Welcome to Isha Foundation Europe

"Meditation is the only freedom from stress, tension, and anxiety."

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Isha Yoga Centre, London – Glimpses of Its First Year

It had been the heartfelt desire of Isha meditators and volunteers in Europe to have a physical presence that can act as a hub of inner transformation. One volunteer recalls the logistics involved in conducting Inner Engineering programmes until we opened the centre: from shifting all the materials in vans and lifting them across several floors, cooking the programme food in a separate building and moving it to the venue couple of streets away or pleading with the venue watchman to give them more time as they rushed to wind up the programme late on a Sunday night!

So, when after 12 years of efforts, the doors of the first Isha Yoga Centre in Europe opened in November 2017, it was met with tremendous joy. Tucked away in a serene location in the heart of London, an industrial floor was reshaped using warm earth-coloured brick walls to create a welcoming and loving atmosphere - exuding a feeling of all-inclusiveness. Though it had humble beginnings - only a couple of tables and no central heating - the willingness of the volunteers had enough fire in it to get things warmed up and running.

The first few months were a period of intense growth with the centre finding its feet, slowly building up its infrastructure - both physical and individual! Even today, visitors are charmed by the aesthetics and the thoughtfulness that went into designing the interiors during the initial days.

It only seems appropriate that Mahashivaratri in February 2018 was when the centre truly came into its own, when packed to its full capacity it hosted a nightlong celebration that combined explosive meditations with rapturous dance and food! From then on, the pace of happenings swiftly picked up with a plethora of programmes getting scheduled at the centre.

Free Offering Sessions were introduced with the intention of bringing Isha to a wider range of audience. Realising the importance of constantly refining and deepening the practises, the centre made guided Hatha Yoga sessions and guided Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya corrections a recurring fixture in its schedule. The following months saw the range of activities being expanded even further with 'Food for Wellbeing' workshops that provided participants an opportunity to learn simple wholesome recipes the Isha way! Perhaps unsurprisingly, Yoga for Children became one of the most popular workshops at the centre, with the laughter and giggles of the young ones bringing out the inner child in everyone!

In late July, Guru Purnima marked another major milestone in the story of the centre. The celebrations commenced with the releasing of the butterflies   that underwent a surprisingly rapid transformation from caterpillar larvae in the turbo charged atmosphere of the centre. The occasion also marked the beginning of Sadhanapada – a unique opportunity offered by Sadhguru for meditators to benefit from doing their daily practices in the consecrated space of the centre. It was very well received with meditators moving to London from as far as Hungary and Romania to be a part of it.

The advent of August marked the beginning of a new phase of growth with a Samyama Sadhana Yantra consecrated by Sadhguru adorning the hall! Many people felt their experience, be it the practices, programmes or volunteering, rose to another pitch by the sheer presence of the yantra. September was when the volunteers got actively involved in outreach efforts to spread the word about Isha and its newly opened centre in various social and cultural events across London. During the Diwali Celebrations at the iconic Trafalgar Square, Hatha Yoga teachers mesmerised the crowd with an exquisite display of the ancient system of Angamardana! Spurred with a sense of momentum, the centre started hosting Isha Cultural Evenings, celebrating Indian classical music and its deep linkages to spirituality.

As we look back at the past one year we are humbled at the evolution of the centre and the impact it has made. We can only bow down with gratitude at Sadhguru’s grace and guidance that made such a growth possible. There has been a spectacular transition from offering just 3 programmes in the first month to over 70 now. Perhaps there is no greater joy than to see new meditators initiated into Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya at the centre come back to volunteer and make this transformation possible for others! We have an increased visibility in the London wellbeing space and are expanding quickly. The seed that was planted over a year ago has started to blossom, but still is yet to flower and reach its full potential. We have big plans for the centre, for it to become a beacon for spreading tools of self- transformation across Europe - and we have only just started!

Editors Note: The Isha Yoga Centre at 1-2 Silex Street SE1 0DW, London offers Inner Engineering Programs regularly and also conducts various Hatha Yoga workshops. Tucked away in a serene location in the heart of London, it offers a tranquil space to meditate and rejuvenate amidst the fast pace of modern life. We invite you to come and visit the nurturing atmosphere of the centre and experience the joy of the space first-hand.