Shanti Yoga Ashram
- Chandragiri, Machchegaun 5, Kathmandu, Nepal
Shanti Yoga Ashram was born out of a cluster of bungalows on personal land in the village of Machchhegaun. In this small, informal environment reminiscent of the ancient yogic guru-disciple tradition, Yogi Prakash imparted the wisdom of Tantra Yoga to whoever crossed his path. In 2001, he officially registered the ashram with the government. During these early years, in spite of the small scale of the ashram, Yogi Prakash managed to guide 3,000 people, Nepalese and foreigners alike, over the course of ten years. He spent two years spreading his teachings in Thailand, China and Austria. He wrote his book, Tantra Yoga, while living in China as a resident teacher. Despite these successes something was still missing. He felt that teaching yoga was incomplete – he had to bring the practice into the broader scope of social well-being, to take all that he learned and generated from his personal sadhana and offer it to the welfare of society. So he turned his attention towards bringing Tantra Yoga into the educational arena. The first manifestation of this goal took shape in the form of a yoga school for children. In 2001, his family housed and educated children in need, despite their lack of resources. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding this project was short-lived but would leave the seed for a second attempt.
In 2010, an 11 day program of Shiva Puran, the spiritual inauguration of the Shiva temple on the ashram property, instigated multiple changes in the ashram. Hundreds of people gathered around the Shiva mandir to welcome Lord Shiva (in yoga Shiva represents pure consciousness) and breathe change into the ashram. As Chairman of the ashram, Yogi Prakash announced that he wished to donate his family’s land to the cause of yoga, thus transforming the personal land into a trust. Inspired by the energy of the event, over 500 people contributed to program, of which 30 became lifelong members of the ashram.
In 2011, with the relentless determination of Yogi Prakash, his yogic family and relatives, Shanti Yoga Ashram established Divine Yoga School. To ensure this second effort would be successful, Yogi Prakash set out to create a rare kind of educational environment that would integrate the wisdom of yogic tradition on philosophical and practical levels with the more traditional academic skills to enable students to navigate the world with fluency. This philosophy is reflected in the name of the school: the word “yoga” meaning union, brings together the “Divine” and “School” in an unprecedented convergence rarely found in Nepal.
At around the same time as the school emerged, the family began the construction of the building that now stands four stories tall (the fourth floor is the large yoga hall with panoramic views of the Himalayas and the middle floors are for guest accommodations). Even with the development of Divine Yoga School and the expansion of the ashram well under way, Yogi Prakash found another way to express his vision of yoga in an academic context. In 2012, the ashram and the board of trustees began discussing the prospect of a year-long, university-accredited yoga program. Drawn from the collective vision of the ashram and visits to similarly structured yoga programs in India, the college, once fully implemented, will be the first of its kind in Nepal. As of today, no yoga university programs exist in Nepal and this college will provide academic along with practical teachings, residential facilities in an ashram setting an with a spiritual background.