Dr. Alok Pandey is a seeker for the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo. His true identity is that of being The Mother’s child as all other identities are temporary formations of nature subject to mutation and change.
For purpose of record however, he has graduated in medicine from the Armed Forces Medical College Pune in 1981, and then completed his postgraduate in Psychiatry from the same college. He is presently engaged with the Indian Air Force as associate professor of Psychiatry in Bangalore.
Besides his vocation, he has an interest in poetry and is also contributing editor of NAMAH (New Approaches to Medicine and Health), a journal dedicated towards developing a new vision of health as inspired by Sri Aurobindo. Towards this end he has been writing articles as well as delivering talks on subjects related to yoga, psychology, education, health etc.
He hopes and aspires to become a bridge between the new knowledge of the future and our present paradigms born of the recent past.
Presentation: New Yoga of Earth // A spiritualized humanity // The old world and the new world // Beyond religions, cults & sects // The New Path // Children of the Future // Times of Transition
Narad (Richard Eggenberger) is a longtime member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville as well as a musician, poet, landscaper, horticulturist, and gardener.
As a youth he took voice lessons and prepared for an operatic career at the Metropolitan Opera on a scholarship from one of the leading mezzo sopranos of the day, Regina Resnick.
When he was 23, he came to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and had his first darshan of the Mother, who made him an ashramite and gave him permission to teach music in the ashram school. He formed an ashram choir that soon built a program of choral music covering many centuries. Mother also gave him the task of bringing down “the new music.”
Narad went back to U.S. in 1962, working with a landscape design and installation firm and attending college to learn plant combination theory and other aspects of subtropical horticulture.
In 1969, he returned to Pondicherry, where Mother gave him the task of creating a beautiful garden for the Matrimandir. In the early 1970s he set up the Matrimandir Nursery for collecting, studying, and propagating rare and beautiful plants from all over the world. He worked personally with the Mother on the spiritual significances of flowers and edited the book, ‘Flowers and Their Messages’, the first book published by the ashram on the spiritual significance of flowers. Mother also gave Narad the work of reading ‘Savitri’ every week under the banyan, which he did for 10 years.
In the 1980s, Narad returned to the U.S., where he continued to extend his deep knowledge of plants and trees and to collect specimens for the Ashram and Auroville. He is past president of the Plumeria Society of America and is the author of numerous books and articles on tropical plants.
Meanwhile, after more than four decades of listening to thousands of works of music, seeking the new music everywhere, and singing (though not often, having given up all thought of a concert career), Narad had the insight that the new music was to descend in a collective body — one body with many tones, opening in surrender and aspiration. About seven years ago he began the OM choirs, which have brought a new kind of conscious music to the Ashram, Auroville, and many places around the world.
Presentation: Om choir // Savitri readings // Nature walks // Connecting & Finding Divinity in Nature
Dr. Suneet Varma is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Delhi, Delhi (India). Dr. Varma’s most recent work focuses on Indian perspectives on Yoga Psychology, Buddhist Psychology, and their links with Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Psychology. Dr. Varma’s current work deals with spirituality and healing, personal growth and well-being. His work been recognized by the Indian Council for Social Sciences Research and Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.
Presentation: Emotions and their transformation in Integral Yoga- I // Experiential (entirely music based): The God-ward emotions // Emotions and their transformation in Integral Yoga- II // Experiential (entirely music based): Psychic awakening
Sraddhalu Ranade is a scientist, educator, and scholar at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He possesses a deep belief in the universality of the experience of oneness. Ranade spends a great deal of time delivering talks, seminars, and workshops on many topics he is passionate about including; Integral Education, Management, Self-Development, Indian culture, science and spirituality, and yoga. In the last few years, he has benefited over 4500 teachers at more than 200 schools and colleges all over India through his programs.
Presentation: Sri Aurobindo and the Supermind // Supermind in the Veda // The Supramental Manifestation in 1956 // Working of the Supramental in the World Today & the Mind of Light // The Mother’s Work on Cellular Transformation & the Destiny of the Body // Video on “Life after Life” with Commentary // Birth of a New World
Known by appreciative students across the country as “the queen of alignment,” yoga instructor and author Lillah Schwartz brings the benefits of her 35 years’ training with yoga experts such as BKS Iyengar, Aadil Palkhivala, Eric Small, Mathew Sanford and others to the Southeast region and, through her workshops, to studios across the eastern and central U.S.
She pioneered the Iyengar method in North Carolina from 1981, led the way to establishing Asheville as a yoga destination, and held an Iyengar teaching certificate from 1985-2009.
Lillah is well known for her excellence in the therapeutic applications of yoga. Her “Healing Our Backs with YogaTM” program brings the science and spirit of yoga to hundreds of people each year who have connected with their healing potential, overcome their pain, and improved their functional ability with her guidance. Her program is a registered yoga therapy course with IAYT.
“Aside from my 35 years of teaching experience, my strength as a teacher is my versatility in teaching. I can teach from the neuromuscular point of view, from the point of view of the organ systems, or from connection to the pranic field. The application of one system or the other depends on the needs of my students.”
“I am delighted to be invited by Dr. Sarkar to teach the yoga classes at The Shri Aurobindo retreat in 2016. I have attended the retreat several times and continue to study and be inspired by his teachings and those of the Mother.”
Through her popular DVDs, “Yoga: Your Freedom from Back Pain” and “Yoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder Pain,” Lillah brings the essence of dynamic alignment and yoga wisdom home in a practical, safe and unique way. Recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, Prevention Magazine and Yoga Journal, Booklist calls them “an excellent resource for beginning yoga enthusiasts.” Watch for Lillah’s upcoming book, Healing Our Backs with YogaTM, a layman’s guide to back pain relief, which is set for publication in January 2016.
In addition to her weekly classes and individual yoga therapy sessions, she offers true transformation at her yearly 200-hour and unique 300/500-hour Transformation Yoga Teacher Training programs.
“Lillah has both the knowledge and the passion to fulfill her mission of helping others on the path towards Dharma, the very reason for the practice of yoga. I recommend Lillah with all my heart.” —Aadil Palkhivala, Purna Yoga founder and author of Fire of Love.
Presentation: Asanas and Pranayama
Ms. Merriam began working in the inter-faith movement in the late 1990s when she served as Vice Chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nation in New York in the year 2000. She subsequently convened a meeting of women religious and spiritual leaders at the Palais des Nations in Geneva and from that gathering founded the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW) in 2002, an organization chaired by a multi-faith group of women spiritual leaders.
For over 35 years, Dena Merriam has been a student of Paramahansa Yogananda and a practitioner of Kriya Yoga meditation. She is also a long time student of the great texts of the Vedic tradition. Ms. Merriam received her Master’s Degree from Columbia University and has served on the boards of the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, The Interfaith Center of New York, the Manitou Foundation, The All India Movement (AIM) for Seva, Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association, and Seven Pillars. In 2014 she received the Niwano Peace Prize for her interfaith peace efforts.
Presentation: Video on “Life after Life” with Commentary // Reflections on Time, Samskara and the Self