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|Founder||Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev|
|Focus||Yoga, social upliftment, ecological conservation|
|India, Lebanon, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore|
|Method||Yoga programs, meditation, tree planting, Rural upliftment|
|Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev|
Isha Foundation is a non-profit, spiritual organisation founded in 1992 near Coimbatore, India, by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. It hosts the Isha Yoga Centre, which offers yoga programs under the name of Isha Yoga. The foundation is run entirely by volunteers and it has over 9 million volunteers.[failed verification]
The Yoga Centre, founded at Isha Foundation in 1994, offers yoga programmes under the name Isha Yoga. This customised system of yoga combines postural yoga with chanting, breathing (prāṇāyāma), and meditation. Isha Yoga does not belong to a lineage (paramparā), and its practitioners believe it to be based on the founding guru's unique insight.
A yoga course for the Indian national hockey team was conducted in 1996. Isha Foundation began conducting yoga programs in the United States in 1997 and, in 1998, yoga classes for life-term prisoners in Tamil Nadu prisons were initiated.
The foundation regularly organises gatherings (sathsangs) with Sadhguru in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where he delivers discourses, leads meditations, and conducts question-answer sessions with the attendees. It also organises annual pilgrimages (yatras) to Mount Kailash and the Himalayas. The Kailash pilgrimage led by Sadhguru is among the largest groups to visit Kailash, with 514 pilgrims making the journey in 2010.
Social and environmental initiatives
Project GreenHands (PGH) was established in 2004 as an environmental organisation. Its activity is largely focused on Tamil Nadu. The organisation received the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar, the Government of India's environmental award in 2010. The organisation's activities include agroforestry, plant nurseries in schools, and tree-planting in urban centres such as Tiruchirappalli and Tiruppur.
Action for Rural Rejuvenation
Action for Rural Rejuvenation (ARR) is a health and community-oriented program focusing on rural Tamil Nadu. It was established in 2003, and as of 2010, operated in 4,200 villages with a population of seven million.
Isha Vidhya, an education initiative, aims to raise the level of education and literacy in rural India by providing quality English-language-based, computer-aided education for rural children. There are seven Isha Vidhya Schools in operation which educate around 3000 students.
Rally for Rivers
Rally for Rivers is a campaign launched by Isha Foundation in 2017 to tackle the scarcity of water across rivers in India and instill awareness about protecting rivers.[unreliable source?] Sadhguru launched the campaign on 3 September from Isha Yoga Centre, Coimbatore. The campaign included a month-long, nationwide campaign. On 3 October, a river revitalisation draft proposal was presented by Sadhguru to Narendra Modi. Six states signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with Isha Foundation to plant trees along river banks. These states are Karnataka, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Maharashtra and Gujarat.[unreliable source?] The Niti Aayog and the Ministry of Water Resources have constituted committees to study the draft policy proposal. Under the flag name of Rally for rivers, Cauvery calling campaign is being organised which would last for over a decade. this project mainly focuses on river Kaveri. In November, at a conference in Germany, the executive director of the United Nations Environmental Program, Erik Solheim discussed Rally for Rivers with Sadhguru, and how environmental programs around the world can emulate its success.
Rally for Rivers has been criticised by environmentalist who allege that it was trying to solve a complex problem with a "shallow solution".
The Cauvery Calling project aims to support farmers in planting an estimated 2.4 billion trees through agroforestry, thereby covering one third of Cauvery basin with trees, as a means of conserving it.
The project has received acclaim from politicians and members of the movie industry, yet environmentalists and public intellectuals have alleged that the program presents a simplistic view of river conservation, sidestepping social issues and ignoring the potential harm to tributaries and wildlife habitats.
A public interest litigation has also been filed in the Karnataka High Court questioning the legality of the fundraising practices for the initiative, and the usage of government owned land for a private purpose without supporting study. In January 2020, the High Court ruled that the Foundation needed to disclose details of its fundraising practices relating to the initiative.
Isha Foundation's headquarters are located in an ashram built on the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains, adjacent to the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, some forty kilometres from the city of Coimbatore in the state of Tamil Nadu, South India.
Adiyogi Shiva statue
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev designed the 112-foot Adiyogi Shiva statue, which is located at the Isha Yoga Centre. It was inaugurated on Mahashivaratri, 24 February 2017, by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. The Adiyogi statue depicts Shiva as the first yogi or Adiyogi, and first Guru or Adi Guru, who offered yoga to humanity. The statue was built by the Isha Foundation using 20,000 individual iron plates supplied by the Steel Authority of India and weighs around 500 tonnes (490 long tons; 550 short tons). The Adiyogi Shiva Statue has been recognised as the "Largest Bust Sculpture" by Guinness World Records. A consecrated Shivalinga called "Yogeshwar Linga" is placed in front of the Adiyogi Shiva statue.
Controversies and reception
In 2016, allegations were made that Isha Yoga Centre was holding people captive. A couple claimed that their two adult daughters were being held captive at the centre. The Foundation denied the allegation and released a statement by the two women asserting that it was their free will to stay at Isha. The case was dismissed in court. Another woman alleged that her adult son was being held captive at Isha Yoga Centre.
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