A “community of yoga” seeks to serve the entire scope of our life and is meant to support those who practice a spiritual and holistic lifestyle in both thought and action. Just as our inner life is supported by the values that we live by, our outer life too, needs support.
Before we go on, let’s explore why we call it “a community of yoga.” One definition of “community” is “A group of people having a particular characteristic in common, or a feeling of fellowship as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, and means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite.” As a spiritual discipline and lifestyle, yoga seeks to bring body, mind and soul in union with the Higher Self. Thus “a community of yoga” is a group of people who feel a sense of commonality from their mutual spiritual and holistic interests, and who strive for spiritual upliftment as an important aspect of their life.
You are, perhaps, familiar with the saying by Paramhansa Yogananda, “Environment is stronger then will power.” We often don’t realize the immense effect our environment has on virtually every aspect of our life – our consciousness, our emotional state, our thoughts, our physical health. Except by strengthening ourselves from within, we have little means of self-protection as we interact in the vast and varying intentions found in everyday society. Consequently, if one is able, there is a lot to be said for surrounding ourselves in an uplifting environment.
In service to that intention, Inner Path endeavors to support that specific community by providing living and working environments that honor the inner life and higher values that we seek to nurture. The world so desperately needs opportunities for a supportive and uplifting lifestyle and one not limited to just our personal home or local church. In this case, we are referring to some very practical aspects of our lives, such as our neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers, health centers, elder care facilities, places of work, places of upliftment and, of course, also, the products and services that each of these offer.
Inner Path is dedicated to supporting that community but, to be honest, simply constructing homes, businesses, and other services, in and of itself, will not create an atmosphere supportive of higher consciousness. It will just create an outer shell. Just like the effort of each spiritual aspirant, it’s really the “inner path” of our lives, and how we express it outwardly that makes the difference. Thus, those who maintain these projects need to make the same spiritual effort and express the same divine truths that, individually, sustain us and help us grow.
Briefly, here are some of the projects that we seek to develop. It is our hope that the examples listed below will be developed in large cities and small towns alike. As of this writing, our intention is to develop such projects in Los Angeles and Nevada City, California.
One World Communities – Ashram houses, garden apartments, cohousing communities and entire neighborhoods, for those who practice yoga and meditation or other forms of going within. Just as you see apartment complexes that specialize in wonderful fitness centers, the One World Communities would support your need for an inner life. Such communities actually already exist, but they are few and far between., and often only accept members of their specific belief system. Our goal would be to make them much more prevalent and open to people of all spiritual backgrounds. Some of the amenities would include a hatha yoga room with daily instruction, a meditation hall, a library, beautiful gardens, and regularly scheduled events such as group meals, classes, special events and service days.
One World Retirement and Hospice Centers – Coming to terms with aging and impending death can be a lonely and isolating time, difficult for both the elderly and their loved ones. The purpose of the One World Retirement and Hospice Center is to help maintain an uplifted atmosphere and provide the love, service, and emotional and spiritual support, that is of particular importance at this time of transition. The great yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda, states that we enter the astral plane with the same level of consciousness in which we depart the physical body. Thus, we can offer a great service to those in transition by helping them to uplift their consciousness and feel comfortable with the transition known as death; to enter it without fear or foreboding, without regret, ready for a new and uplifting life on the astral plane. What a great and wondrous blessing.
Pilgrims Hostel – By definition a hostel is an establishment which provides inexpensive food and lodging for a specific group of people, such as students, workers, or travelers. A pilgrims hostel is meant, specifically, to meet the needs of visiting travelers who have come for spiritual reasons, or have a strong spiritual aspect to their lives, and desire an environment that supports their spiritual inclinations. The hostel would include a yoga studio, meditation room and library. What you wouldn’t see there are televisions, loud music, drugs and alcohol. The visiting “pilgrims” would be expected to assist with meal prep, and house and yard chores, as a means of giving back for what they’ve received.
Whole Life Centers and Whole Life Shopping Centers – A shopping center with all the services you need to maintain a sattvic lifestyle. What is offered at each specific Center will depend on its location and other considerations. Some of the expected services include the following: a natural foods market, vegetarian restaurants, a natural clothing store, a thrift store, a green living store, a body-mind-spirit book and gift shop, a yoga and meditation center, and an alternative health care center. The shopping center would also have outdoor activities such as a farmers market, sufi dancing and special events for children.
Education for Life Schools – Private or charter schools (K-12) that emphasize character and consciousness development as well as academic excellence. Education for Life is a formal school system developed by Swami Kriyananda of Ananda. The organization’s stated mission is “To provide students with a balanced education of the body, feelings, will, and intellect in preparation for using life’s diverse challenges to discover ever-deeper levels of purpose and happiness.” It could be that programs of other school systems such as Montessori Schools and Sathya Sai Baba’s, Teach Human Values, are used as well.
Higher Mind Business Parks – One might not think of a business park as being an uplifting place to be, or even needing to be uplifting., but higher consciousness is important, no matter where we go, and our workplace is no exception. The benefit is not only for our individual well-being, but perhaps even more importantly, because it is often the beginning point from where we develop and offer services and ideas that may touch hundreds of thousands of other people. A Higher Mind Business Park supports that intention by providing benefits not found in the usual work place. Benefits such as a meditation room, a yoga studio, a health oriented snack bar or luncheon area, uplifting music, and when possible, a natural outdoor environment for restful breaks.
Inner Path Yoga and Meditation Centers – Unlike a yoga studio whose primary emphasis is classes in hatha yoga,, the Inner Path Center is dedicated to offering a variety of classes and services that uplift the attendees in body, mind and soul. Our Nevada City Center, for example, includes two yoga studios, a meditation room, healing room, lending library, and one of the largest selections of yoga and meditation products in Northern California. It’s open 7 days a week and is a vibrant, active place with classes and events representing a wide range of spiritual teachings. By so doing we seek to honor the diversity of pathways to our True Oneness, and the unifying beauty of each of our souls.
Yoga and Health Retreats – Our vision for the yoga and health retreat is a facility that offers life changing health therapies, lifestyle education, and an understanding of the full spectrum of yogic principles.. At the same time, much like the Inner Path Yoga and Meditation Center, the retreat would also serve as a facility for a wide spectrum of workshops and events of a health and spiritual nature. In this case, however, the events could be for numerous days at a time with the opportunity of room and board for the attendees.
Multidisciplinary Health Centers – Natural or complementary health care is becoming more common every day, but is still often applied in a manner that forces one to choose between natural and allopathic methods of care.. The purpose of the multidisciplinary health center is to allow both allopathic and naturopathic methods to work together in a complementary and progressive manner, and to address the patient as a body-mind-spirit whole, rather then isolating disease as a singular event. The goal, too, is to help break through the present health insurance model that supports the allopathic/pharmaceutical relationship and dissuades use of other methods of health care.
Transitional Housing Programs (Seva House) – Seva House is intended to support young adults who have aged out of the foster care program. The goal is to provide a long term program that allows our attendees the opportunity to develop the broad range of skills so necessary for a successful future. In addition to room and board, we would endeavor to provide educational and job skill development, training in all aspects of yoga, meditation and consciousness, interpersonal skill development, relationship counseling, financial education, confidence building and problem solving skills. Other services that may develop include programs for women in need, and for those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
World Peace Gardens – The purpose of the World Peace Gardens is to create an inspiring sanctuary for those seeking peace and inward reflection. Our goal is to develop either a large singular garden or smaller individual gardens that honor the major world religions, as well as one dedicated to world peace. It is our hope that each aspect of the spiritually themed gardens be designed and partially maintained by members of that faith. Depending on space availability other additions could include a large labyrinth, and a prayer wall where guests can list people or situations in need.
These projects are being developed through the work of Inner Path, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and Rajarshi Social Enterprises, a for profit development corporation. Both organizations were founded by John Ernst.
Your support, through donations, services and investments, would be greatly appreciated.