Rama Jyoti Vernon

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Rama Jyoti Vernon (January 4, 1941 - November 23, 2020)[1] was a yoga teacher and peace activist. She was a co-founder of Yoga Journal,[2] and of the California Yoga Teachers Association.[3] She is considered one of America's yoga pioneers and was one of the first yoga teachers in the USA.[3][4][5][6][7]

Her mother, a student of Yogananda took her to her first yoga class at age 15.[1] As an adult, Vernon was one of the early students of B.K.S. Iyengar in North America and hosted him on his first visit to California in 1973.[8] Vernon founded the American Yoga College.[9]

She also founded the organization Unity in Yoga International,[10] which eventually evolved into the Yoga Alliance and which sponsored seven national and three international conferences under Vernon's direction, including the Soviet-American Yoga Conference in Moscow in October 1990.[11][12] The founders of The International Association of Yoga Therapists, Richard Miller and Larry Payne, acknowledged Vernon's contribution to the creation of the association though the connections she fostered at the Unity in Yoga conferences.[13]

Vernon established the Center for Soviet-American Dialogue in 1984[14] to help connect the citizens of the United States with those of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.[15] She served as a citizen diplomat, bringing groups of ordinary people to dialogue across borders, and even appeared on a Soviet morning show.[16] She later simplified the name of her organization to the Center for International Dialogue and expanded its reach into the Middle East, visiting Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza with American citizens.[17]


  1. ^ a b Haynes, Deborah (May 1982). "A Talk with Rama Jyoti Vernon". Yoga Journal.
  2. ^ Giradot, Joan (September 1979). "Guest Editorial". Yoga Journal.
  3. ^ a b Hammond, Holly. "Yoga's trip to America". Yoga Journal.
  4. ^ "Rama Jyoti Vernon | Flagstaff Yoga Festival". flagstaffyogafestival.com. 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  5. ^ Powers, Ann (August 1, 2000). "American Influences Help Redefine Practice of Yoga". New York Times.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Phillip (2010). American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation How Indian Spirituality Changed the West. Crown Publishing. p. 139.
  7. ^ Gates, Janice (2006). Yogini: The Power of Women in Yoga. Mandala Publishing. pp. 135–145.
  8. ^ Busia, Kofi (2007). Iyengar: The Yoga Master. Shambhala Publications. p. 9.
  9. ^ "International Yoga College". americanyogacollege.org. 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  10. ^ Dongre, Archana (April 1990). ""Unity in Yoga" Gets It All Together in California". Hinduism Today.
  11. ^ Yoga Life. 22. University of Virginia. 1991. p. 22.
  12. ^ Steffensen, Sharon (March–April 2012). "Rama Jyoti Vernon, Yogi and International Peace Builder". Yoga Chicago.
  13. ^ Payne, Larry; Richard Miller; Amy Gage; John Kepner; Julie Deife (March 2009). "1989-2009. IAYT Celebrates 20 Years". Yoga Therapy Today. 5 (1): 19–22.
  14. ^ Silbey, Paul (1990). Citizen diplomat : an intimate video portrait of Rama Vernon. U-music. ISBN 0938925156.
  15. ^ Cleaveland, Carol (15 December 1991). "USSR meeting led to her life's work" (PDF). The Morning Call. pp. B1, B4. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  16. ^ Tomasko, Felicia (June 24, 2009). "Chaos, Change, Identity, Yoga And Hope: An Interview with Rama Jyoti Vernon". LA Yoga.
  17. ^ Neely, Jamie Tobias (12 June 1993). "Center helps citizens of the world come together and talk". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 8 June 2013.

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