NEW BRITAIN - Several dozen people experienced a life-changing practice from the eastern side of the globe at the Grand Allure Banquet Hall Sunday.
The international non-profit Isha Foundation hosted three yoga and meditation workshops throughout the day inside the East Street banquet facility.
Local volunteers are hosting another workshop this weekend in Newington.
Yoga for Success will take place in the Vallabhdham Temple, 26 Church St., on Saturday, March 9, at 3 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
This isn’t the yoga and meditation most area residents are familiar with, however.
“Yoga in the Western world is a lot about the postures,” volunteer Srihanth Varma explained. “This is more about the spiritual. To look deep inside oneself.”
The foundation is based in India, with U.S. headquarters in Tennessee.
Participants in the free workshops removed their shoes as they entered through the building’s side door. They were greeted by volunteers, who pointed them to a table with informational handouts and guides. A pitcher of water infused with fresh lemon sat beside a plate of cookies, for the taking. A video featuring mystic yogi Sadhguru, the Isha Foundation’s founder, played.
Volunteers are looking to host more events in this area.
“We’ve been offering these free workshops across Connecticut,” Varma said. “Somehow we found this large space and got the chance to offer it to the New Britain and Newington area.”
Volunteer Chella Raju led participants through meditation exercises, which included breathing and focusing the mind. The Farmington resident traveled to New York Saturday to offer the program there.
“The yoga we do is upa yoga, which literally means sub yoga,” Raju said.
Upa yoga is meant to be taught to the masses. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of people perform it together outdoors in India. It is often used as a precursor to Inner Engineering, two- to four-day programs led by Sadhguru.
“It’s comprehensive,” Raju said of this event, which takes place in cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe several times a year.
“It impacts every aspect of your mind, body and spirit,” he added. “It provides you with the tools and solutions to create a blissful life for yourself.”
The teachings include a daily practice called Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya, said to bring about immense physical and psychological benefits.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.