Following the grand opening event for the Prama Institute (PI) with poet Robert Bly and film writer/director Hanna Elias we have continued to create a schedule of events to provide community building, yoga teaching and artistic programs to the Asheville area.The first Asheville Spirit Festival co-sponsored by the PI and the MU began on Friday July 13, 2007 with a music concert that drew an audience of approximately 200 at the Unitarian Church in downtown Asheville that included the Kundalinii Express, pianist Richard Shulman, Dada Vedaprajiananda and Ken & Amy LaDeroute. The all day festival at the new amphitheater on Saturday July 14 at the PI drew several hundred and featured the music of Kundalinii Express (including Jyosna and Gita), the Free Planet Radio, Richard Shulman, Dada Nabhanilananda, Dada Vedaprajinananda, Caetanya (local kiirtan group); a film festival by Anadi; yoga workshop with Kaoverii and a meditation workshop with Dada Nabhanilananda. Several groups had booths for books, tapes and food. The Spirit Festival being planned for the coming year will include a well known headliner (negotiations are being conducted with Jai Uttal who is interested in participating) and the music of a variety of spiritual groups in a mela atmosphere.On July 21 and 22 Stephen Vinay Gunther, the director of the Northern Rivers Gestalt Institute, in Australia gave a workshop on Spirituality and Gestalt Therapy which explored the relationship between spirituality and psychotherapy, blocks to personal and spiritual growth. The participants spent most of this transformational workshop working on their personal blocks related to their earlier religious/spiritual experiences.
Ananda Marga Yoga Teacher training for 13 participants was conducted for three weeks from July 28 to August 19. The instructors, Acarya Vishvarupananda, Kristine Kaoverii Weber, Mahajyoti, and Viveka lived up to their advanced billing of “Our Yoga Teacher Training course is designed both as a mechanism for learning yogic practices and teaching techniques, and as a three week intense spiritual retreat to immerse oneself in the yoga lifestyle. We don’t just teach yoga; we live yoga.”
The PI has sponsored a number of other yoga teacher training events including Kaoverii’s Subtle Yoga Teacher Training on May 18-20 and Lilla’a Lighten Up Yoga September 21- 23. Yoga classes have included Josaphine Hernandez’s Vinyasa Yoga class August 31-September 2 and Moving Mantra Yoga November 2-4.Future events include Bud Harris Ph.D., Jungian therapist and author; offering a lecture and workshop on Becoming Whole as a Spiritual Necessity: A Jungian Guide for Renewing the Mystic Vision on November 9 and 10; Ganga Grace’s Indian Dance Program and workshop on December 8-9. Highlights for next year include a poetry reading and workshop with Robert Bly on March 28-29 and an environmental conference concerning the Southern Appalachian bioregion in the Fall.
The planning process concerning the development of the Didi’s MU, Dada’s MU where the PI is located and the family cooperative community are now being carried out with the help of a Coordinating Council. This council composed of 3 brothers and 3 sisters is working with the respective boards of the MU’s and those interested in the family coop development to provide integrated planning that is concerned with the diverse needs of these different groups within the Ananda Marga community of the Atlanta Region.