Om

Patanjali Yogpeeth is one of the largest Yoga institutes in India. Founded by Swami Ramdev, the yogpeeth is a center for treatment, research and development in yoga and ayurveda, as well as the manufacturing of ayurvedic medicines. It is literally a wellness center, university and yoga program rolled into one...the entire system supporting health, vitality, and happiness for mankind. Here, instead of greeting each other with namaste or hello, "Om" is used, meaning "I am existence" and all is one...

Upon my arrival, a group of over 4,000 women were culminating a week-long Yoga Science camp...a relatively small session, often the camps host 8,000 or more yogis at a time. From the stage of an expansive auditorium, Swami Ramdev taught pranayama (breathing techniques that build prana or life force) and meditation to an inspired crowd, later showering them with flower pedals, blessings and gifts. Broadcast live, his yoga programs on the Aastha TV network are shown across 170 countries and have a viewership of over 20 million people....it is safe to say that Swami Ramdev reaches more people with the message of yoga than any other human being on the planet today. The New York Times called him "an Indian, who built a Yoga Empire, a product and symbol of the New India, a yogic fusion of Richard Simmons, Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey, irrepressible and bursting with Vedic wisdom."

He is so much more than that. When one is in his presence, he is entirely there...humble, full of laughter, completely joyous and free. His nature is like that of a child, at the same time he is acutely aware and loves to share his understanding and knowledge with you. In a photo session that spanned hours, we made pictures together in spontaneous creative collaboration...during a break in the action, he brought me delicious fruits to eat and milk to drink...selflessly serving...

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