Swami Asokananda, president of the Integral Yoga Institute of New York, recently announced some changes in this Institute’s management and administration. He penned a letter to the staff and residents and is also sharing this with the global Integral Yoga community as some of the changes also positively affect the Integral Yoga Global Network.

Dear beloved IYI staff, residents, and teachers,

As I am sure you all have seen and/or heard, there have been changes in the leadership roles at the New York IYI. I am sending you this e-mail to make it more open, formal, and official.

A Change in My Role

When I took the vows in joining the Holy Order of Sannyas in 1975, I had no idea that I would be in charge of Yoga centers and ashrams for the next 44 years. I envisaged myself meditating, if not in a cave, at least in a hut “far from the madding crowd.” Sri Gurudev, Swami Satchidananda, knowing what I really needed, had other plans for me. And luckily I had the faith in him to follow his recommendations for me (though he never pushed me one way or another). By not running away from all the challenges of running organizations, I feel much more grounded and strong. And now I feel directed by the Guru within to change my role at the New York IYI. I am entering my tenth year back in New York after 13 years at Yogaville; a decade is a good time to initiate change.

Going forward, while I will remain president, my true role will be of spiritual director of the New York IYI, and I will step back from the day-to-day administration. It only makes sense to formalize this, since my traveling takes me away from IYI so often. This will allow me more time to be available for teaching, counseling, and mentoring at IYI and also to be an ambassador for our Guru, Sri Swami Satchidananda, in the U.S.A. and abroad. As the co-chair, with Swami Ramananda, of the Integral Yoga Global Network, I will play a bigger role in collaborating with Integral Yoga Institutes, centers, and teachers on six of the seven continents, around the world. I will continue to serve on the Board of Directors and will still be involved with the larger issues regarding our mission and vision. And I will continue, along with Rev. Rudra, to oversee our residential ashram.

Chandra/Jo Sgamatto

Chandra/Jo Sgammato is being promoted from general manager to executive director. The Yoga world is in a state of flux; the centers that will remain strong will do so through nourishing their sangha, staying focused on their mission, and operating efficiently. You all know how qualified Chandra is in her operational and communications skills, as well as her emotional intelligence. You may observe that, while Chandra has offered wholehearted dedicated service for years, her new title and responsibilities will release an astonishing amount of creative energy. Chandra is now officially overseeing all the operational and administrative aspects and personnel of the New York IYI, and she will continue representing us to the outside community through Yoga At Work, Yoga At School, the West 13th Street Alliance, and more. This is a fitting time to raise Chandra to this level of authority as she has recently celebrated 20 years as a certified Integral Yoga instructor and staff member. Chandra and I will continue to work closely and collaboratively. Chandra also serves on the New York Integral Yoga Institute Board of Directors.

New York IYI Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is made up of longtime students of Swami Satchidananda, with expertise in finance, management, leadership, marketing, and law. The board is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the IYI and is not focused on day-to-day management issues, which are left to the executive director and other managers.

I have recently named our newly ordained Integral Yoga minister Shankar Bruce Fern chairman of the board. Reverend Shankar’s many years as both a management consultant and a disciple of Gurudev’s makes him well suited to guide the long-term direction of our organization.

We have also added Hamsa Cho to the board. She has already been providing wonderful expert guidance through her background in financial and management consulting.

To see a listing of all of Board of Directors, please go here.

Looking to the Future

It is my heartfelt honor to serve with all of you. It boggles my mind as I watch our amazing staff, teachers, and volunteers come to work each day with such devoted spirit. We can never know the real impact we have had, and are having, on our city, but if there were a way to measure it I believe that we would all be amazed. As we help set one person in a better direction, the ripple keeps expanding.

With Chandra at the helm and each of you doing your magic each day, I am confident that our future is in good hands. I am still in the discovery stage of what a spiritual director does, but I hope also to play my small part in seeing that Integral Yoga is here for the great-grandchildren of Sasi (Chandrika’s daughter), of Axel (Gopala’s son) and of Alma Kali and Julia Una (Kali’s granddaughters). Together we will continue to spread the peace and joy, love and light of the one Spirit.

Yours at the feet of Sri Gurudev,
Swami Asokananda