Spring Yoga Retreat by VYASA


HOUSTON: Houston residents from all walks of life came together on April 29, 30 and May 1,  to immerse themselves in a fun, relaxing weekend of yoga and ashram living with yoga enthusiasts from across Texas. The focus of this year’s retreat was “Bhagavad Gita in everyday life” conducted by the learned and knowledgeable Yoga master Shri N.V. Raghuramji  and beloved teachers Vishwarupa Nanjudappa and Smitha Malliah. This was the third retreat held by Vyasa Houston allowing Yoga devotees to absorb the ancient teachings of the Yoga masters in the beautiful surroundings at Camp Cho Yeh in Livingston, TX.

The Gita is an essential textbook for aspiring Yogi’s as they tread the Yogic path. Yoga as taught in the Bhagavad Gita is not about how well you do a certain posture but about how to live a purposeful life.  It presents a range of spiritual insights and guidance to elevate the quality of life for the individual. It is often said that when the student is ready, the lesson will appear. Students were more than ready to absorb the teachings wonderfully elucidated by Shri Raghuramji . He talked about Karma Yoga – the Yoga of Action, the path chosen primarily by those of an outgoing nature. By detaching yourself from the fruits of your actions and offering them up to the divine, you learn to minimize the ego.  He also talked about Bhakti Yoga – the path chosen to direct the ego inward and focus on the spiritual growth of the individual. His session on the Gunas inspired attendees to examine the inherent principles of the path they have chosen.

VYASA (Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana) was founded in Bangalore in 1975. Dr. Nagendra, Dr. Nagrathna and Prof. Raghuram began this institute which has since evolved into a one of the premier Yoga institutions in India. Over time SVYASA was established as the academic arm of VYASA offering training courses in Yoga therapy and Yoga instruction.  The website of the institution (www.svyasa.org) is one of the most visited Yoga sites in the world.


VYASA in Houston began in 1999. A number of Houstonians wanted to make the benefits of yoga as taught at VYASA’s Bangalore center available to more local residents. In agreement with VYASA-Bangalore, the Houston Center was established and incorporated in 1999 as a non-profit organization. Ramesh Bhutada, a local businessman, was the founding president and served until 2002. Dr. Sudha Rajan, a family medicine physician who has been involved since its inception, is now president of the organization

One of the highlights of the retreat was the cultural program where former and current YICC students put together a variety of entertaining programs that delighted the group assembled there.  The beautiful dances by Annapurna Jonnalagadda and spiritual singing were appreciated by all. The teachings of the Gurus were beautifully depicted by former students of YICC to the melodious “Nirvana Shatakam” in the form of various Yoga Asanas. One of the highlights was the Vishnu Sahasranamam Avadhanam presented by Nitya Hosur. Participants also enjoyed Krida Yoga and the “one minute games” organized by Sanjay Joshi and Richa Dixit.  The retreat ended with a special graduation ceremony for the Yoga Instructor certificate courses offered by VYASA Houston last year. Students  Achala Limaye, Rajeev Limaye, Aniruddha Gadre, Annapurna Jonnalagadda, Chandrashekar Nandula, Anuradha Sudarshan, Shalaka Taware and Anjali Kanojia proudly received their certificates and shared their experiences of personal growth through the YICC course. Raghuramji delivered the keynote address at the Graduation ceremony and spoke about the responsibilities of becoming a Yoga instructor and carrying the torch of learning forward. He also reminded the teachers to never stop learning and to always be ready to receive learning.

VYASA serves as a leader in making advances in Yogic Science’s and the dedicated efforts of director Vishwarupa along with the assistant director Smitha Malliah in Houston are a testament to that.  Both of them agree that “The goal of VYASA-Houston is to promote health, happiness and peace in the community through various programs like Yoga for positive health, yoga therapy for specific aliments and yoga in education for youngsters etc.”

 To learn more about Yoga as a Science contact Vishwarupa or Smitha at VYASAhouston@gmail.org or stop by the Keshav Smruti center; 4018 Westhollow Parkway, Houston, TX 77082 , or call 888-964-2609.