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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Yogis from India and Atlanta, Welcome!

May 01, 2023 06:00AM ● By Paul Chen
We’re thrilled to share with you this month’s interview with Sadhguru, the Indian spiritual teacher and founder of Isha Foundation, the organization that spreads his message and his work across the globe. 

As spiritual teachers go, Sadhguru is quite modern, utilizing a host of social media platforms to great effect. As a result, he is also quite popular; I was surprised to discover that his Instagram followers vastly outnumber those of the Dalai Lama—9.9 million to the Dalai Lama’s 2.1 million. He’s even way ahead of the American preacher with the largest megachurch in the country, Joel Osteen, who has a mere 5.1 million followers. 

What’s behind his popularity aside from using social media to advance his message? If I were to guess, aside from his knowledge and wisdom, I’d say that it’s because he can dispense wisdom in short and often pithy phrases, sometimes with a sly sense of humor. Even after watching several of his YouTube videos, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of fresh ideas that emerged from this magazine’s recent interview with him. Almost every one of his responses contained something I hadn’t read or heard before. 

Sadhguru is a leading proponent of yoga, the science of self-realization. Longtime readers of this magazine will know that our coverage spans all eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras—not just the physical discipline of yoga postures that most Americans associate with yoga.

Sadhguru is primarily concerned with helping people develop inner practices that will lead to yoga’s goal, samadhi, the union with that which is infinite, eternal, omnipresent and omnipotent and otherwise referred to as God, Source, Infinite Intelligence and more. 

I often describe this magazine as “Atlanta’s premier publication focused on holistic health and personal evolution,” and if someone were to ask what the two topics have in common, my response would be: “Everything.” And, in the years I’ve been the publisher of this magazine, I’ve never interviewed anyone else that embodies the combination of these two principles more than Sadhguru. 

He offers much advice on physical health. “Being free of disease may not necessarily be well-being,” he says in one of his YouTube videos. “When you feel well, when you really feel well on all levels of who you are, that’s well-being. It’s a matter of being in tune with everything in and around you.”

He continues: “Essentially, if you’re looking just at health, once the pranayama kosha, or the energy body, is properly balanced and vibrant, there will be no ailment in the physical and mental body. If this one thing is done, one can clearly see whatever chronic ailments that one has, either in the physical body or in the mental state, will completely vanish. When people come with ailments, we don’t treat them for that ailment; we just help them to get their energy body vibrant and balanced.”

We hope you enjoy reading his remarkable answers to our questions.
Speaking of yoga, I am pleased to introduce our newest yoga editor, David Penn, RYT-200, founder and owner of Sun Dragon Yoga in Norcross. 

Like many who find themselves doing yoga full-time, David is a refugee from a corporate lifestyle that hollowed him out. Twelve-hour days in sales left him feeling like “a weak old man” with a really sore back. After finding the mat, he took yoga teacher training and was certified 10 years ago. 

“Yoga has given me everything that means anything in my life,” says David. “My relationship with my wife is better; I don’t drink anymore…”  When David isn’t practicing or writing about yoga, he can often be found playing the harp for cancer patients.

Aside from inquiring into all eight limbs of yoga, our yoga department has shouldered the bulk of our editorial work devoted to personal evolution. But it’s time for a change. We are now planning a series of articles outside of our yoga department, focusing on meditation, which will start in the next 12 months. It will spearhead our personal evolution editorial for some stretch of time. 

Within our yoga department, David will begin a series on several styles of yoga, highlighting local studios and teachers that offer those styles, including yin, Ashtanga and Kundalini. For the last several years, we’ve published a special yoga section in September, in which we highlighted Atlanta yogis. This September, however, we’ll change focus and examine pranayama, the fourth limb of yoga, in detail. 

Please join me in welcoming David to his new role and wishing him great fun and success. ❧

Publisher of Natural Awakenings Atlanta since 2017, Paul Chen’s professional background includes strategic planning, marketing management and qualitative research. He practices Mahayana Buddhism and kriya yoga. Contact him at [email protected].
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