The ICYER (ANANDA ASHRAM) was founded in 1967 at Pondicherry South India. Ananda Ashram functioned from 1975 at Sri Kambaliswamy Madam (Samadhi) and then ICYER was founded in 1989 and Yoganjali Natyalayam in 1993.
The Ashram is located in a beautiful garden site, on the Bay of Bengal with a wide expanse of sandy beach and warm waters suitable for swimming. The atmosphere is rural and simple, peaceful and unpolluted. The Ashram is eight kilometers north of Pondicherry, a small but modern and cosmopolitan city on the southern coast of India. Pondicherry is 170 kilometers south of Chennai (Madras) which is a large metropolis with an international airport. ICYER is a three hour bus or taxi ride from the airport.
CLASSICAL RISHICULTURE ASHTANGA YOGA (GITANANDA YOGA) as expounded by the world famous Guru, Yoga Maharishi Dr. SWAMI GITANANDA GIRI Guru Maharaj is taught in carefully graded steps. This is based on the teachings of Yogamaharishi Swami Kanakananda Brighu that combine classical teachings of classical traditions of Patanjala Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Dakshina Marga Tantra in a modern scientific format. Siddha Siddhantha tradition of Srila Sri Kambali Gnana Desika Swamigal is followed in line with the South Indian traditions. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of the Indian culture and its arts, rituals and lifestyle observances.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER: Dr Swami Gitananda Giri, a Medical Doctor born in India but who spent forty years in the West, taught Classical Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga (Gitananda Yoga) with a scientific, medical basis. The revered Swamiji, considered one of the five leading world experts in Classical Ashtanga Yoga, attained Samadhi in December 29, 1993.
ABOUT THE INSTITUTE’S ENVIRONMENT: The Institute has a traditional Gurukula setting, in an ideal garden atmosphere, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. Students are also introduced to the Indian way of life, festivals, cultural programmes, community activities and Hindu rites and rituals, to cultivate an awareness of the culture from which Yoga has sprung.
In this remarkable life-changing training course, the tender stirrings of spiritual aspiration and yearning are carefully nurtured in a protective, yet strict and disciplined environment. In the Guru Kula system of teaching, the environment itself becomes the teacher. The word “instruction” is composed mostly of “structure”. The six month International Yoga Teacher Training Course is consciously and carefully structured to slowly, gradually in a Step-By-Step manner help the students “grow out” of Negative past conditioning (Samskara) and consciously construct positive, Yogcially evolutionary attitudes towards living. The conditions created to de-condition and re-condition are:
• Early morning rising at Brahma Muhurta (God’s Auspicious Hour) for concentration-meditation practices and Puja-Surya Namaskar.
• Systematic approach to hundreds of Yoga Asanas, Kriyas and Mudras.
• Thorough instruction and training in scores of Pranayama practices, the Science of Vital Control of Spiritual Energy.
• Exposure to the most amazingly complete system of mind training possible, in the traditional Raja Yoga approach including relaxation, concentration, Mantra, Mandala Dharana, Visualisation etc.
• Establishing Yogic attitudes towards life through Satsangha (gathering of truth seekers); study of the Yogic texts and scriptures.
• Emotional purification through Carnatic music, Bhajana classes and Bharata Natyam, the sacred dance of India.
• Immersement in Nada, the Primordial Sound of the Universe, through systematic study of Mantra and Sanskrit.
• Understanding and attunement to the Hindu cultural life patterns, attitudes and style of living, in order to understand the culture in which Yoga has its roots.
• Full participation in the community/village life, Hindu rites and rituals and festivals.
• An opportunity to become part of a long line of Ashtanga Yoga Gurus, the Paramparai (traditional lineage) which extends back for hundreds of years, with roots in the North Indian Bengali Tantric tradition as well as the South Indian Shaiva Siddhanta culture.
• At the end of six months, the privilege of joining a world wide Yoga family of earnest Sadhaks (seekers after truth) with an international support network through seminars, conferences, magazines, books, video tapes, audio tapes, advanced training sessions and camps in the Mother Ashram and other sites around the world.
• Thorough qualification to teach Yoga anywhere in the world with confidence and authority
CENTRES OF GITANANDA YOGA WORLDWIDE: ICYER has more than a 140 affiliated Yoga centres in 30 countries. The detailed list can be accessed at
PUBLICATIONS: More than 100 books, CDs and DVDs on Yoga have been published, as well as a monthly magazine, Yoga Life, which has completed more than 43 years of publication for a worldwide audience.
OTHER ASPECTS OF THE CENTRE: The International Centre for Yoga Education and Research (ICYER) is also Headquarters for several worldwide organizations, including Vishwa Yoga Samaj, Yoga Jivana Satsangha (International) and the Society for the Preservation of Rishiculture Yoga (SPARC).
The International Centre for Yoga Education and Research is also the office headquarters for Sri Kambliswamy Madam, a 135-year-old Samadhi site of the great Ashtanga Yoga Guru Srila Sri Kambaliswamigal at Thattanchavady, Pondicherry. The Samadhi of its founder, Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj, is also located at Kambliswamy Madam and has become a world famous pilgrimage place. Dr. Swami Gitananda left his body in Samadhi at 2.20 am December 29, 1993, Arudhra Darshan Day and the full moon in the Tamil month of Margazhi. Daily Pujas are conducted at Sri Kambliswamy Madam, with elaborate Pujas from 9.00 to 1.00 on Sundays. Sunday Pujas are open to public who wish to experience a traditional Hindu Puja. Grand Pujas for the Samadhis of the eight Gurus of the lineage are conducted throughout the year, as well as many Carnatic Music Festivals at the Sri Kambliswamy Madam.