The Institute has a traditional Gurukula setting, in an ideal garden atmosphere, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Students are also introduced to the Indian way of life, festivals, cultural programmes, community activities and Hindu rites and rituals, to cultivate an awareness of the culture from which Yoga has sprung.
CLASSICAL RISHICULTURE ASHTANGA YOGA (GITANANDA YOGA) as expounded by the world famous Guru, Yoga Maharishi Dr. SWAMI GITANANDA GIRI Guru Maharaj is taught in carefully graded steps.
Dr Swami Gitananda Giri, a Medical Doctor born in India but who spent forty years in the West, taught Classical Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga (Gitananda Yoga) with a scientific, medical basis. The revered Swamiji, considered one of the five leading world experts in Classical Ashtanga Yoga, attained Samadhi in December 29, 1993.
ICYER has more than a 140 affiliated Yoga centres run autonomously by our graduates and their students in 30 countries. The detailed list can be accessed at www.icyer.com
More than 60 books, CDs and DVDs on Yoga have been published, as well as a monthly magazine, Yoga Life, which has completed more than 47 years of publication for a worldwide audience.
The International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER) is also Headquarters for several worldwide organizations, including Vishwa Yoga Samaj, Yoga Jivana Satsangha (International) and the Society for the Preservation of Rishiculture Yoga (SPARC).
The International Centre for Yoga Education and Research is also the office headquarters for Sri Kambliswamy Madam, a 145-year-old Samadhi site of the great Ashtanga Yoga Guru Srila Sri Kambaliswamigal at Thattanchavady, Pondicherry. The Samadhi of its founder, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj, is also located at Kambliswamy Madam and has become a world famous pilgrimage place. Dr. Swami Gitananda left his body in Samadhi at 2.20 am December 29, 1993, Arudhra Darshan Day and the full moon in the Tamil month of Margazhi. Daily Pujas are conducted at Sri Kambliswamy Madam, with elaborate Pujas from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on Sundays. Sunday Pujas are open to public who wish to experience a traditional Hindu Puja. Grand Pujas for the Samadhis of the eight Gurus of the lineage are conducted throughout the year, as well as many Carnatic Music Festivals at the Sri Kambliswamy Madam.
The City Centre of ICYER is called Yoganjali Natyalayam and Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri established it on March 29, 1993. The flourishing Centre of Yoga, Bharata Natyam and Carnatic Music with more than 400 actively enrolled students and more than 20,000 alumni is located in Central Pondicherry, behind the New Bus station. It caters to the needs of the local populace as well as providing special individual and personally tailored lessons for passing Tourists and those visiting Pondicherry on a short-term basis. Yoganjali Natyalayam has developed a very popular Bharata Natyam troupe, which specializes in performance of the difficult acrobatic Natya Karanas, which are essentially a form of Yoga Asanas. The Centre presents a full three-hour length Bharata Natyam Dance Drama each year in July - August to celebrate the birthday of Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri. Its Annual Day is held in June each year and is a feast of spectacular music, dance and Yoga demonstrations. It is located at 25, IInd Cross, Iyyanar Nagar, Pondicherry - 605 013. Ph: +91-413-2241561,e-mail: [email protected]
Yogamani Kalaimamani Yogacharini MEENAKSHI DEVI BHAVANANI is the Director and Resident Acharya of the ICYER / Ananda Ashram. She is the Dharmapatni and senior most disciple of the internationally acclaimed Yoga master, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj and has devoted her life to his teachings and to institutions founded by him. She has trained many thousands of students in Yoga and Bharathanatyam in the past 47 years and is a well-known journalist as well as Editor of the International Yoga journal YOGA LIFE since 1970. She has organised five major International Yoga Conferences and is a prolific author with eight books, including two books of poetry. She has received numerous National Awards including the "YOGAMANI" from the then President of India Shri Zail Singh Ji and the National Bhaskara Award from Bharat Nirman and Indian Trade Promotion Organisation, New Delhi. The Pondicherry Government has awarded her the Puduvai KALAIMAMANI Award while she received the Outstanding Senior Citizen Award from the Jaycees in 2003. She has served as an eminent Yoga expert on the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN), Health Ministry, Government of India, New Delhi as well as an Advisor to the Moraji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi. She is a member of the Pondicherry University Academic Council and an honoured member of the International Yoga Federation’s World Yoga Council. She is Director of Yoganjali Natyalayam, a popular City Centre for the propagation of Classical Yoga, Bharat Natyam and Carnatic Music in Pondicherry and has developed a famous Bharat Natyam troupe that appears regularly in prestigious festivals and also stages spectacular Bharat Natyam and Yoga programmes yearly in Pondicherry. She has also choreographed Twelve Major Dance Dramas on Indian Culture in the past ten years. She was recently honoured with a special Award from the Lt Governor Shri MM Lakera as “A lady of eminence who has brought great fame to Pondicherry”.
Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is Chairman of ICYER (www.icyer.com) and YoganjaliNatyalayam, a premier institute of Yoga and Carnatic Music and Bharatanatyam in Pondicherry (www.rishiculture.org). He is son and successor of the internationally acclaimed Yoga team of Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj and Yogacharini Kalaimamani Ammaji, Smt Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani.
He is also Deputy Director of the Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research (CYTER), Mahatma Gandhi Medical College & Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University, Pondicherry (http://sbvu.ac.in/cyter-center-for-yoga-therapy-education-and-research).
He is a Gold Medalist in Medical Studies (MBBS) and postgraduate diploma in family health (PGDFH) as well as Yoga (PGDY) and Advanced Diploma in Yoga under his illustrious parents. A Fellow of the Indian Academy of Yoga, he has authored 19 DVDs and 23 books on Yoga and published more than two hundred papers, compilations and abstracts on Yoga and Yoga research in National and International Journals. In addition, he is a classical Indian vocalist, percussionist, music composer and choreographer of Indian classical dance.
He has travelled abroad 15 times and conducted invited talks, public events, workshops and retreats and been major presenter at Yoga conferences in UK, USA, Italy, South Africa, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. He is an Honorary International Advisor to the International Association of Yoga Therapists (www.iayt.org), Australasian Association of Yoga Therapists (www.yogatherapy.org.au), the World Yoga Foundation (www.worldyogafoundation.in) and Gitananda Yoga Associations worldwide (www.rishiculture.org).
He is currently member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the CCRYN, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt of India as well as the Expert Committee of AYUSH for celebration of International Yoga Day. He is also member of Executive Council of the Indian Yoga Association (www.yogaiya.in) and Board of Directors of the Council for Yoga Accreditation International (www.cyai.org).