The Isha Foundation stands as a beacon in the world of spirituality and human wellbeing. Established by the visionary humanitarian and spiritual master, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, this international non-profit organization has transformed countless lives across the globe through its various programs and initiatives.
Rooted in the timeless wisdom of the yogic sciences, the foundation offers a diverse array of tools for self-improvement and inner transformation. Its renowned Inner Engineering program, for instance, provides methods for enhancing mental clarity, emotional balance, and physical wellbeing, attracting participants from all walks of life.
What is Isha Foundation?
The Isha Foundation is an international non-profit organization dedicated to human well-being and personal growth, conceived and established by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a prominent spiritual leader from India. Founded in 1992, the organization has pursued a multifaceted approach towards improving individual health, fostering environmental sustainability, promoting universal education, and alleviating poverty. The foundation operates globally with its headquarters located at the foothills of Velliangiri Mountains in southern India.
At the heart of the Isha Foundation’s mission is the promotion of yoga and meditation practices. These are offered through an array of programs designed to facilitate self-awareness and self-realization. One of the foundation’s most recognized programs, “Inner Engineering”, is an integrative program combining aspects of yoga, meditation, and pranayama (breathing exercises) intended to balance body, mind and energy levels. Sadhguru himself guides many of these programs, either in person or through pre-recorded videos.
Further, the foundation promotes and undertakes large-scale public service initiatives. One such initiative is Project GreenHands, launched in 2004, which aims to increase the green cover in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu by planting millions of trees. This initiative has been recognized by the United Nations and has received several awards for its environmental impact.
Another significant initiative is “Action for Rural Rejuvenation,” a project focused on revitalizing India’s rural areas through medical camps, yoga classes and community-building exercises. The initiative is designed to address the health, social, and economic challenges faced by rural communities, emphasizing holistic development.
The foundation also spearheads Isha Vidhya, an initiative that aims to transform the education landscape of rural India by establishing a network of schools that provide quality education to underprivileged children. The schools use technology-integrated teaching methodologies to enhance learning outcomes and to bridge the rural-urban education divide.
Moreover, the Isha Foundation is responsible for constructing the Dhyanalinga, a non-religious meditative space that attracts visitors from around the world. Situated at the Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore, India, the Dhyanalinga was consecrated by Sadhguru and is considered a powerful tool for meditation, irrespective of one’s religious or ideological affiliations.
Mission of Isha Foundation
The Isha Foundation has outlined several key missions that guide its activities and initiatives globally. Here are the primary mission objectives:
- Promoting human wellbeing: At the heart of the foundation’s mission is the promotion of human wellbeing. The Isha Foundation seeks to provide tools and methods for individuals to achieve their full potential and live a life of health, peace and joy.
- Revitalization of the spiritual sciences: The foundation aims to revitalize the science of yoga and meditation, positioning these ancient practices as accessible and relevant tools for self-improvement in the modern world. It offers a range of programs designed to facilitate personal growth and spiritual wellbeing.
- Fostering global harmony: The foundation seeks to foster global harmony by transcending religious, cultural, and national boundaries. It promotes the idea of a human identity that surpasses divisive identities based on faith, race, or nationality.
- Environmental stewardship: The Isha Foundation aims to create a culture of environmental responsibility through initiatives such as Project GreenHands, which involves large-scale tree planting efforts and promoting sustainable living practices.
- Education and child welfare: The Isha Foundation runs Isha Vidhya, an initiative aimed at transforming the education landscape in rural India. It also supports the wellbeing of children, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds.
- Rural upliftment and health: Through Action for Rural Rejuvenation, the foundation aims to improve the health, livelihood, and overall quality of life of rural people, offering medical care, community rehabilitation, and livelihood support.
- Universalizing spiritual practices: The Isha Foundation seeks to make spiritual practices available to all by offering various programs and methods free of cost and ensuring they are accessible regardless of one’s religious, cultural, or socioeconomic background.
In essence, the mission of the Isha Foundation is to contribute to the creation of a society of interconnected individuals who are in harmony with themselves, with each other and with the environment.
The programs offered by Isha Foundation
The Isha Foundation, as part of its global mission, offers an array of programs, largely centered around the concepts of yoga, meditation, and holistic living. These programs range from introductory courses to advanced residential training, with many available online, and are designed to promote individual well-being and spiritual growth.
- Inner Engineering: One of the foundation’s most notable programs, Inner Engineering, is an integrative approach to self-improvement, combining yoga, meditation, and pranayama (breathing exercises). The program aims to balance body, mind, and energy levels, fostering increased mental clarity, emotional balance, and enhanced wellbeing. It includes an introduction to Shambhavi Mahamudra, a powerful meditation technique.
- Hatha Yoga: The foundation offers Isha Hatha Yoga, a comprehensive set of physical postures designed to transform the body and mind into a possibility for self-realization. Participants can learn specific modules like Upa-Yoga, Angamardana, Surya Kriya, Yogasanas, Bhuta Shuddhi, among others. Each module is intended to benefit the practitioner in unique ways, ranging from physical fitness and mental stability to spiritual growth.
- Uyir Nokkam: This is a mind-body alignment program that helps individuals synchronize their system with the external world, facilitating a sense of oneness and wholeness.
- Bhava Spandana: This advanced residential program is designed to enhance the perception of the participants, providing them a glimpse of their deepest self. It is usually attended by those who have completed the Inner Engineering program.
- Samyama: This is a more intensive, eight-day residential program, providing practitioners an opportunity to experience higher levels of consciousness. Samyama requires completion of certain other programs as a prerequisite.
- Shoonya Intensive: A program combining both meditation and Shakti Chalana Kriya, an ancient yogic practice. It aims to lead individuals into an experience of “Shoonya,” or “emptiness”.
The foundation also conducts yoga programs specifically designed for children, business leaders, and rural communities. Furthermore, they offer the “Isha Kriya” and “Chit Shakti” meditations freely online, as part of their mission to make yoga accessible to all.
In addition to these individual-oriented programs, the Isha Foundation carries out large-scale initiatives such as Action for Rural Rejuvenation, Project GreenHands, and Isha Vidhya, which focus on health, environmental sustainability, and education, respectively.
Each program offered by the Isha Foundation, embodies Sadhguru’s vision of offering the science of inner wellbeing to every human being, thus supporting them in achieving their full potential. The methodologies taught are non-religious, and draw upon a deep understanding of the mechanics of life, correlating the human system with the rest of existence.
Isha Foundation centers
The Isha Foundation operates from several key locations worldwide, reflecting its international influence and reach. Its centers, often referred to as ashrams, are spaces where individuals can dedicate time towards their inner growth under the guidance of the foundation’s programs.
Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, India: The foundation’s headquarters is situated at the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains in southern India. The center, encompassing a sprawling area of over 150 acres, is a thriving spiritual hub hosting numerous activities and programs. It is also home to the Dhyanalinga, a non-religious meditative space, and the Linga Bhairavi, a feminine deity consecrated by Sadhguru.
Isha Institute of Inner Sciences, McMinnville, Tennessee, USA: This center, located in the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, USA, offers various yoga programs and serves as a retreat for those seeking wellbeing and self-exploration. It is also home to the largest meditation hall in the Western hemisphere, known as “Mahima”.
Isha Yoga Center, Dharamshala, India: The foundation maintains a center in the Himalayan region of Dharamshala, a place known for its natural beauty and tranquil environment. This center is particularly suited for intensive yoga and meditation programs.
Isha Yoga Center, Delhi, India: Located in the capital city of India, this center offers various Isha programs and is a key hub for the foundation’s activities in North India.
Isha Foundation, UK: The foundation has an active presence in the UK, offering yoga programs and workshops for individual and societal wellbeing.
Isha Yoga Centre, Australia: This center located in Australia is another significant overseas outpost for the foundation, providing an array of programs and practices to people in the region.
Isha Centers in other parts of the world: The foundation’s reach extends to other regions across the globe, including centers and affiliated groups in Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Lebanon, and various other countries in Africa and the Middle East. Many of these locations offer regular programs, guided meditations, and volunteer activities.
Isha Foundation online programs
Recognizing the importance of making spiritual wellbeing accessible to all, regardless of geographical constraints, the Isha Foundation offers a variety of its programs online. These courses allow individuals worldwide to partake in practices of yoga, meditation, and self-improvement from the comfort of their homes.
- Inner Engineering Online (IEO): The foundation’s signature program, Inner Engineering, is available online and is a 7-session course designed to provide tools and solutions to manage stress, overcome fear and anxiety, and increase overall wellbeing. The online version of the program offers the same teachings and practices as the in-person sessions but does not include the Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya initiation.
- Isha Kriya: A free, online guided meditation designed by Sadhguru is available on the foundation’s website and YouTube channel. This meditation aims to bring health, dynamism, prosperity, and peace into one’s life. It is a simple yet potent process that takes just 15-20 minutes a day.
- Chit Shakti Meditations: These are a series of free, guided meditations that aim to manifest one’s desires in four aspects of life – health, peace, love, and success.
- Upa-Yoga Online: Upa-Yoga is a simple set of practices that activate the joints, muscles, and energy system. It can be learned online and practiced anywhere.
- Bhuta Shuddhi: Bhuta Shuddhi is a process of purifying the five elements within the human system. The foundation offers an online course in this practice to ensure that the body, mind and energy function in harmony.
- Yoga Namaskar: This is a simple and powerful yogic practice offered online that nurtures the physical, psychological, and energy dimensions of a human being.
- Online Webstreams and Webinars: The foundation regularly hosts live webstreams featuring talks and discourses by Sadhguru on various aspects of life. They also offer interactive webinars on specific topics such as wellbeing, spirituality, and personal growth.
- Sadhguru App: This mobile application is an extensive resource of Sadhguru’s wisdom, with free meditations, articles, videos, and quotes updated daily. It also provides updates on upcoming events, program schedules and live webcasts.
These digital offerings from the Isha Foundation aim to bring spiritual practices and yogic sciences into every home. Through online platforms, they ensure that geographical distance is not a hindrance to exploring one’s inner dimensions and achieving an improved sense of wellbeing.
Isha Foundation donations and contributions
The Isha Foundation, as a non-profit organization, relies heavily on donations and contributions from individuals and organizations around the world to support its many activities and initiatives. These contributions allow the foundation to continue its work in areas such as health, education, environment and spiritual wellbeing.
The Isha Foundation offers several avenues for donors to contribute:
- General donations: The foundation accepts general donations, which are utilized in supporting a variety of its ongoing programs and initiatives. These donations are open-ended, allowing the foundation to allocate the funds where they are most needed.
- Project-specific donations: Donors can choose to contribute to specific projects undertaken by the foundation. These include Action for Rural Rejuvenation (ARR), which is focused on rural revitalization, Isha Vidhya, an initiative aimed at providing quality education to underprivileged children, and Project GreenHands (PGH), an ecological initiative aimed at increasing the green cover in Tamil Nadu, India.
- Sponsorship programs: The foundation offers an opportunity for donors to sponsor specific activities or individuals. For example, donors can sponsor the education of children through the “Gift a Smile” initiative, or they can support the healthcare costs for rural people under the ARR initiative.
- Fundraising events: The foundation often conducts fundraising events to support their projects. These events provide an opportunity for well-wishers to contribute financially and also help raise awareness about the foundation’s initiatives.
- Legacy giving and bequests: The Isha Foundation also accepts legacy gifts and bequests, which are contributions made through wills or estate plans. This allows donors to make significant contributions that can have a lasting impact.
- Corporate partnerships and CSR: Corporations can also contribute through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. This can involve sponsoring specific projects, donating a portion of their profits, or facilitating employee donation matching schemes.
The Isha Foundation maintains a policy of transparency with regards to its financial dealings. It provides annual financial reports detailing its income and expenditures, ensuring that donors can see how their contributions are being utilized. Additionally, depending on the country, donations made to the Isha Foundation may be tax-deductible, offering financial benefits to donors.
Through these various avenues for donations and contributions, the Isha Foundation continues to mobilize resources to support its multifaceted work in promoting human wellbeing and social and environmental sustainability.