Isha Yoga is a comprehensive modality of Yoga that offers many tools for personal growth and self-realization. It was created by Sadhguru Jagadish (Jaggi) Vasudev (born 1957), being part of the larger Isha Foundation, a non-profit spiritual organization, run mostly by volunteers, founded in 1992 near Coimbatore, India.
The Foundation’s Yoga Center offers many Isha Yoga programs, believed to provide the opportunity for self-discovery and learning the Yogic science under the guidance of a realized guru.
This unique yoga system designed by Jaggi Vasudev combines postural Yoga with chanting, breathing (pranayama) and meditation, making it a well-rounded Yoga practice for body and mind. Furthermore, Isha Yoga believes that our spiritual life is not separate from our worldly life — that is, work, social and family responsibilities, for example. With that in mind, it aims to provide a lifestyle that integrates all the aspects of life, and even use them as a tool or vehicle to reach the final goal of Self-Realization.
That is why the Isha Foundation is also very much busy with social and environmental initiatives and activities, mainly in the Tamil Nadu region of India but also abroad. We can give as examples projects which focus on reforestation and agroforestry; promote sports to rural communities with the aim to improve mental and physical well-being; and education initiatives to help raise literacy in rural India and raising awareness for different environmental causes.
The Isha Foundation makes clear that the Isha Yoga programs don’t require physical agility or previous knowledge of Yoga, as well as welcome individuals from all social and cultural backgrounds. What they claim to provide are methods and tools to attain physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, so being suited for any individual who is interested in reaching their full potential in life.
The Foundation, however, is part of some controversies and critics; allegedly its Yoga Center and activities have violated rules and regulations in India, and also Isha Yoga is considered a dangerous cult by some, with accusations of people being held against their will at the Center.