We Toured The Exclusive Yoga Community Hidden Away In Rural Virginia


Photo: Julia La Roche for Business Insider

Located in Buckingham, Virginia along the banks of the James River is a unique community called Yogaville. When you drive through the pink gates tucked away off of the forest-lined back roads, it’s almost as if you are entering a different world.

And in many ways you are.

Yogaville, like its name implies, is a community dedicated to the teaching and practice of yoga.  It was founded by the opening speaker at Woodstock music festival and guru Sri Swami Satchidananda.  

One of Yogaville’s gems is its massive pink Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS)–a temple resembling a lotus flower that honours all religions of the world.  

Yogaville also has an ashram and it’s considered one of the world’s premier living yoga communities offering meditation sessions, yoga retreats/workshops/teacher training/and residential programs as well as vegetarian meals served from its community kitchen. 

We decided to stop by for a visit this week and now we’re going to take you on a photo tour of this yoga destination. 

Yogaville is tucked away along the back country roads in rural Virginia.

You have to drive slowly down a narrow road winding through the forest. There are a lot of hiking trails, too.

As you come around the bend, there's an amazing view of Yogaville's LOTUS temple below.

Here we are arriving at our destination. We didn't go by the Satchidananda Ashram, which is nearby.

Yogaville was founded by guru Yogiraj Sri Swami Satchidananda where his teachings of Integral Yoga still continue. He was also the opening speaker at Woodstock music festival in 1969.

He died in 2002 at the age of 87 after suffering an aneurysm during a peace conference in Madras, India.

The Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), which resembles a lotus flower, is 'dedicated to interfaith understanding and the Light within all faiths.'

Satchidananda was the one of envisioned the massive pink shrine's design. It took four years to build and was dedicated in 1986.

Fun fact: Gemstones known to 'retain positive vibrations' gold, silver, holy water and holy soil from sacred sites around the world and even a rock from the moon were mixed in the concrete at the centre of the shrine's foundation.

Before entering the temple, shoes have to be removed. People are supposed to dress modestly meaning no shorts.

On the lower level of the LOTUS is the All Faiths Hall, which contains artifacts for all of the world's major religions.

People are asked to refrain from conversation while in the temple.

In the centre of the room, there's a globe showing the people of the world in peace and harmony.

Here's the view of the ceiling.

Upstairs in the LOTUS is a room for meditation.

There are altars dedicated to all the major faiths of the world.

The lights on the ceiling create a really cool effect.

The LOTUS is located along the banks of the peacefully flowing James River. We hear that there are sometimes tubing outings there.

There are two other sacred sites up this hill. The closest is the Chidambaram open for prayer and meditation. It's the final resting place of Sri Swami Satchidananda. The one at the top is the Lord Siva Nataraja Shrine featuring a seven-foot tall sacred statue.

Here's the view of the LOTUS after climbing those stairs.

There's also a gift shop at Yogaville where you can shop and pick up more information about retreats and classes at the ashram.

When you exit, you're left with one of Satchidananda's teachings, 'TRUTH IS ONE, PATHS ARE MANY.'

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