Gurudev Shri Amritji is recognized worldwide for his unique contributions in teaching the inner dimension of yoga. He has been teaching for more than half a century in the West and is among the great living Gurus today. Gurudev's most unique contribution is his pioneering work in the inner depth of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga (classical eight-limbed yoga) missing in the popular practice of yoga. He called his new holistic approach to yoga, "Meditation-In-Motion".
As Deepak Chopra has stated, "Yogi Desai is a pioneer in introducing yoga in the West, but more significantly through his unique style, his method of teaching draws upon the original spiritual depth that is missing in the popular practice of Hatha Yoga."
He founded two Kripalu Ashram Program Centers, one in Sumneytown, PA in 1971 and another in Summit Station, PA in 1976 for more in-depth training for resident staff and guests in response to increasing demand. In 1983, Gurudev founded the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, MA. This unique facility became one of the largest yoga and healing centers in North America, offering a wide range of personal and professional trainings with a fulltime residential volunteer staff of more than 350. Gurudev has truly reached out and impacted the yoga and health community worldwide.
The method of the inner dimension of yoga he developed was so widely adapted that today there are more than 6,000 yoga teachers, hundreds of health professionals, massage therapists and yoga nidra teachers teaching in more than 40 countries and reaching out to millions around the world.
Gurudev has been recognized for following in the footsteps of many of the great spiritual Masters such as Paramahansa Yogananada and Swami Vivekenanda, who founded the World Religious Parliament in India. This esteemed organization bestows recognition to select spiritual teachers who have played significant roles in disseminating the ancient heritage of India worldwide. This prestigious organization honored Gurudev with the title "Jagadacharya", in New Delhi in 1986.
He has been repeatedly invited as a keynote speaker for Ayurveda and Yoga Conferences worldwide including India, US, Europe, Japan and China.
Gurudev has been repeatedly recognized and honored for his outstanding worldwide service in the field of yoga. The following are some of his many awards and titles:
* 2010 - Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA) Patanjali Award for Excellence in Yogic Research & Teachings in North America: Gurudev Shree Amritji (Yogi Amrit Desai)
* 1991 - the late prime minister of India, Shri Chandra Shekhar visited the Kripalu Center. He was so impressed by the worldwide impact of Gurudev's teachings that he personally nominated him for the "Padmashri award" to then Prime Minister Rao. This request received a positive response from the Prime Minister.
* "Vishwa Yoga Ratna" 1987 - World Development Parliament title, presented by the President of India, one time award given to 10 select spiritual leaders from 10 countries around the world. Gurudev was selected to represent the US in recognition of his lifelong dedication and service in the field of yoga.
* "Jagadacharya" 1986 - conferred by the World Religious Parliament in New Delhi, India, established by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. This title was offered only to five eminent spiritual teachers who have played significant roles in spreading the ancient heritage of India worldwide.
* "Doctor of Yoga" 1974 - awarded by H.H. Jagadaguru Shankaracharya of Dwarka for outstanding contributions to the spiritual heritage of India.
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Integrating Patanjali's Classical Eight-Limbed Yoga and The Western Psyche
(A Dialogue with Gurudev, Yogi Amrit Desai and Mariana Caplan)
This dialogue between Gurudev Shri Amritji and author Mariana Caplan, brings to light the great historical meeting and subsequent integration of Yoga into the United States. Gurudev is a contemporary spiritual master who reveals the mystical teachings of Patanjali's Eight-Limbed or Ashtanga Yoga and Yoga Sutras. He has uniquely built them into the practice of Amrit Yoga where all eight limbs of the body of yoga are integrated into one holistic (Hatha/Raja) approach. The creation of both Kripalu and Amrit Yoga resulted from his kundalini awakening in 1970. He is the carrier of the Kripalu lineage to the West where spiritual teachings are reinforced through the direct experience of energetic transmission. Drawing on more than five decades of teaching experience, Gurudev will elucidate his great learnings from his unique life experience of being one of the first Indian Gurus to come to America and the last living Guru of that initial wave. He is both a leader and example of the great integration that can and must happen between Yoga and psychology in order for both to thrive in the Western world.
CE credit (MFT, LCSW, RN) offered for the session