Grass Valley, California, USA
Swami Vishnu-devananda (1927-1993) was an accomplished yogi from India sent by his guru (Swami Sivananda — a modern day Himalayan saint and author of over 300 books) to North America in 1957 to spread the methods and teachings of Yoga.
After his arrival in San Francisco, he traveled to the East Coast and Canada where he laid the foundation for Classical Yoga teachings with the international Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center (SYVC).
Since his arrival to the West, the SYVC organization now comprises of eight ashrams, over twenty centers and has trained over 47,000 Yoga teachers.
These teachings have spread throughout the Americas, Europe and India and the organization has become “One of the world’s largest schools of Yoga.” (Time Magazine, April 23, 2001.)
The Birth of the Yoga Farm
In 1971, Swami Vishnu-devananda returned to California and founded the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm on 40 acres of land located in the Gold Country of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Foothills.
He chose the land not far from San Francisco and Sacramento. on the highways to the Sierra Mountains, Lake Tahoe and Reno Nevada as a retreat place for an alternative way of relaxation and of recharging ourselves in our modern stressful life.
The picturesque landscape and tranquility draws people from all walks of life. The ashram has purchased throughout the years an additional 40 acres of private land adjacent to the original 40 acres and has become a real refuge not only of worn-out city dwellers but also to native species.
26 kinds of birds, 7 kinds of mammals, especially mule deers , lots of frogs and 12 kinds of “special status wild life species”, and hundreds of different species of plants call the Yoga Farm property their home (as per biological research report Jan. 2004).
The “Yoga Farm” as Swami Vishnu-devananda nicknamed it, remained his favorite place for personal retreat and is where he wrote the significant book, Meditation and Mantra’.
Swami Vishnu’s Legacy Continues
For almost 20 years the ashram has remained in its original state, a farm house and pond surrounded by rolling hills, majestic oaks and saturated with the songs of wildlife.
Yoga has now entered the mainstream being taught in schools, work places and its benefits are more widely known. Time Magazine quotes that there are 15 millions of Americans (Time Magazine, April 2001.) practicing Yoga.
Their cover stories on Yoga, meditation and healthy diet brought out public awareness of time tested alternatives to health and peace of mind. (Tune Magazine, January and Aug. 4, 2003).
Classical yoga recognizes the total person as a body-mind-spirit system and is presented in a simple fire points system as taught by Swami Vishnu-devananda and the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers since 1959: Proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet, positive thinking and meditation.
Adapting these points into daily life will help one discover their full potential physically, mentally and spiritually. Yoga practitioners become more and more aware of the deeper and subtler aspects of classical yogic teachings, and seek a retreat where they can practice and further educate themselves.
The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm responds to this need by keeping a pure atmosphere where people can come and find their Divine Self. It is a spiritual, non-sectarian, non-profit organization completely run by dedicated Yoga teachers who continue to teach selflessly — as their predecessors yogis have done in the past – this original, integral system of a complete Yogic lifestyle on a daily basis.
Keeping Up with the Modern Demand for Yoga
The ashram has been continually renovated over the past 25 years to better accommodate the demand for Yoga, meditation and immersion in Nature. The accommodations – cabins on the hills – are simple and comfortable, keeping to the spirit of “simple living, high thinking”.
The vegetarian meals are fantastic. The Yoga classes are for beginners and advanced, offered indoors and outdoors depending on the weather. The daily chants and satsangs inspire and soothe the soul. Many courses, workshops and intensives with celebrated teachers are offered year around.
After over 40 years of service, the Yoga Farm needs your help. The permit for maximum population capacity on the land needs an upgrade to allow the Ashram to grow into a facility that meets the pressing needs of our time.
If you have not done so already, please tap the button below and sign the petition to support the Yoga Farm’s expansion so that more people can be served through the mission of peace, Yoga and Self-realization.
Over 640 petitions have already been signed and we envision 3000 supporting voices by the end of 2019. We believe at least 3000 signed petitions will show enough support for a significant occupancy upgrade for 25 more years to come.
Swami Sitaramananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda and acharya of the US West Coast centers and Ashram. View Profile>