Ananda Gallery
Ashram Links Home
Yoga Life Magazine
Shri Kambliswamy Madam

International Centre for Yoga
Education and Research (ICYER)
Kottakuppam, TN- 605 104, India

Yoganjali Natyalayam
25, II Cross, Iyyana Nagar,
Pondicherry-605 013

Yoga Jivana Satsangha (International)
Thattanchavady, Pondicherry-605 009

Pondicherry Yogasana Association
25, II Cross, Iyyana Nagar,
Pondicherry-605 013

ICYER International Yoga Teachers Training Course Ananda Ashram Courses 2003

INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR YOGA EDUCATION AND RESEARCH AND YOGANJALI NATYALAYAM This Yoga Education and Research Centre of international repute has been established since 1968. Pondicherry is its International Headquarters with sixty-five affiliated centres in twenty-two countries. It was founded by the world reknown Guru and Ashtanga Yoga exponent YOGAMAHARISHI Dr. SWAMI GITANANDA GIRI GURU MAHARAJ, who is considered as one of the five leading exponents of Ashtanga Yoga in the twentieth century. Hailed as the "Father of Scientific Yoga", Swamiji attained Samadhi on December 29, 1993 in Pondicherry. ICYER has three branches in Pondicherry : Its Residential Centre and Hostel on the shores of the Bay of Bengal six kilometres north of Pondicherry on the East Coast Highway; its city centre YOGANJALI NATYALAYAM in Central Pondicherry; and its spiritual and religious centre SRI KAMBLISWAMY MADAM in Thattanchavady behind JIPMER Hospital.

ICYER publishes books on Yoga and Indian Cultural arts, a monthly International journal "Yoga Life" and offers a 52-Lesson Correspondence Course in Yoga. Its main service is the conducting of a Six Month International Yoga Teachers Training Course from October 2nd through March 25th each year. This Internationally Recognized Yoga Training Course has been held each year without a break since 1968. ICYER now also offers a One-Year International Diploma in Yoga Education. Newly Instituted in October 2001.

1. Special Ten-Lesson Package Courses in Yoga according to time schedule of tourists
2. Lecture - Demonstrations on the subject of Yoga in ICYER premises or in premises of Star Hotel upon prior arrangements.
3. Special Demonstration of Yoga Asanas on prior arrangements.
4. Special Lecture - Demonstration and Performance of Bharat Natyam featuring difficult acrobatic positions on prior arrangement either in Star Hotel or ICYER premises.
5. Attendance at Hindu Puja and Celebrations by special prior arrangements.
6. Carnatic Vocal Concerts or Lecture Demonstration with English explanation by prior arrangements either at ICYER premises or Star Hotel.
7. Yoganjali Natyalayam presents many spectacular Bharat Natyam programmes forpublic each year at Kamban Kalai Arangam. These are open to passing Tourists.

For details contact : CHAIRMAN :YOGACHARYA Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, M.B.B.S., ADY


Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj.
Mahasamadhi Dec 29th, 1993

Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani
Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani was born to the world famous Yoga Team of Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj and Puduvai Kalaimamani, Yogamani, Yogacharini, Smt. Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani at Pondicherry, South India. He was reared in the 'Gurukula' atmosphere of Ananda Ashram, first at Lawspet and then at Sri Kambliswamy Madam in Thattanchavady, Pondicherry. Nominated as his Guru Father's successor on his fourth birthday itself as Madathipathi of Sri Kambliswamy Madam, Ananda took great interest in the Hindu Rites and Rituals, Mantra, Yoga and the Carnatic Fine Arts from a young and tender age. At school (Bhavan's Gandhi

Vidyashram,Kodaikanal ) he was awarded the "K.S. Jayarama Iyer Award for Best Instrumentalist" for three successive years. He has performed innumerable vocal and instrumental recitals all over India including in Bombay, Dehra Dun, Chennai, Cochin, Kodaikanal, Bangalore and Pondicherry. He has written a book on Yoga for Children at the age of 12 years itself. During his Medical Studies he was the top student in a class of one hundred in all exams and secured Distinction in Surgery and a Gold Medal in Community Medicine in his final year, topping about 500 students from the five Medical Colleges affiliated to Nagpur University, Maharashtra. He was also the Student Representative at Medical College. Later he did his internship at JIPMER, the world famous Central Government Hospital in Pondicherry, India. He was a performer of Bharat Natyam and has performed all over India and notably at the ABHAI Dance Festival in 1992. Following his father's Maha Samadhi on Dec. 29 - 1993 he has stopped his dance performances and instead, focussed his attention on Dance Choreography especially in the rhythmic aspect, for Yoganjali Natyalayam. As a Carnatic Vocalist he has released two albums of which "THE YOGA OF SOUND" has the unique blend of English lyrics with Carnatic Raga and Tala in an attempt to "bridge the gap between East and West". The second Album 'TAMIL INBAM' is a collection of Tamil Compositions in Carnatic Music, showing his deep love for the Tamil language. He is a regular performer at cultural programmes in and around Pondy and has performed at the International Yoga Festival, Government Music Festival, Millennium Sunrise Festival, Thiagaraja Festival and Eswaran Koil Kumbabhishekam in Pondicherry as well as for innumerable conferences and special events. He is well known for his spontaneous imagination in the concerts and for his explanations on the Yogic aspects of Carnatic Music. He has been a featured speaker at many Yoga conferences and is a regular featured speaker at the International Yoga Festival conducted by the Government of Pondicherry. He has also been Co-ordinator of the Yoga Asana Competition held at the Yoga Festival. He is the Secretary of the Pondicherry Yogasana Association. He is a 'B' Grade Mridungist recognised by All India Radio. He is a life member of ABHAI (Association of Bharat Natyam Artists of India), IMA (IndianMedical Association) and the INDIAN ACADEMY OF YOGA, Banaras Hindu University. He is the Patron of the SANATHANA DHARMA SANGHA, the Hindu Movement in Italy and Europe. He is the staff artist of 'YOGA LIFE' International, monthly journal and is well known for his 'Yoga Cartoons' on Yogic concepts and modern day Yogis. At present he is a Senior Research Fellow in JIPMER, Pondicherry.

About the general Secretary Yogacharini DEVASENA BHAVANANI,M.A.,B.P.A.,D.Y.,

Yogacharini DEVASENA BHAVANANI, wife of Dr. Ananda Bhavanani,is a professional Bharat Natyam Artist and Carnatic Vocalist, as well as a well trained Yoga Teacher and demonstrator. Recepient of many awards and scholarships in dance, music and Yoga,she presently holds a Bharat Natyam Followship awarded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi. Smt. Devasena Bhavanani is also the Director, Department of Dance,Music and Sanskrit at ICYER and Yoganjali Natyalayam.
MEENAKSHI DEVI BHAVANANI Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani was born in the United States but came to India to study Yoga at the age of 25 and fell in love with the country and its culture. She has lived in India ever since, and received Indian citizenship on November 30, 1992, in her own words "the proudest day of my life". She met her Guru in Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj, a world reknown expert on Ashtanga Yoga as well as a medical doctor, in 1968 and since that time has devoted her life to his teachings and to institutions founded by him.

"Although Pondicherry has many yoga learning centres, there are two Yoga Institutions which are World Reknown, The Aurobindo Ashram and the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research, popularly known as Ananda Ashram."

(Taken from text of advertising supplement, commissioned by Government of Pondicherry in the THE HINDU, Monday, May 31, 1999 - PONDICHERRY MARCHES AHEAD - A FEATURE).

She took up the study of Bharat Natyam under world reknown Guru Padma Shri Adyar K Lakshmanan in 1975, following the Kalakshetra style. She has been instrumental in training more than 10,000 village children in the art and science of Yoga and Bharat Natyam since 1975. She is a journalist by profession and her articles and essays appear in national and international magazines and newspapers. She has been editor of the international magazine Yoga Life since 1970 and is Managing Editor of the Ashram's publishing unit Satya Press. She is Director of Studies for the Six Month International Yoga Teachers Training Course offered annually at ICYER from October 2nd to March 25th, as well as for the year-long International Diploma in Yoga Education offered from October, 2001 at ICYER. She is a popular Conference and Seminar speaker. She has been Organising Secretary for five major International Yoga Conferences, the most recent being the Fourth Decennial and Millennium Meet of Teachers of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga, January 23rd through February 5th, 2000 in Pondicherry. She is a prolific author and has written five books, including two books of poetry. She has been recipient of many National Awards. She was awarded the title "Yogamani" in 1986 by the President of India Shri Zail Singh Ji at Asian Village, New Delhi. In 1998 she was awarded the National Award, Bhaskar Award by Bharat Nirman and Indian Trade Promotion Organisation, New Delhi, one of fifty eminent Indians so honoured during the 50th year of Indian Independence for their contribution to Indian culture and spirituality.In January 1999 she was given the highest award by the Pondicherry Government for an artist, the Puduvai Kalaimamani Award for her work in Bharat Natyam. In December 1999 she was named as an eminent Yoga expert to a three year tenure on the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, under the Health Ministry, Government of India, New Delhi and she was named to the Finance Committee of this Council in March 2000. She was named to Academic Council, Pondicherry University, in March 2000. She was awarded a Gold Medal by Government of Pondicherry for her work in Bharat Natyam on February 26, 2001. She is Director of Yoganjali Natyalayam, a popular City Centre for the propagation of Yoga, Bharat Natyam and Carnatic Music and has developed a famous Bharat Natyam troupe which appears regularly in prestigious festivals and also stages spectacular Bharat Natyam and Yoga programmes yearly in Pondicherry. She has worked tirelessly to reinstate the ancient acrobatic Natya Karanas into the Bharat Natyam repetorie. About the Chairman Yogacharya, Palkalai Chemmal

"The son of a Sindhi father and an Irish mother, he went to England at the age of sixteen and spent most of his professional life as a physician in the West, holding many posts with the World Health Organization. Upon returning to India in 1968, he founded the Ananda Ashram in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, which now has seventy-five centers around the world. Apart from training thousands of western Yoga students, he was also a leading cultural figure in South India. The Kambliswamy Yoga and Cultural Arts Program launched by him has provided training in Yoga and classical dance and music for over 20,000 village children. Swami Gitananda Giri also wrote twenty-five books and published the monthly magazine YOGA LIFE for a quarter of a century".

(Excerpted from Pg 105-106, The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga by Georg Feuerstein, Ph. D., published from Boston, Massachussetts, USA, 1997, 357 pp.)

A Master Yogi and great Spiritual Teacher, Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri had the unique talent of infusing the mystic insights of the Rishis into practical life. The exponent of a Bengali Tantric tradition which stretches back hundreds of years, Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri, a medical doctor and scientist, was able to express the abstract ancient insights in practical modern terms. One of the greatest Masters of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga in the twentieth century, Yogamaharishi Dr Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj of Pondicherry, India, was a brilliant and dynamic Guru known affectionately as THE LION OF PONDICHERRY. He taught hundreds of thousands of persons worldwide the intricate and demanding art and science of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga, through his books, his magazine articles, his monthly magazine YOGA LIFE, and his nine world tours in which he lectured and taught hundreds of thousands of seeking spirits worldwide. His influence on the modern world of Yoga is immense. A medical doctor by profession, the Yogamaharishi took Sanyas at the age of 55, returned to his Indian roots and set up three institutions in Pondicherry, South India. He was named Madathipathy of Sri Kambliswamy Madam in 1975 and carried out his religious duties scrupulously. He founded Ananda Ashram (1968) and later, the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (1989) on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, eight kilometres north of Pondicherry. He also founded in March 1993 a flourishing City Centre, known as YOGANJALI NATYALAYAM, to teach the Hindu cultural arts of Bharat Natyam and Carnatic Music, as well as Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga to the local populace. Throughout, his approach was scientific, rational and systematic. Many praised him as "The Father of Modern Scientific Yoga". He was also one of the pioneers in bringing the concepts of traditional Yoga to the Western mind. On December 20, 1986, Swami Gitananda Giri was awarded the title "YOGA SHIROMANI" by the then President of India Shri Zail Singh Ji, at the World Yoga Conference held in Asian Village, New Delhi.He personally taught an intensive Six Month International Yoga Teachers Training Course in his Pondicherry Ashram for twenty-five years from 1968. On March 10, 1986, Swami Gitananda had been appointed to Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi. He served in this position till his Mahasamadhi. Swami Gitananda cooperated and served as advisor to Government in organising the First International Yoga Festival in Pondicherry sponsored by Department of Tourism, in January 1993. Since then, the Festival has been held yearly from January 4th to 7th, and Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani continues to act as advisor for this grand event. Her services and that of Swami Gitananda are regularly and publicly appreciated by the Pondicherry Government at this festival. Swami Gitananda was given so many other honours, including the honour of being the First Vice-President of the All India Association of Mutts and Ashrams based in Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu to which he was elected in 1983. The organisation was headed by the Presidentship of the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi. To name Swamiji's accomplishment would take volumes and indeed, volumes have been written on him. No history of Yoga in modern times is complete without reference to his name. He is the author of twenty-two books on Yoga, has conducted five World Conferences on Yoga, heads an international organisation with centres in twenty countries. More than 135 centres of Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga are established worldwide, with thousands of Ashtanga Yoga teachers trained by him now actively propagating not only Yoga, but various aspects of Indian culture. He was part of the intellectual community of Yoga practitioners, and was the Chief Patron of the prestigious Indian Academy of Yoga, centred at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Utter Pradesh. He has done large amounts of scientific Research in Yoga, and has more than fifty scientific and semi scientific papers to his credit. His work is often cited as references in Yoga research projects worldwide. He has been called the "Father of Modern Scientific Yoga". He is considered one of the five major authorities on Ashtanga Yoga in the twentieth century. The great Yogi attained Mahasamadhi on December 29, 1993, at the age of eighty-seven years.

His work and teachings are being carried on by his son and successor Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani who is a qualified medical doctor and Swamiji's wife-disciple Yogacharini, Kalimamani Smt Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani who is the resident Acharya of Ananda Ashram. The intensive Six Month International Yoga Teachers Training Course is continuing every year under their guidance and has recently been upgraded to a One Year Training Course from 2001-2002.

"Who me??? I wouldn't say that!!! NOooooooooo" Swamiji in Ananda Ashram Lecture hall: February 2002
Enjoying a Cuppa