As an urban yoga ashram, Kashi Atlanta exists in the guru lineage of Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati and her guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Originally founded in 1998 as Jaya Devi Yoga and renamed in 1999, Kashi Atlanta is an extension of Kashi Ashram in Sebastian, Florida. Kashi’s other main centers are located in Los Angeles and New York.
Kashi Atlanta’s founder, Swami Jaya Devi, was already a long-time yoga practitioner and dedicated spiritual seeker before meeting her guru, Ma Jaya. It was with Ma’s blessing and strong encouragement that Kashi Atlanta was established. Rooted in the living teachings of Ma Jaya, who taught that “there are no throw away people”, and Neem Karoli Baba, who taught his followers to “feed everyone”, service, education and healing have always formed the heart of Kashi Atlanta’s mission, and it fulfills this mission through yoga, community service and loving spiritual community. In so doing, the body, mind and spirit are nourished in a safe, caring environment that encourages real healing and spiritual growth.
Satsanga (a core group of individuals committed to the teachings of yoga as a vehicle for spiritual growth) contribute daily to creating and maintaining a space of spiritual community, characterized by love, compassion and open-heartedness. This community provides emotional, spiritual and material support to people in need. Creating this space of safety that extends outward into the world helps to provide a lifeline to yoga that is very accessible, encouraging them to integrate what they have learned into their everyday lives — to take their yoga ‘off the mat’.
Swami Jaya Devi first opened the yoga studio in a rented space in Inman Park. In 2004, Kashi Atlanta was very fortunate to purchase its current home in the Candler Park/Lake Claire neighborhood. The ashram’s growing residential component began with its first house of five residents in 2002 and has expanded to currently include 14 residents and four houses.
Kashi Atlanta is an interfaith spiritual community; all paths (and no path at all) are openly welcomed and honored. As Ma Jaya said, “If anyone tells you their way is the only way, you run the other way”.