1998, January – Regular practice sessions begin at Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, Lanham, MD
2000-2004 – Training sessions for new people over 4 to 6 week period
2004, Fall – University of Maryland sessions begin in College Park, MD
2005, May – Evening sessions begin at Narayanan’s home in Silver Spring, MD on one week day – began on Thursdays when University was not in session, then moved to Tuesdays and now on Wednesdays.
2005, November 19 – Retreat to discuss yoga, the nature of practices and understanding life through yoga
2005, December 5 – Commemoration Dinner of the Yoga group
2006, February – Discovery of AtmaVyakta Mudra
2006, March 2 – Presentation at the Washington Naval Yard, DC
2006, March – Discovery of Tryambaka Kriya
2006, March 24-26 – First Introductory Yoga Retreat in Silver Spring, MD
2006, April 2 – First teacher training session
2006, April 8 – Life in Yoga Foundation formed
2006, April 9 – New weekly session begin at JSS Mission in Gaithersburg, MD
2006, June-July – First course on Yogic Management of Asthmatic Problems
2006, August 3 – Beginning of River Road, Potomac session on Thursday evenings
2006, September – Discovery of Atma Poorna Mudra
2006, October – Creation of Dance Yoga regimen
2006, November - Statement of Life in Yoga 5 Fold Approach
2007, September - Development of 3 Exericise Methods or Formats
2008, May - Statement of Life in Yoga 5 by 3 by 1 Approach
2008, June - Development of Gentle Yoga Regimen
2009, January - Weekend course format instead of Retreats
2009, February 4 - Indian Express in Chennai under their 'Express Buzz' section reported on Dance Yoga demonstration by Dr. Rajan Narayanan.
2009, May - Beginning of Yoga Sutra session Course
2009, December - Presented Dance Yoga Course in Vivekananda University, Bangalore, India
2010, Plans to lauch CME courses in Yoga Therapy for Physicians.
THE UNPLANNED BEGINNING
In January 1998, following a two week course on Yoga by Swami Bua of New York, a group of people began doing Yoga every Saturday morning in the premises of Sri Siva Vishnu Temple at Lanham, Maryland. These practices included physical yoga exercises, breathing exercises, and mantra-based meditation.
As more beginners wanted to join the practices, beginners training classes were held over 4 to 6 weekly sessions, each of duration 2 to 3 hours. Such sessions would cover both the practices and theory of Yoga, while the Saturday morning sessions were considered as a time for group practice. Such training sessions held were typically once or twice a year. On two occasions, between 2001 and 2003, upon the request of Rajdhani Mandir, a temple in Northern Virginia, Dr. C. Rajan Narayanan, the principal teacher at that time, also conducted these training sessions over 4 to 6 weeks. A weekend practice group also began in that temple.
Since Fall of 2004, Dr. C. Rajan Narayanan began teaching breathing and meditation techniques at the University of Maryland, College Park, one evening, typically on Thursdays from 6:30 pm. This was organized by a Student Association group.
The practices have not remained the same over the years. Various forms of practices from other traditions like Buddhism (Vipassana) and western mysticism (Rainbow Bridge of Alice Bailey tradition) have been included in the practices. Our recent research has added some mudras and dance steps with breathing techniques. From an initial hour or two, today the Saturday morning sessions at Sri Siva Vishnu temple extends 3 hours and 30 minutes from 7 am to 10:30 am. This growth of exercises, incorporation of various traditions, and the need to expand the duration of practice embodies in it the seed of a new school of thinking with regard to yoga – going to the roots of yoga (beyond the common thinking of yoga as primarily physical exercises) and going beyond the tradition of yoga (by incorporating exercises from other traditions).
THE SEEDLING OF LIFE IN YOGA FOUNDATION
Over the years, regular practitioners of Yoga have benefited significantly in physical and mental well-being. Some of the deep experiences of various participants resulted in a thought that a charitable, non-profit group should be formed to propagate the learning of these practices to wider audiences within and outside the Washington, DC- metro area.
On November 19, 2005 in Perryville, MD, practitioners of this Yoga met to discuss the benefits and implications of these various practices on the body, mind and spiritual domains. On December 5, 2005, a Yoga dinner was organized at the home of one of the regular participants. It was at this dinner that the question of certification and teacher’s training arose. It was seen as a critical element to bring this to others. The need for publication – books and audio/visuals was also there. It was here that a firm need for an organization was felt, culminating in the formation of the Life in Yoga Foundation on April 8, 2006. The Foundation was deeded as a Charitable Trust under IRS Code 501(c) (3) with the seven founding trustees.
OPERATION OF THE LIFE IN YOGA FOUNDATION
The Foundation is operated by volunteers and a Board of Trustees with by-laws for their election and operations as appropriate for a public charity. Board meetings are typically held on the last Saturday on every second month and is open to all.
MAJOR ACTIVITIES OF 2006
On March 2, 2006, a presentation on Yoga was made by one member of this group at the Washington Navy Yard to the employees of the US Navy. Over the weekend of March 24-26, starting Friday evening, a retreat for beginners called “Introduction to Yoga” was organized at the home of one of the regular participants in Silver Spring, MD.
On April 9, 2006 a new yoga session began in Gaithersburg, MD, organized by one of the regular participants.
In the months of June and July, 2006, a six week program called Yogic Management of Asthmatic Problems was conducted.
On August 3, 2006, a weekly yoga session was started on River Road, Potomac, MD at 6:30 pm in the evenings.
Another introductory yoga retreat is also planned between November 23 and 26 in Potomac, MD.
However, for 2006, the current focus is on teacher training and publication. On April 2, 2006, a day long advanced yoga session was conducted as a teacher’s training session. This is one of two sessions intended as a complete training routine for advanced practitioners of Yoga who have gone through the theoretical content of introductory yoga. The second session was held on July 4, 2006. Another session was held end of August and still another is planned for the first week of November.
PROGRESSION FROM 2007 TO 2010
Over the fall of 2007, DVDs were developed. During 2007 and 2008, the approach was to have two teachers' traning session and two retreats each year. Since we were run on a donation basis, and there was not enough volunteer funding coming, and volunteers who were doing the task of arranging the retreats were getting burned out, in 2009 we adopted a course strategy with a recommended donation for each course. In 2009 June, we also formed the Life in Yoga Institute and in 2010 we have converted fully to fee-based courses. 2010 will also see the launch of Yoga Therapy course for Physicians.