18 Nov Celebrating the Birth Anniversary of a Yoga Legend- Shri Yogendraji
Celebrating the Birth Anniversary of a Yoga Legend- Shri Yogendraji (1897–1989)
The journey of an exemplary yogi and The Yoga Institute was not smooth, and there were many hurdles on the way to establishing the profound vision of an idyllic institute to help spread yoga awareness and education to the common man.
The great Yoga Guru Paramahamsa Madhavadasaji (1798 – 1921)
Paramahamsa Madhavadasaji, a realised divinity and a great yogi from Bengal. Madhavadasaji wandered around the country, India, eleven times on foot and then settled down near the river Narmada where he taught yoga; soon the village folks with great reverence began taking care of him and erected a house that later evolved as an Ashram. It was the beginning of the 20th Century when Paramahamsa Madhavadasaji, on a visit to Bombay for public talks (Pravacana) spotted Shri Yogendraji, then a 17-year-old young collegian. One look was enough, and it consecrated the Guru-Shishya bond. Thus, started the incredible journey of Shri Yogendraji and The Yoga Institute. Paramahamsa Madhavadasaji asked Shri Yogendraji to spread the message of yoga to the common people, i.e. the householders. He set out with a firm determination to serve humanity through yoga.
Outspoken and firm resolve were founder’s forte, on Christmas Day, 25th December 1918, The Yoga Institute was born at ‘The Sands’ the residence of Dadabhai Naoroji at Versova near Bombay where Yogendraji began sharing the secrets of Yoga among the common people. It was the first organised yoga centre to offer courses for free to men, women and children of any caste or creed.
Work was unending and in 1919, Shri Yogendraji founded The Yoga Institute of America on Bear Mountain, New York with the intent to dispel myths about Yoga and spread awareness.
When his father became ill he returned to India. Until His marriage in 1927, Shri Yogendraji toured the world, teaching yoga, treating patients and gathering manuscripts on Hatha Yoga. After his marriage to Smt Sitadevi, both set out to fulfil the mission of spreading yoga awareness amongst common householders. Shri Yogendraji considered his wife to be his equal and trained her personally in yoga. The first journal of The Yoga Institute, “YOGA,” was published in 1933 under the editorial leadership of Shri Yogendraji– the revolutionary journal continues to be published till date.
The Yoga Institute and the founder by now had attracted so much of attention across the globe, and in 1940 publications of Shri Yogendraji were microfilmed and preserved in the Crypt of Civilization to be read 6000 years later at Oglethorpe University, Georgia. History in the making and one of highest honours bestowed so that generations to come by will remember. An unusual yoga gift preserved.
The Yoga Institute moved at least 14 times before it founded its permanent base. After the international rendezvous back home in 1948 efforts of Shri Yogendraji paved the way for a permanent Yoga Ashram base in Santacruz and the Government of India prepared its first cultural documentary film on yoga under Shri Yogendraji’s supervision (1951). In that same year, UNESCO experts and Harvard scientists, Dr Theresa Brouse and Dr JB Millovanovich came to The Yoga Institute to conduct research under Shri Yogendraji’s guidance to study the effects of yoni mudra.
In 1957 the Central Government requested the Institute to conduct a survey for yoga in India. The following year, the government recognised the Yoga Institute as a unique training institute for yoga and research. Funding was allotted for scholarships for yoga teachers to be trained at the Institute and placed in schools across India. The following decades would see a continuation of research and publication on yoga’s history and its application as medicine.
The Yoga Institute launched the Medical Research Unit for research on psychosomatic and psychiatric diseases in 1970 with aid from the Central Council for Research in Indian Medicine and Homeopathy (now part of the Ministry of AYUSH). Yoga Institute Centers were established in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, South America, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, and the UK.
The Yoga Institute hosted the World Householder’s Yoga Conference in 1997 which was presided over by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Throughout the history of the Yoga Institute, scores of books have been published, as well as medical research projects, workshops, health camps and community outreach programs.
Work was non-stop at The Yoga Institute and yoga awareness, research and education were thriving under Shri Yogendraji guidance. Throughout the history of the Yoga Institute, scores of books have been published, as well as medical research projects, workshops, health camps and community outreach programs etc. The list is endless, and it all started with an extraordinary vision by Shri Yogendraji.
In 1989, the founder, Shri Yogendraji, left for his heavenly abode, leaving the care of the institute and his yoga legacy to his son, Dr Jayadeva Yogendra and Smt Hansaji Yogendra.
Safe to say that The Yoga Institute continues to grow from strength to strength and the dream of the Yoga legend Shri Yogendraji continues to live on.
A heartfelt tribute, Remembering Revolutionary Yoga legend Shri Yogendraji on the auspicious occasion of 120th Birth Anniversary. Join us at the celebratory event organised at The Yoga Institute, Santacruz on 19th November 2017 from 9.30 am to 10.30am.