On October 24th as part of our Utopia/Dystopia fall 2013 season we discussed the birth of Yoga in America with Pierre ‘The Great Oom” Bernard’s Nyack, NY yoga retreat in 1924. A Hatha Yoga instructor, The Great Oom was a disciple of Tantric Yoga, a teacher and counselor to some of the wealthiest people in the United States as well as an aficionado of baseball and circuses. This everyday boy from the Midwest became the quintessential self-inventor and America’s first home-grown leader of Yoga. Today the utopian world of yoga has evolved itself into mainstream American physical and consumer culture, but that is not without a darker dystopian history.
Carol Horton – Social scientist, certified yoga instructor and author of “Yoga Ph.D.: Integrating the Life of the Mind and the Wisdom of the Body.” Carol is co-founder of the Socially Engaged Yoga Network, an organization dedicated to supporting yoga teachers and community leaders committed to sharing the benefits of yoga with underserved communities in the Chicago area.
Devarshi Steven Hartman – Founder of The Pranotthan School of Yoga and faculty member of Nosara Yoga Institute’s Advanced Yoga Teacher Training. He has been a student and teacher of yoga and yoga philosophy since 1974, was a longtime Kripalu Ashram resident He currently leads 200-Hour and 500-Hour Yoga Certification Programs around the country. Devarshi currently teaches in Wakefield, RI and around New England.
Swami Tyagananda – Monk of the Ramakrishna Order since 1976, and is head of the Vedanta Society in Boston, and the Hindu Chaplain at MIT and Harvard. He has translated and edited ten books including his latest, “The Essence of the Gita” and “Interpreting Ramakrishna.” Today, he lectures and teaches at the Vedanta Society, MIT, Harvard and other universities and institutions throughout America.