- Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy
- (est. 1971)The Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy was founded in 1971 by Swami Rama (1925–96); first based in Illinois, headquarters were moved to Honesdale, Penn-sylvania, in 1977. The institute promotes its founder’s teachings on mind-body consciousness. Courses in holistic health, HATHA YOGA, RAJA YOGA, MEDITATION, and psychology are offered there. Raja yoga, considered the royal road of yoga, is promoted as a prime way to balance mind, body, and spirit. Swami Rama always aimed to awaken the nascent consciousness, bolster its energy, and raise spiritual intensity so that the individual blends with the Universal Self. He advocated what he termed super conscious MEDITATION, a system that included relaxation, prana (breathing), ASA-NAS (postures), and chants, or MANTRAS.After being orphaned at an early age, Swami Rama was raised by an accomplished yogi from Bengal. He spent time as a child and young man in the cave monasteries of the HIMALAYAS. He was an adept pupil eager to learn, and in 1949 he attained the level of Shankaracharya, a title that was con-sidered a great honor. He gave up his title in 1952 and committed himself to an arduous discipline in order to prepare himself for attaining and teaching the highest spirituality.In 1969 Swami Rama ventured to the United States; he became a research consultant for the Menninger Foundation Research Project, which viewed his project on voluntary control of exter-nal states as worthy of research. Little was known about how to induce the body to override the involuntary, autonomous nervous system. Swami Rama began to work with the husband-and-wife team of Elmer and Alyce Green, the on-site psy-chologists. He demonstrated an uncanny ability to control physical feats and body functions. His extraordinary skills offered significant material for laboratory analysis of mind-body connections.The Himalayan Institute has published over 80 books on meditation and philosophy. It also publishes the bimonthly Yoga International. There are 37 branches, serving an international market, with affiliated centers in the United States, Can-ada, India, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Trinidad, Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy Curaçao, and Malaysia. In 2002, there were 1,500 members in the United States alone. Swami Rama died on November 13, 1996, without naming a successor. The institute carries on his work.Further reading: Swami Rama, Freedom from the Bond-age of Karma, 2d ed. (New York: Himalayan Institute Press; n.d.); ———, Living with the Himalayan Masters (New York: Himalayan Institute Press, 1978); ———, Path of Fire and Light, Vol. 1, Advanced Practices of Yoga (New York: Himalayan Institute Press, 1986); ———, Sacred Journey: Living Purposefully and Dying Grace-fully (Detroit: Lotus Press, n.d.); ———, Samadhi: The Highest State of Wisdom, Vol. 1, Yoga the Sacred Science (Detroit: Lotus Press., n.d.).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.