging modern technology with ancient wisdom, we’re happy to announce the addition of 3 Weeks of Yoga, a 21-day introductory yoga E-COURSE, to our yoga training programs. For more information, visit our Yoga Training Center.

The Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali - Home Study Program is now under revision and should be available again this fall, along with the much-awaited Language of Yoga, a comprehensive Yoga/Sanskrit reference manual, as well as The Power of Thought, an exploration of the powerful potential of the mind.

Visit our Yoga Training Center for more information on all of our programs and yoga resources.

In This Issue
India to Regulate Yoga
From Neurons to Nirvana
Ganga Dussehra
yoga classified ads
this month's poll
site news and updates


Yoga Classifieds

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Blissed To The Core - Greece, 11-18 July
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Banyan Botanicals
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Contact: Poornima Sharma
Tel Number:
(503) 296-6656

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