On behalf of everyone here at the Himalayan Institute, I wish you and your loved ones a joyful holiday season. As in years past, many of you have been instrumental in the Institute’s continued growth. We are very grateful to you for your contributions of time, financial assistance, and goodwill—and we hope that the coming year will fill you with blessings of peace.
We have had a very gratifying year both in Honesdale and abroad. Here are some of the major accomplishments of 2013. Please read on for the details:
- Led an inspiring pilgrimage to the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India
- Completed construction of our tranquil new meditation shrine and residential facility in Khajuraho, India
- Launched YogaInternational.com website, an entirely new way to study with us
- Built sparkling new accommodations in Honesdale (some with in-room bathrooms)
- Enhanced the lives of thousands in Mexico and in Cameroon, Africa through education initiatives to prevent disease and promote healthy living
- Created a beautiful commemorative space in Honesdale in honor of the Institute’s founder, Sri Swami Rama
- Completed phase one of a new septic field to support our main Honesdale accommodations (funds are still needed to support this $350,000 project)
Here’s how it all happened: The year began with five hundred guests embarking on a pilgrimage to the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India. This inspired (and massive) gathering occurred at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, a place of purification and “crossing over” that reminded us of the importance of culturing spiritual life. The Institute’s campus in Allahabad has turned green—a kind of oasis along the banks of one of the world’s holiest rivers.
The Kumbha Mela trip was combined with a residential stay at Khajuraho, our newly created campus located near a famed temple complex in north central India. As we had hoped, the campus offers an extraordinarily tranquil location for a meditative retreat. The Sri Vidya Temple there, completed just in time to host our pilgrimage, is a place of stillness and serenity. We anticipate many opportunities to travel there, imbibing the energies of the inner sanctum and meditating in the quiet meditation halls.
In order to make such trips happen, our most current project is the construction of a second residential facility at the Khajuraho campus. Work has already begun and we anticipate that the new building will be complete by late 2014.
June of the past year marked the eagerly anticipated launch of our new website, YogaInternational.com. If you haven’t visited us yet, now’s the time! The site is expanding rapidly. Here are some of the highlights:
- Launched YogaInternational.com as the vehicle for the Institute’s educational initiatives both online and through live retreats and seminars. New content published online daily
- More than 550,000 visits to the site since launch, engaging users from all over the world
- Introduced a new tier of monthly membership—Digital Membership—allowing students anywhere in the world to study with us. This tier now has over 2,000 members.
- Facebook social media reach at 152,000—up from 43,000 at June launch
Premium Membership remains a tremendous value, allowing students to attend live Honesdale workshops tuition-free. Premium members also receive full access online to eCourses, yoga classes, tutorials, guided relaxations and meditations, articles and more—all for only $299 per year!
Those who have taken advantage of the site report that it enables them to attend more programs, as well as revisit programs that would benefit from a second viewing. As a result, students from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, and North America have become active participants in the Institute’s work. We’re excited to launch even more features online in 2014. Stay tuned.
The humanitarian efforts of the Institute continue to blossom. Himalayan Institute members stepped in and helped fight dietary disease and obesity in Mexico..In response to the high rate of village mortality in Africa, the Himalayan Institute of Cameroon launched the Total Health Revolution. Through preventative health classes, mass media sensitization, and our mobile clinic, the Total Health Revolution reached 80,000 people.
Words can’t really tell the story. To get a better picture of the enthusiasm generated by these programs, visit our Humanitarian Project web page. There you will find photos and video clips showing just what the dedicated team from HI is helping to accomplish.
At home in Honesdale, things were just as active. In November we completed our second year in the Sri Vidya Shrine, created in the former living quarters of Sri Swami Rama. As we had hoped, the meditation space has become a focus for spiritual life on our campus. We dearly invite you to visit the shrine whenever you are here.
Over the early part of 2013 we remodeled a major portion of our guest facilities. New bathrooms are located mid-floor to make them easily accessible. In addition, six new suites, each with its own bath, have been added to the North Wing.
We have just opened a new meeting hall on campus—a hall that both commemorates the life and work of Sri Swami Rama and makes it possible to meet in a space surrounded by familiar reminders of his presence. It is a lovely and very tastefully designed space that we think will provide us (and you) with years of comfortable use.
Finally, we’re deeply grateful to many of you for your participation in Project Grace, the Grounds Repair and Campus Expansion Fund. We have completed phase one of the septic field expansion and many necessary repairs to our campus buildings. Stay up-to-date on our progress by visiting our Project Grace web page and help us ensure that our Honesdale campus remains strong and sustainable.
Thank you for the support you’ve already given and for your continued generosity in the future. We look forward to carrying the Institute’s mission forward together.
Rolf Sovik, PsyD