The House of Lords in London, the United Nations headquarters in New York City and the World Economic Forum are hardly the places one might expect to find a yoga mat.
However, Sadhguru—the yogi and humanitarian behind the Isha Foundation and isha yoga—has presented his teachings in each of those political arenas, and this weekend, his teachings come to Chattanooga.
Members of the Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences in McMinnville, Tenn.—all of whom are volunteers at the center—will hold a workshop and community event this Saturday, Jan. 12, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Homespun in Warehouse Row.
The schedule of music, meditation and food is part of the Isha Utsav event and will serve as an introduction to a yoga practice known worldwide but unfamiliar to many in the Scenic City—despite being located a little more than an hour away.
“The mission [of the Isha Foundation] is raising consciousness and creating more inclusivity, whether it's through business, politics, economics or social structures,” said Kathy Campbell, outreach volunteer for the Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences. “The basis of the yoga meditation training has been so valuable in terms of helping people refocus and deal with stress.”
The Isha Foundation serves as the originator and the umbrella organization for global and local environmental, educational, and health care philanthropic projects, in addition to the multiple retreat centers across the world.
At the core is the practice of inner engineering, the teachings developed by Sadhguru. The guru has been a beloved leader for more than 25 years and is now shifting his attention more toward the U.S.
Inner engineering involves a mix of the more familiar "asanas," or yoga poses, followed by breathing, meditating and sitting techniques that Campbell explained have “genuine depth” and, thus, genuine ability to improve memory and concentration and reduce levels of anxiety—something that everyone from retirees to world and business leaders have been interested in.
“The workshop will basically focus on mindful living—what it is to eat mindfully, what it is to practice yoga mindfully,” said Ayesha Reynolds, who co-owns Homespun with her business partner, Kelly Brown. “I think there are a lot of people in Chattanooga who will connect with that.”
Isha Utsav is free and open to the public. The event will include a musical performance from Sounds of Isha, a band from the McMinnville center, a vegetarian lunch and a guided meditation using a DVD featuring Sadhguru. There will also be a local artist sale, from which 10 percent of the profits will be donated to Isha Cares—an organization for those in the McMinnville area with no or limited health insurance.