My path to the yoga center began in 2007, with a weekend visit to the Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley. At the time, my experience with yoga had been a weekly class through a local gym. An article in the travel section of the Chronicle brought me to the Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley. Not at all knowing what to expect, I found myself feeling at home, literally, within minutes. Within 4 weeks, I was on a plane for Christmas week at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas. When I arrived back in the Bay area, I discovered the Vishnu-devananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Berkeley through Swami Padma in San Fransisco Sivananda Center (which I had found on the website.) I began with the beginner course, and have been attending classes and day retreats on a pretty regular basis for the past 2 years. I live in Pleasanton and drive to Berkeley to go to the Center. Yes, there is Yoga in Pleasanton, but no, it is not the spiritual oasis that I have found at the Center. Through slow and (usually) steady steps, yoga has influenced my life these past 2 years, in a very positive way. I am interested, and excited to learn. I find Gajananam to be a patient and thoughtful teacher, one whom I know I can learn from. My fellow yogis come from a variety of backgrounds, and are always welcoming and inspiring to be with.
This summer I took the opportunity to go on the Vishnu-devananda Center's annual retreat to India. Truly, this was a life changing experience for me. With the full impact of my short time there still not fully realized. I have 2 grown children who, while not yogis themselves, are truly grateful that their mom has found a path in life that has brought our relationships closer. Even as a beginner in the yoga lifestyle, I find the benefits to both my physical and mental well being to be pretty amazing. I can truly say I have found a home at the Vishnu-devananda Yoga Center in Berkeley.
We so much enjoyed the visit to India during August 2009 that was organized by Gajananam and the Vishnu-devananda Yoga Center. My wife, daughter and self accompanied the group and each of us found the trip to be fun, educational and enlightening. I have known Gajananam for many years so knew that the retreat would be a success due to his in-depth knowledge of yoga and Indian culture. We were fortunate to practice yoga and meditation in the Himalayas - a dream for many spiritual aspirants, and to meet yogis and saints who don't seek publicity. My wife and daughter, who are both new to yoga also thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip, and have since delved into yoga practice themselves!