Free yoga day at ISHA Institute for Inner Sciences

In 2006, the ISHA foundation transformed 1,400 acres of land in the rural mountains of Tennessee into an advanced yoga retreat center. Practitioners come from around the world — 15,000 per year — for personal and wellness retreats at the center which is located two and a half hours from Atlanta.

This weekend, on Saturday, Aug. 15., they will open the center to all who wish to visit for a day-long event that includes free yoga classes, hiking, biking, guided meditation and more. A vegetarian buffet lunch or dinner is available during the event for a fee.

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The ISHA foundation is an international non-profit run by volunteers with the goal of creating an inclusive culture and fostering global harmony. Founded by Sadhguru, the foundation is headquartered at Isha Yoga Center in southern India and at Isha Institute of Inner-sciences in the States. There are more than 200 Isha Yoga Centers located around the world with the Tennessee location serving as a Western hub, says Alison Murry, outreach coordinator.

While they offer yoga classes in the metro area, the open houses, which will take place once per month, are designed to give visitors in the region an introduction to the center and its programs. Some come to meditate or hone their yoga practice, while others are looking for beginner courses, Murry says. In addition, there are 10 miles of hiking trails and five miles of mountain biking trails suited for beginner to intermediate levels. Visitors can take in three waterfalls and enjoy vegetarian meals and cooking classes from the on-site kitchen.

Guests joining the Free Yoga Day can arrive at anytime they choose and join any of the activities taking place, says Murry. Activities are best suited to children over age 7. The scheduled events are as follows (times are central standard time):

8:30 am– Check-in open in reception.
9 am-10:30 am–Free Yoga Class to Relieve Stress & Boost Energy (90 min)
11am-1pm–Campus Tour (30 min) & Guided Hike to Bluff Vista (90 min)
12:30-2:30pm–Vegetarian Lunch Buffet with Live Music ($10/ person)
12:45-1:45pm–Isha Kriya Free Guided Meditation Class
2:30-3:15pm–Veggie Cooking Class (45 min)
2:00-4 pm–Campus Tour (30 min) & Guided Hike to Bluff Vista (90 min)
3:30-4:15pm–Free Yoga Class to Relieve Stress (45 min)
4:30-5:30pm–Isha Kriya Free Guided Meditation Class
7:30pm–Vegetarian Dinner Buffet with Live Music ($10)

Mountain bike trails are open, but call ahead if you need to rent a bike. Yoga gear, books, and handmade crafts available at Isha Shoppe which is open from 8:30am-8pm and veggie snacks will be available for purchase at reception throughout the day.

You can stay for the day or if you wish to stay overnight, there are two different types of accommodations. Private studios are designed for couples, singles or families of up to two adults and two children under age 12. Prices start around $110 for a single. Shared accommodations (divided by gender) begin at $55 and include two meals per day.  Call 931-668-1900 to book your stay with at least 24 hours notice.

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