Situated near the Blue Ridge Mountains, on the banks of the James River, Yogaville encompasses 750 acres of serene landscape. Yogaville offers a number of sacred spaces dedicated to contemplation and meditation. The center features comprehensive facilities including: two large auditoriums; numerous Yoga classrooms; dormitory and motel-style accommodation; a conference center; a library; an elementary school; an organic farm and orchard; a garage; a woodworking shop; an office building; a fine arts society; audio/video production, publications and archives departments; two gift shops; a bookstore; and an affiliated credit union, health book distribution center and tea shop.
In 1979, Sri Gurudev Swami Satchidananda founded Yogaville as an optimal environment in which to study and live the principles of Integral Yoga. This Yoga village continues to grow, still nurtured by his vibrant and enduring spirit. Yogaville is a dynamic community where one will find people of varying ages and backgrounds enjoying all that the Ashram has to offer. In addition to the more than 2,000 guests and program participants who visit each year, 150 residents make this their home. There is a monastery for the swamis, as well as dormitories for guests and single residents, and many family homes nearby.
Visitors to Yogaville usually start at the Visitors’ Center in Sivananda Hall. This is the place where everyone comes together for delicious vegetarian meals, community gatherings, and satsangs. Right across the lawn of the quadrangle are two dormitories, the warmly welcoming Guest Services department, and several classrooms. A wonderful large full-service library can be found in a building next to the dorms; and Guru Bhavan, the peaceful meditation hall, stands on the opposite side.
Next to Guru Bhavan is the the Integral Yoga Teaching Academy which hosts more than 15 Teacher Training programs each year. In addition to Hatha Yoga and Meditation Teacher Training programs, there is a wide variety of advanced and specialized certification courses such as: Cardiac Yoga, Extra Gentle Yoga, Stress Management, Prenatal/Postnatal Yoga, Yoga for the Special Child and Yoga for Cancer Patients.
Just a short walk away, there are three Lotus Guest Houses—offering private rooms to guests—and the little Lotus Tea House, a place to enjoy refreshments and good company. There are plans to expand these facilities even further.
Also in Sivananda Hall, are the offices of Shakticom, the full-service audio and video studio. The staff of Shakticom has recorded Sri Gurudev’s programs for many years. They continue to produce tapes using these beautiful teachings, and also tapes by disciples of Sri Gurudev. Shakticom, along with the Photo Department and the Archives, is actively involved in preserving the wealth of tapes and films collected from Sri Gurudev’s early days to the present, and in sharing those treasures with the public.
Nearby is the Office Building which houses the administrative offices of Yogaville. It also includes the Programs Department—which plans more than 50 programs throughout the year. A sample of the week-long and weekend workshops include: seasonal Silent Retreats, Meditation Retreats, Yoga and Psychotherapy, Self-Discovery through Hatha Yoga, Yoga Teachers Conferences, and Vegetarian Cooking Courses.
The Office Building also contains the Reservation Center, the Living Yoga Training (LYT) program, the Yogaville Federal Credit Union, graphic design, and Integral Yoga Publications, among other indispensable departments.
Down the road from Sivananda Hall are the offices of Integral Yoga Distribution, a thriving business which distributes thousands of books, tapes, videos, and other Yoga and wellness-related items to nearly 10,000 bookstores, health food stores, Yoga centers, and individuals. Founded in 1986 in a small corner in the office building basement, Integral Yoga Distribution has grown into its own large building (with warehouse), a staff of 15, and bustling phone lines.
From the earliest days, when Sri Gurudev began speaking about a Yoga village, there was a gleam in his eyes when he mentioned a school for children. Today, the Yogaville Vidyalayam (“Temple of Learning”) provides individual programs for children from ages 5 to 12. This private, nonprofit, parochial school is based on the precepts and teachings of Sri Gurudev, such as truth, nonviolence, dedication, universal brotherhood, interfaith understanding, and the multicultural approach. Sri Gurudev always said, “The purpose of the Vidyalayam is to turn out good people.” We see again and again that our school is doing just that, as students go on to graduate from college with honors and follow their dreams into a variety of impressive professions.
The three shrines at Yogaville—the LOTUS, Chidambaram, and Kailash. So loved are these shrines, that they are sometimes referred to as the heart of Yogaville. But, there is no one structure or department that can be given this title. The heart of Yogaville will always be the expansive teachings and spiritual presence of Sri Gurudev.