The Prama Institute is a seminar, research and retreat center located on the Ananda Marga Master Unit, Ananda Girisuta, outside Asheville, North Carolina, USA.
Inaugurated in the spring of 2007, the Prama Institute was co-founded by Dr. Sid Jordan, Dr. Howard Nemon, Pamela Nemon and Ramesh Bjonnes as a branch of the Ananda Marga Gurukula Network dedicated to organizing seminars on spirituality, sustainability, arts and culture.
The Prama Institute’s Executive Director is Dr. Sid Jordan, Pamela Nemon is Director of Facilities, and Ramesh Bjonnes is Marketing and Program Director.
The inaugural program featured internationally acclaimed poet Robert Bly and Palestinian filmmaker Hannah Elias. More than 300 people attended the Robert Bly reading, in which he read from a collection of his own recent poems as well as his own translations of sacred poetry from many cultures, including, Rumi, Kabir and Mirabai. A poetry workshop led by Bly the following day was attended by over 50 people, and more than 100 people came to the two screenings of Hannah Elias’s award winning film The Olive Harvest. This film—made with an Israeli crew and a Palestinian cast—has since then become an important educational tool in promoting peace in the Middle East.
Over the past 3 years, the Prama Institute has organized numerous public programs attended by several thousand people. These programs include: two popular Silent Yoga retreats, a sold out Day of Yoga program in collaboration with nearly a dozen local yoga groups, a concert with Grammy Nominated kirtan singer Jai Uttal, a popular Yoga Detox retreat with Acarya Dharmavedananda, three consecutive Ananda Marga Yoga Teachers’ Trainings, as well as an environmental conference co-sponsored with Warren Wilson College and the Wilderness Society, and many more.
In addition, the Prama Institute hosts many locally and nationally known spiritual, yoga and holistic groups, who come to the center to conduct seminars and enjoy the green built facilities, vegetarian cuisine, and beautiful natural surroundings. We have hosted several yoga and music festivals, as well as groups who bring internationally known workshop leaders to the area.