Yogamani Kalaimamani Yogacharini MEENAKSHI DEVI BHAVANANI
Yogamani Kalaimamani Yogacharini MEENAKSHI DEVI BHAVANANI is Director and Resident Acharya of the world famous International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER / Ananda Ashram) at Pondicherry. She is the Dharmapatni and senior most disciple of the internationally acclaimed Yoga master, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj and has devoted her life to his teachings and to institutions founded by him. A trained journalist by profession, her articles, essays and features appear regularly in National and International press. She is Editor / Managing Director of SATYA PRESS, a publishing house based in Pondicherry. Her defining book on THE HISTORY OF YOGA is a path breaking effort that is being released in 2011.
With the blessings of her Bharatanatyam master Padmashri Adyar K. Lakshman of Kalakshetra she has trained many thousands of students in Yoga and Bharatanatyam in the past 42 years. She was Director of Sri Kambliswamy Yoga and Cultural Arts Youth Programme since 1975 which trained more than 20,000 rural youth in the Carnatic Arts and Yoga free of cost. She is considered a pioneer in bringing the Performing Fine Arts and Yoga to the common people in Pondicherry. She is Editor of the International Yoga journal YOGA LIFE since 1970. She has organised five major International Yoga Conferences in Pondicherry and is adviser to Department of Tourism, Government of Pondicherry for its Annual International Yoga Festival now entering its 18th year. She is a prolific author with 12 books, including two books of poetry to her credit. She is Director of Yoganjali Natyalayam, a popular City Centre for the propagation of Classical Yoga, Bharata Natyam and Carnatic Music in Pondicherry and has developed a famous Bharata Natyam troupe that appears regularly in prestigious festivals and also stages spectacular Bharata Natyam and Yoga programmes yearly all over India. The troupe is well known for its inclusion of the acrobatic Natya Karanas (poses) into its repertoire. She has also choreographed 17 Major Dance Dramas of three-hours length on various spiritual themes in the past 18 years.
She has been recipient of many National and State Awards. She was awarded the title "Yogamani" in 1986 by the President of India Shri Zail Singh Ji at Asian Village, New Delhi. In 1997 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 Bharata Natyam. She was the second artist so honoured. In December 1999 she was named as an eminent Yoga expert to 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 the Academic Council, Pondicherry University, in March 2000. She has served on several inspection teams and several committees in her capacity as a member of this Academic Council. She was awarded a Gold Medal by Government of Pondicherry for her work in Bharata Natyam on February 26, 2001. She is Advisor to the only Central Government Yoga Training Institute in India, the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi.
Smt Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani was honoured with the award of OUTSTANDING SENIOR CITIZEN by the Pondicherry Junior Chamber (Jaycees) on the 15th August 2003. The honorable Chief Secretary, Govt of Pondicherry presented the award at a glittering function on the 15th August 2003. She was awarded the Outstanding Achiever’s Award 2003 by the Vinayagar Chathurthi Committee in recognition for her services in promoting Yoga and Indian Cultural Arts in Pondicherry. She was awarded the Bangalore Sundaram Gold Medal for her “Noble Contribution, Distinguished Service and Outstanding Merits in Yoga” by Asana Andiappan College of Yoga and Research Centre, Chennai, at Anna University, Chennai, December 7th, 2003. She is recognized as a leading intellectual expert in the deeper aspects of Yoga and in recognition of this aspect of her work, she was elected as Fellow of Indian Academy of Yoga, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi in 2003. She has been awarded the PUDUVAI SHAKTI AWARD from the WOMEN TASK FORCE Y2K in 2006 in recognition of her yeomen service for the cause of Yoga and Indian cultural fine arts in Pondicherry. She was awarded the title PALKALAI POOMPOZHIL by Pulavar I. Pattabhiraman, the Director of Valluvar Villisai Group in 2006. She has also received the PATANJALI AWARD from the Lion’s Club and is member of Expert panel of the Task Force for Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) for Dept of AYUSH, Ministry of Health. Govt of India, New Delhi. She is Advisor, Gitananda Yoga Associations of Italy, Spain, USA, Germany, UK, Czech Republic, South Africa and Australia.
Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani is considered one of the major International and National leaders of the modern Yoga movement. She is regularly called to New Delhi and elsewhere to offer her advice in Seminars, Conference and Official Government meetings. Though born in the USA in 1943, she came to India in 1967 and has lived here ever since. She was awarded Indian Citizenship on November 30th, 1992, in her own words “the proudest day of my life.”
Palkalai Chemmal Yogacharya Dr. ANANDA BALAYOGI BHAVANANI MBBS, ADY, PGDFH, PGDY, DSM, DPC, FIAY
Dr Ananda is Chairman of the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India (www.icyer.com). He is also chairman of Yoganjali Natyalayam, the premier institute of Yoga and Carnatic Music and Bharatanatyam in Pondicherry (www.rishiculture.org). He is son and successor of the internationally acclaimed Yoga team of Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj and Yogacharini Kalaimamani Ammaji, Smt Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani. He is a Gold Medalist in Medical Studies (MBBS) with postgraduate diplomas in Family Health (PGDFH) and Yoga (PGDY) as well as Advanced Diploma in Yoga under his illustrious parents in 1991-93. A Fellow of the Indian Academy of Yoga, he has authored 19 DVDs and 21 books on Yoga as well as published more than a hundred papers, compilations and abstracts on Yoga and Yoga research in National and International Journals. He is a Classical Indian Vocalist, Percussionist, Music Composer and Choreographer of Indian Classical Dance in addition to his duties as Programme Co-ordinator of the Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research (ACYTER), JIPMER, Pondicherry. In recent years he has traveled abroad 11 times and conducted invited talks, public events, workshops, retreats and been major presenter at Yoga conferences in the UK, USA, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand. He is an Honorary International Advisor to the IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists), USA and various Gitananda Yoga Associations all over the world.
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Jeff Sutton is a human biologist and health practitioner specializing in the effects of stress on health, pain, and performance. His studies in biology and anthropology began at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Originally driven toward a career in medicine, he pursued knowledge and experiences in health, emergency response, and physical training. His direction eventually took a turn when his eyes opened to the rapidly emerging field of energetic medicine. Jeff’s first professional stress management experiences were in handling emergencies as a Coast Guard search and rescue specialist and ambulance medic. In the mid-1990’s, he trained as an NSCA strength and conditioning specialist and spent several years in the fitness industry. In 2000, Jeff founded Medabolic Inc, a professional service firm that applies energy medicine technologies to assist clients with stress reduction, pain management, performance optimization, and general health education. In 2008, he helped to develop a successful biofeedback program for medical staff and athletes of the Chinese Olympic Team at the Federal Sports Hospital in Beijing, China. Jeff has facilitated over 12000 professional biofeedback sessions and is a master instructor for The Quantum Academies, through which he trains other specialists from around the World. He has since lectured internationally, and he maintains a private practice in Calgary.