Centennial Chronicles of The Yoga Institute, Mumbai

100 year old rich heritage of the world's oldest yoga centre - The Yoga Institute

The Yoga Institute ExteriorThe Yoga Institute

The Yoga Institute HQ at Mumbai

The 100 year old Yoga Institute, that now stands in Santacruz (East), Mumbai, India was founded in 1918 by Shri Yogendraji, and is the oldest centre of yoga in the world. Shri Yogendra is known as the Father of Modern Yoga Renaissance. Although most people wished to learn yoga only to address their physical problems, Shri Yogendra wanted The Yoga Institute to be more than a place that would help them cope with physical ailments. He wanted it to be a `Life School’ where one learnt to live. 

Paramhamsa MadhavdasjiThe Yoga Institute

On the momentous day of 26th August 1916, Shri Yogendra met his Guru, Paramhamsa Madhavdasji.

Manibhai Haribhai Desai (later known as Shri Yogendraji) attended a discourse by Paramhamsa Madhavdasji and was greatly drawn to the Master. He eventually surrendered to him.

Shri YogendraThe Yoga Institute

Shri Yogendraji believed that yoga was not meant exclusively for bearded men living in the mountains, and he wanted to bring it to householders—the men and women who have to work, toil, commute, earn a living, raise children, and fight the battle of life everyday. He wanted to bring it to people living in the town and the city, because he believed that the householder could benefit immensely from this knowledge.

Foundation of The Yoga Institute at Versova, 1918, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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On Christmas, 25th December 1918, The Yoga Institute started at ‘The Sands’. This was the residence of Mr. HM Dadhina, the son-in-law of Dadabhai Naoroji, a prominent social leader who was known as The Grand Old Man of India, at Versova beach near Bombay.
The Yoga Institute was founded to promote Classical Yoga for the householders and the common man in a simplified and holistic way.

The Yoga Institute in U.S.A., 1920, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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With his guru, Paramahamsa Madhavadasaji's blessings, Yogendraji sailed to the West to teach, to impart knowledge, to elevate human nature, and to show the Westerners this way of living.

To a team of doctors and other medical dignitaries in New York, he demonstrated the processes of neti, dhouti, basti, a few complicated asanas, voluntary breathing through only one lung at a time and the control of body heat at will.

The discharge of electric light in a dark room from the fingers, its transmission beyond walls, its introduction in another body and its voluntary control by switching off the thumbs, were all demonstrated by him to exhibit a complete control over every organ of his body. This was done to win the attention of the medical men of the West towards Yoga.

Then, The Yoga Institute was established at Harriman U.S.A. as the first foreign location of the world's first organised yoga centre, The Yoga Institute.

Yogendraji conducting Research on in house patients, 1921, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Yogendraji studied in detail and conducted thorough examination as well as research for each patient visiting The Yoga Institute.

The Institute had equipped itself with a twelve bed hospital and an outpatient department to handle a large number of patients every day. The results which accrued were very encouraging and a report was published — Research Procedures for Investigating Claims of Treatment of Diseases through Yoga.

In essence it established what was known to the Yogis of old that Yoga had its own parameters and had to be evaluated differently from the limited research methodology of modern medicine. Shri Yogendraji who was the Yogi on this medical panel who had been working since 1918 on the claims of Yoga therapeutics, reiterated that Yoga is an education in healthy living at all stages.

This got accepted in modern medicine which has also come to believe that health is not absence of disease.

Shri Yogendraji with Dr. Surendranath Dasgupta, 1924, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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In 1924, the first research on prana was conducted by Shri Yogendraji with Dr. Surendranath Dasgupta, the great Orientalist and philosopher and also a professor at Cambridge University.

Yoga Asanas SimplifiedThe Yoga Institute

Publications

Yoga Perosnal Hygiene Book, 1928, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Within a few years, Shri Yogendraji penned ‘Yoga Personal Hygiene’ which is still one of the most sought after books for the study of Yoga worldwide.

Yoga Hygiene Simplified, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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The book elaborates a course of daily exercises based on the rhythm of breath which is simple, scientific and workable. Shri Yogendra simplified some of the asanas and correlated them with a special breathing rhythm which derives the name from him—the Yogendra breathing rhythm!

The book is a beautiful work of art and is a must have for all health enthusiasts.

First Journal of The Yoga Institute, 1933, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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In 1933, the first monthly journal of The Yoga Institute, ‘YOGA’ was published as an official organ of the Institute.

It gained prominence and was exchanged with many other journals around the world to spread a lot of goodwill along with the message of Yoga.

The oldest of its kind, it continues till date and is now known as 'Yoga and Total Health’, reaching out to lakhs of yoga enthusiasts in over 100 countries around the world.

First book on Yoga for women by Smt. Sita Devi Yogendra, 1934, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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While Yoga was spreading far and wide, women were still not considered a part of the Yoga fraternity.

‘Easy Postures for Woman’ by Smt. Sita Devi Yogendra, Yogendraji's spouse, was published as the first book on Yoga for women which is also written by a woman.

It is revered as the world's first modern textbook for guiding women in their study of practical Yoga.

The Yoga Institute's publications preserved in the Crypt of Civilization, 1940, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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A great historical project called 'The Crypt of Civilization' was conceived by Dr. Thornwell Jacobs, President of the Oglethorpe University. The core idea is to preserve all the knowledge man has collected in the 6000 years since the first recorded date in history.

In 1940, four publications of The Yoga Institute, written by Shri Yogendraji and Smt. Sita Devi, have been microfilmed and preserved in the Crypt to be opened and read in the year 8113 AD.

It is indeed a unique honour to Shri Yogendra, to have his work in the Crypt of Civilization. Out of the 700 books selected by a panel of eminent judges from millions of books available for selection, only a few were selected from India. The ancient wisdom of Yoga being preserved for posterity 6000 years hence is outstanding recognition for the untiring pioneer of modern Yoga renaissance.

Published Books, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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The four books preserved in The Crypt of Civilization are -

Yoga Personal Hygiene by Shri Yogendraji.

Yoga Asanas Simplified by Shri Yogendraji.

Hatha Yoga Simplified by Shri Yogendraji.

Yoga Physical Education for Women by Smt. Sitadevi Yogendra.

It is a matter of great pride that the work of The Yoga Institute has been preserved as an authoritative representation of our civilization.

The Yoga Institute shifts base to Santacruz in Mumbai (1948)The Yoga Institute

Shifting base to a larger space

The Yoga Institute was shifted from Versova to Santacruz, another suburb of Mumbai, a port city of India. With this move, The Yoga Institute firmly established Santacruz on the world map. It took just one man, Shri Yogendraji to achieve this in his own life time. Based in Santacruz, The Yoga Institute has shown that the Yoga way of life can be lived midst the world if one has the capacity to bear and persevere with detachment. This is a special feature of 'Householder Yoga' which is promoted by The Yoga Institute. 

Research by Shri Yogendraji, Dr. Theresa Brosse (UNESCO) and Dr. J.B. Milovanovich from Paris (Harvard University Research Centre), 1951, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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First scientific research conducted on the effects of ‘Yoni Mudra’ by scientists Dr. Theresa Brosse (UNESCO) and Dr. J.B. Milovanovich from Paris (Harvard University Research Centre) along with Shri Yogendraji on his son Dr. Jayadeva.

'Yoni Mudra' is a unique psycho-physical technique which is meant to facilitate training in the practice of Pratyahara (abstraction), with the aim of withholding the conscious mind from soliciting sensory perceptions. The word Yoni signifies the Ultimate Brahman of Brahmayoni.

Dr. Zakir Hussain, former President of India and Yogendraji, 1970, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Dr. Zakir Hussain, former President of India, visited the Institute in Dec 1970. He was presented a memento by Shri Yogendraji.

The Yoga Institute launches the Medical Research Unit, 1970, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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The Yoga Institute launched, the first-of-its-kind Medical Research Unit for research on psychosomatic and psychiatric diseases in accord with The Central Council for Research in Indian Medicine and Homeopathy.

Shri K K Shah, the then Health Minister, is seen here during his visit to The Institute.

Since its foundation in 1918, The Institute had already been conducting research on various health issues and diseases.

The Yoga Institute organizes first All India Yoga Conference., 1972, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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The Yoga Institute organized first All India Yoga Conference in which 88 Yoga Centres participated from across the globe. This is a magnificent accomplishment as in that era, it was the first ever one of its kind conference held on such a large scale.

Research project commences in several Mumbai schools, 1986, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Research projects were started in several schools across Bombay (now Mumbai) to assess personality development of kids before and after exposure to Yoga.

This offered an excellent opportunity for children to learn good qualities and morals, and sit in peace, which will stand good throughout their lives. They were taught simple Yoga Asanas and Kriyas. Yoga philosophy was also imparted through arts, crafts and interesting games.

Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, former President of India vists The Yoga Institute, 1986, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, the then President of India, visited The Yoga Institute to celebrate Shri Yogendraji’s 90th birth anniversary.

Giani Zail Singh, Former President of India inaugurates the world's first Museum of Classical Yoga, 1987, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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1987 was another grand milestone. The world's first Yoga museum was inaugurated.

Giani Zail Singh, Former President of India visited The Yoga Institute on 23rd February to inaugurate the ‘The Yogendra Museum of Classical Yoga’.

Yoga for Better Living features Smt. Hansaji on National TV, 1987, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Doordarshan (National TV) telecasted an exclusive 52-episode program “Yoga for Better Living” with Smt. Hansaji as Yoga Expert for three years, back-to-back.

It was awarded all time popular series of the time. This program was also christened by IIT Professors as one of the most Scientific and Logical TV Series.

Yoga is introduced to National Textile Workers in Mumbai., 1990, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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In a unique experiment, the first of its kind, Yoga was introduced to thousands of National Textile Workers in Bombay for their better health and living.
This was exclusively organised to reach out the masses and spread the awareness of Yoga for overall wellbeing, physical and mental.

Shri. Dalai Lama celebrates the Birth Centenary of Founder Shri Yogendraji, 1997, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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The Birth Centenary of Founder Shri Yogendraji. ‘WHY’ (World Householder’s Yoga) Conference on Sane Living was presided over by His Holiness Dalai Lama.

He elucidated that future depends much on our warm hearts. One of his hopes for the next century is that with continuing technical progress, we try hard to develop man’s spiritual side equally. He also adds that spirituality does not necessarily means religion and it can be developed by focusing on evolving the basic valuable qualities that a man possesses. He acknowledged the fact that The Yoga Institute is working in that direction and that this is probably the noblest of all the services to the mankind.

Mumbai Police trains at The Yoga Institue (2000)The Yoga Institute

The Yoga Institute started a massive program to train thousands of members of the Mumbai Police force in Yoga techniques.

The institute understands the holistic health requirements for those who deal with terror, anti-social elements, and other disturbing situations on a daily basis. Paying tribute to their indomitable spirit, The Yoga Institute provides these special task forces with free yoga sessions since over a decade, training over 10,000 personnel in yoga techniques to enhance their ability to manage and eventually overcome psychological and physical ailments.

Indian Yoga Association's first meeting at The Yoga Institute (2009)The Yoga Institute

Newly formed 'Indian Yoga Association', IYA, held its first meeting at The Yoga Institute on 5th January 2009 to propagate information and knowledge of Yoga, its various techniques and practice in various parts of India as well as abroad.

Seen here along with Dr Jayadeva Yogendra and Smt Hansaji Yogendra are B.K.S. Iyengar, Dr. H. R. Nagendra, Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Bharat Bhushan, O P Tiwari, Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi and various senior yoga gurus of renowned yoga institutions of India.

IYA is a maiden attempt to unite all yoga paramparas in a common cause.

The Yoga Institute receives an award from the International Association of Yoga Therapists, 2011, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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As the world’s oldest organised Yoga centre, The Yoga Institute received an award from the International Association of Yoga Therapists at the Conference on Yoga Therapy and Research at Asilomar, Monterey, California, U.S.A.

Inaugration of Harmony Fest to mark 100 years of The Yoga Institute with President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, First Lady of India, Smt. Savita Kovind, Governor of Maharashtra, Shri C. Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Smt. Hansaji Yogendra and Mayor of Mumbai, Shri Vishwanath Mahadeshwar. (2018)The Yoga Institute

Recent landmarks

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra, Shri Shripad Yasso Naik, 2015, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Smt. Hansaji - “First Lady of Yoga” made the nation proud by being the only lady yoga guru to be invited by Honourable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi ji, at the ‘First International Yoga Day’ on 21 June 2015 in New Delhi.

First QCI Certified Yoga school award by Loksabha speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, 2016, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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The Yoga Institute awarded as The First Yoga School Certified by Quality Council of India on 23rd June by Honourable ok Sabha Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan.

Unveiling of Shri Yogendra Chowk by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhuji, Santoor Maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharmaji and Yoga Guru Smt. Hansaji Yogendra, 2017, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Commemoration of Shri Yogendra Chowk - Paying respect to the first official Chowk dedicated to a Yogi, Shri Yogendraji. Unveiling of the Chowk was done by Honourable Railway Minister Suresh Prabhuji, Santoor Maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharmaji and Yoga Guru Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on 30th April 2017.

Inauguration of Centennial Celebrations by Vice President of India - M Venkaiah Naidu, Governor Of Maharashtra - Shri C. Vidyasagar Rao, Director, The Yoga Institute - Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra along with other dignitaries, 2017, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Inaugural Ceremony of Centennial Celebrations at The Yoga Institute on 24th December was blessed by all the Hon'ble guests, Vice President of India - M Venkaiah Naidu, Governor Of Maharashtra - Shri C. Vidyasagar Rao, Director, The Yoga Institute - Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra, Founder, Ahimsa Vishwa Bharti - Acharya Dr. Lokesh Muni, President, Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh - Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Former Director, CBI - Dr. D R Kaarthikeyan, Director, MDNIY, New Delhi - Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi.

International Yoga Festival 2018 pays tribute to Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra, 2018, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India & MDNIY conducts a seminar on life sketch and contribution of Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra on 22nd March, 2018 at New Delhi at International Yoga Festival. The event started with a grand opening of the Exhibition on Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra. Showcasing the worthy and legendary life of Dr. Saheb. The seminar was inaugurated by Sh. Pramod Kumar Pathak, Joint Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India. The seminar was presided by Dr. H. R. Nagendra, Chancellor, SVYASA University. Keynote speakers at the seminar were Dr. Hansaji Yogendra, Dr. David Frawley, Shri Raza Murad & Dr. Ishwar V. Basavaraddi.

Prime Minister award, 2018, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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The Yoga Institute was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister award on 21st June for “Outstanding contribution for Promotion and Development of Yoga” for the year 2018. The selection was done from among 186 nominations received.

Ministry of Madhya Pradesh in association with The Yoga Institute hosts a mega event to celebrate 4th International Yoga Day, 2018, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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The Yoga Institute in collaboration with the Ministry of Madhya Pradesh hosted a well-organised mega Yoga event for celebrating the 4th International Yoga Day at Lal Parade ground in Bhopal on 21st June 2018. Shivraj Singh Chauhan congratulated The Yoga Institute for the grand success.

Harmony Fest Inauguration by the then President Pranab Mukherjee, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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100th Anniversary celebrations - Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, First Lady of India, Smt. Savita Kovind, Hon’ble Governor of Maharashtra, Shri C. Vidyasagar Rao, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Director- The Yoga Institute, Smt. Hansaji Yogendra, Hon’ble Mayor of Mumbai, Shri Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, Hon’ble AYUSH Minister, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, Shri Gaur Gopal Das, Shri Bharat Bhushan, Acharya Lokesh Muni, Swami Chidanand Saraswati, & Dr. D. R. Karthikeyan inaugurating Harmony Fest to mark 100 years of The Yoga Institute on 28th December. Also the event marked the book launch of “Yoga for All” by Hon’ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind.

Dr. Hansaji Yogendra with Shri Nitin Gadkari, From the collection of: The Yoga Institute
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In an exclusive event by Zee Media, Hansaji presented Truckasana to Shri Nitin Gadkari along with Kedar Apte ji, VP Marketing for Castrol India. Truck Aasana initiative is taken to over 1-lakh truck drivers throughout India through Castrol CSR team, which is trained by The Yoga Institute Team.

Transforming LivesThe Yoga Institute

Launch of the 'The Yoga Institute Documentary' film by Mr. Brahmanand S Singh

HarmonyFest saw the launch of the Documentary film 'Transforming Lives' by Mr. Brahmanand S Siingh.

In the presence of dignitaries like Mr. Sikka, Dr. D.R. Karthikeyan and our very own Maa Dr. Hansaji Yogendra, the film was presented to a captive audience at the fest!

The rich history of a century and the different hopes for changing lives in the future to come is now chronicled in this film.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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