After almost two years of planning, the Bhakti Yoga Center opens in Downtown State College, a bustling college town about an hour away from ISKCON Gita Nagari in Pennsylvania, USA. Situated right opposite the main campus of Penn State University, the center offers a full yoga experience and is hoping to build a yoga and wellness community focusing on introducing the art of bhakti yoga practice to seekers. The Center is registered as ISKCON Centre County and is a nonprofit, primarily volunteer-run facility.
The center is a combined effort of two very dedicated devotee families who are the center directors –Surapal Das & Krishnamayi Devi Dasi and HG Yasodeva Das & Anandini Lalita Devi Dasi. As of now, the center is financially backed by these two families who are paying the rent and other overhead expenses straight out of their pockets. They are planning to raise funds by offering various services at the center itself. Apart from kirtan meditation and bhakti yoga wisdom, the center also offers yoga classes, including Hatha yoga, Astanga yoga, TriYoga, Ayurveda health coaching, aromatherapy, wellness workshops, lifestyle engineering, and natural healing. The team of directors brings a cumulative experience of 100 years in practicing the art of self-development, Ayurveda, and yoga.
In short, the Bhakti Yoga Center is a relaxing space for personal self-development and inner exploration with a focus on lifestyle engineering and inner transformation that leads to peace of mind, sustainable happiness, and personal empowerment.
The grand opening was held recently and devotees from Gita Nagari in attendance were reminiscing the times when State College was a hot spot for sankirtan activities. In his virtual opening address, HH Devamrta Swami said, “I feel enthused when I hear about the teamwork of Surapal's and Yasodeva's family. They’ve combined to serve Srila Prabhupada's mission. Just the fact that they're trying is so beautiful and so wonderful. In the early ’80s, HG Stambha Das ran a successful outreach program at State College that produced some stalwart devotees who are still serving in ISKCON today. State College is a small town but with the presence of the main university campus, it houses close to 50,000 students from around the world yearly. This project could be a great resource for ISKCON’s Gita Nagari project. The goal is to encourage everyone according to their capacity”, Maharaj added.
Adding to the success of the grand opening was also the presence of local media who came to cover the event.
"These days, due to global uncertainties, stress, anxiety, and social polarization, kindness and appreciation of each other are much needed. Therefore, we step up to be the change we want to see in the world. We want to contribute by bringing more peace, harmony, and friendship into our local community. With the knowledge of authentic yoga wisdom and the science of self-realization, we offer education on how one can develop inner vision and strength to live their life to its fullest potential. Everyone can take advantage of our yoga classes and partake in personal self-development workshops that will be beneficial both in their personal and professional lives. Everyone is welcome”, said Surapal Krysiak, Center Director.
State College is situated in Centre County which has a population of 162,385 people. Centre County is one among the few Pennsylvania counties that grew in population over the last 10 years. It is a college town, dominated economically and demographically by the presence of the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). State College is the largest designated borough in Pennsylvania. The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts usually referred to as "Arts Fest", is held downtown every July. The five-day festival features artists from around the country and draws more than 125,000 visitors. State College is served by the State College Area School District which has received great ratings from Niche. Niche has also ranked State College in the top 100 best places to live in Pennsylvania.
Yasodeva Das, one of the Center Directors said, "We want to connect with our community here at Centre County and offer an alternate method to living a wholesome life filled with purpose and happiness. We first offered various yoga classes in a room at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, but our guests grew quickly, and this independent space is now much needed as we expand. Yoga is an ancient methodology that helps one connect with one's inner power and it's highly effective in transitioning into a healthier lifestyle, physically and mentally. There are many types of yoga and we hope we explore some of them at the Bhakti Yoga Center", said Yasodeva.
The team is seeking the blessings of Vaishnavas from around the world for the success of their endeavor.
In conjunction with the grand opening, the center will be offering free weekly community yoga classes for all Centre County residents till Dec 31, 2021. To learn more about the center’s activities, visit www.bhaktiyogacenter.com or call 717-500-4883. You may also follow The Center on Instagram @bhaktiyoga.studio and join the Facebook group Friends of Bhakti Yoga Center: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bhaktiyogacenter
Link to media coverage by WJAC TV - https://wjactv.com/news/local/bhakti-yoga-center-bringing-culture-back-to-yoga-in-state-college[ bhakti-center ] [ bhakti-yoga-center ] [ pennsylvania ]