New Vrindaban to Attract Western Visitors With New Yoga Pavilion

Yoga Pavilion in New Vrindaban

By Madhava Smullen

A new Yoga Pavilion currently being built by ISKCON New Vrindaban’s own devotee construction crew, and aiming to be open next year, is expected to draw a large Western audience.

“We have been highly focused on reaching out to Indians living in the USA,” says temple president Jaya Krsna Das. “But Srila Prabhupada came to preach to Westerners, so we want to now make a major concerted effort to reach them too.”

Yoga, of course, is an interest that both Indian and Western people share. According to a 2012 study by Yoga Journal magazine, more than twenty million people practice yoga in the U.S. And of current non-practitioners, 44.5% of Americans call themselves “aspirational yogis” – people who are interested in trying yoga.

ISKCON around the world has had major success in connecting with yoga practitioners, who already have an interest in spirituality, Eastern philosophy, and kirtan. Many yoga groups visit temples such as Radhadesh in Belgium, Govardhana Eco-Village in India and more, and a sizeable number of yoga practitioners and teachers have become Krishna devotees, finding Bhakti-yoga to be the natural next step in their practice.

ISKCON New Vrindaban’s new Yoga Pavilion aims to be a big draw to this audience. Set on the waterfront at Kusum Sarovara Lake, it’s the perfect serene setting, with swans gliding by, and views of the stunning emerald Appalachian mountains as well as New Vrindaban’s exotic peacocks and local wildlife.

Yoga pavilion in New Vrindaban

The yoga studio or “Yoga Pavilion” will be a 1,850 square foot space – large enough for fifty people to practice yoga at once. It will be surrounded by three-quarter length sliding glass windows that will let in the light and surrounding nature; have a finished hardwood floor; and be well insulated with electricity and heating so it can be used even in the winter time.

Already, there is a lot of interest from yoga teachers and practitioners around the country, and even from local people who are delighted to hear that yoga will be offered soon near them.


Meanwhile, staff are starting to market by advertising in yoga magazines, spreading the word through contacts at the Astanga Yoga headquarters in Karnataka, South India, and registering as a teacher-training center with the Yoga Alliance.

When it gets underway, the Yoga Pavilion will have several different teachers. First of all, there will be two in-house experienced devotee yoga teachers, who will teach ashtanga yoga classes from a Krishna conscious perspective every day from spring to fall.

“Just like the yoga vacation program at Shivananda yoga, people will come, spend a few days learning yoga, and go,” says one of the teachers, Gaurnatraj Das. “Others will sign up for special study programs like our one-month teacher-training program, which will cover the Bhagavad-gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Hatha Yoga Pradipika. We will also offer yoga classes to our own community residents and congregation as a healthcare option.”

Secondly, ISKCON New Vrindaban will invite other devotee yoga teachers from around the country to hold their own retreats at New Vrindaban, and will assist them.

And thirdly, outside yoga groups will be invited to use New Vrindaban as a destination for their retreats.

While these groups will have their own curriculums, they will naturally be steeped in Krishna consciousness, staying in the holy dhama of New Vrindaban; eating prasadam; and associating with devotees.

Devotees will also work with them to include kirtans and temple programs in their reteats, along with karma-yoga, or service to the Lord.

As well as retreats held by outside groups, ISKCON New Vrindaban will also hold its own three-night retreats regularly with specialized side-subjects such as vegetarian cooking. And once a year, there will be a four to five night gala retreat, with yoga, ayurveda, acupressure, and other types of alternative healing.

With all this, ISKCON New Vrindaban hopes to double its visitors within the next couple of years, and make better use of its lodge and restaurant facilities during spring, fall, winter and weekdays.

“New Vrindaban has so much potential, and this is one big step towards attracting open-minded Western people from all over America, just as Srila Prabhupada wanted,” says Gaurnatraj. “Eventually, we’d love to build a huge retreat center here and see New Vrindaban become a major center for education.”

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