Anand Mehrotra, Visionary Yogi, On The Sattva Summit, Nov 7-13 In Rishikesh, India
By Ashley Shires
Anand Mehrotra is a visionary yogi, a Master teacher, and the founder of Sattva Yoga and the Sattva Retreat Center in Rishikesh, India. I was thrilled to interview him in advance of the Sattva Summit, a week-long boutique conscious gathering, November 7 – 13, 2018, featuring world-renown teachers including Anand Mehrotra, Kia Miller, Tommy Rosen, Gurmukh KaurKhalsa, Sadhviji and many more.
We would love to hear about your background – your experience growing up in India and the impact yoga made on your life.
I was born in Rishikesh, the perfect place to have this yogic incarnation. I grew up with my guru, near the banks of the Ganges. I was very curious from a young age – I wasn’t content with ready-made answers. I went up in the Himalayas and studied there – and all over India, living in different ashrams. At the age of 21, I started teaching full time. It was absolutely perfectly designed – I am deeply grateful to play this role in this life. And growing up by the Ganges was so beautiful, such a powerful experience. The Ganges is everything here, the source of yoga.
How did you come to the name, "Sattva Yoga?"
Sattva means “whole” in Sanskrit. I was traveling all over the world, and people asked what I was teaching. I said, “This is yoga.” I wasn’t familiar with the isolated attitudes of yoga that prevail. When people kept asking, I said that Sattva Yoga means “whole” – it is an inclusive path that meets you where you are. Truth is our identity – truth not based on any ideology, but truth that shatters all opposition. Truth belongs to no one, but we belong to truth. We all belong to Sattva (truth) it is an evolutionary thing. Sattva in Sanskrit is an infinite field of knowledge, not stuck in time. It is not a series of poses that you do the rest of your life – it is an evolution. There is nothing that is not yoga. To limit yoga is a big loss of a great possibility.
How did you decide to create the Sattva Retreat Center?
When I was younger, I had a vision that I wanted to create an ashram. I had lived in many ashrams, and I realized that it had to be a different kind of ashram, in alignment with the times that we are living in. It had to be much more open to people from different places, beliefs, and ways of living – not stuck in time-bound tradition, but honoring the timeless tradition and honoring what is happening in this current time. I wanted to infuse it with a new level of consciousness.
What is your vision for the Sattva Summit?
The vision is to bring the yogic community together, seeking the full depth of yoga. It is not a place to stay on the surface, but for going all the way. There are two mistakes you can make on the path to freedom: one is not starting, and the other is not going all the way. Yoga started here in India, and if you have an opportunity to come and study it at the source, why wouldn’t you come? I found this land – or the land found me – right at the base of the Himalayas. Yogis have chosen this land to dive deep into self-inquiry. This valley is infused with this sacred vibration. It is an incredible place where you can settle in and dip into this field. The retreat center is a nurturing space, a strong Shiva place, but it has a soft feminine quality as well.
Is the Sattva Summit appropriate for someone who has never been to India?
Absolutely –the Sattva Summit is appropriate for each and every one of us. It is the right time: the universe spoke to me of an intimate gathering of like-minded beings in a nurturing, powerful setting. It is a global sangha. It respects our different traditions and paths and allows us to connect with each other, to get to know each other. It is a conscious boutique gathering where we can dive deep into the teachings. Yoga is about going deep – not about going to this class and that class – it is about inner expansion and liberation.
We don’t need a lot of people to change the world. We need sincere beings – beings who ask the question: what does this life mean? What does it stand for? We have to ask the question, and we have to create an opportunity to come up with an answer. The Sattva Summit is an opportunity to experience the answer in yourself, at the center of your heart.
You can check out the Sattva Summit here. Check out the video from the 2017 summit here.
Anand Mehrotra has also founded a nonprofit, the Khushi Charitable Soceity, supporting over 300 underpriveleged children in Rishikesh. To learn more visit: http://khushi.org.in.