About Us

Upasana Yoga is a portal for accessing publications and other offerings from A.K. Aruna. Upasana Yoga is based in California and India. Supporters and contributors to Upasana Yoga are John Warne and Julia Lorimer.

Acknowledgment is also offered to the countless current and past contributors to the knowledge embodied in Upasana Yoga, starting from the Lord on through the many great sages to present teachers and their teachers. These include Lord Śiva, Śri Veda Vyāsa, Śri Patañjali, Ādhi Śaṅkarācarya, Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati, Swami Dayanada Saraswati, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, and Sri Stan Melancon.

A.K. Aruna
(picture of AK Aruna) A.K. Aruna (aka, Alan Kellogg) was introduced to Vedānta by Swami Chinmayananda in 1975 when Swamiji was giving one of his spiritual discourses in Seattle Washington. By the start of 1976, Aruna began an intensive three-year program in Sanskrit and Advaita Vedānta at a traditional gurukulam, outside Bombay, India, under the tutelage of the renowned scholar Śrī Pūjya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. There, Aruna found a complete merging of the intellect and heart in the ancient teaching, and dedicated the rest of his life to the inclusive vision of Vedānta.

Aruna holds a master’s degree in South Asian languages and literature from the University of Washington, having studied with doctors Carl Potter, Allen Thrasher, and Richard Saloman. Aruna has also been a computer programmer and manager of information technology, a vocation which deepened the structured understanding of language that now forms the basis of the Aruna Sanskrit Language Series. Since 2000, Aruna has continually refined the series, while teaching Sanskrit in workshops and at the Arsha Vidya gurukulams in both South India and the United States.

The Aruna Sanskrit Language Series includes the entire text and translation of the Bhagavad Gita. Along with the completion in 2012 of Aruna’s Patanjali Yoga Sutras: Translation and Commentary in the Light of Vedanta Scriptures, these texts form a core part of the bedrock for Upasana Yoga. Our sources are grounded in original materials, bringing timeless teachings into the modern English language.

John Warne
(picture of John Warne) John Warne was born in San Francisco and raised in Marin County. He developed an interest in the spirutual traditions of India as they were available in California in the 1960’s. He studied Hatha yoga and meditation, read extensively, and attended any lecture or presentation that had to do with India or Tibet. In 1977 he completed the requirements for his B.A. in Sanskrit at the University of California, Berkeley.

He has studied with his guru, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, since 1981 and has completed a three-year Vedanta course on the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and the Brahma Sutras. He has published two books – an introductory Vedanta text and Taittiriya Upanishad as taught by his guru. John has spent more than two years in India, traveling extensively throughout the North and the South. He has been to Gomukh, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Manasarovar, and Kailas. He particularly enjoys the temples and temple life of Tamil Nadu. John is an avid photographer who has amassed hundreds of high quality photos. In 1999, John earned his M.S. in Counseling Psychology at Dominican University in San Rafael, California.

Julia Lorimer
(picture of Julia Lorimer) Julia Lorimer, B.S., N.M.T., C.M.T., R.Y.T., has studied yoga and meditation for 30 years. Early in her journey she gravitated to disciplines of the body, including study of Hatha Yoga in 1980 with June Parsons in Bihar lineage of Swami Satyananda. To find answers to her back injury in 1990, she began studying Iyengar Yoga extensively with numerous senior Iyengar teachers and later with the Iyengars themselves on her frequent visits to Pune, India.

As a bodyworker specializing in the relief of acute, chronic and severe pain relief, she translated her knowledge of yoga into a unique system of hands on yoga therapy combining anatomy, postural training, Iyengar Yoga based biomechanics, St. John Neuromuscular Pain Relief Therapy and Ayurveda. She has taught private and group medical yoga classes for 18 years, often with chiropractic consultant Douglas Greene D.C.

Realizing a missing component to her yoga practice (sadhana), she came to Swami Dayananda Saraswati, her primary spiritual teacher since 1998. Swami Dayananda is India's foremost proponent of India's Vedic heritage: Advaita Vedanta, Sanskrit, Yoga, Meditation, Jyotish and Vedic chanting. While studying Vedanta, Sanskrit and yoga with her teachers, both at Indian and Pennsylvania ashrams, she also apprenticed with India’s leading Yogis and Ayruveda doctors.

Julia Lorimer has been a popular yoga teacher and body therapist to whom many yoga teachers go for training and healing. She has studied yoga for twenty years with renowned Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher Ramanand Patel, one of the primary teachers participating in the first yoga teacher training at the Iyengar Institute in San Francisco in 1974. Patel says, “Julia is one of the few people I go to myself and refer students for bodywork.” Julia is currently a dedicated student of Manouso and Rita Manos. Rita Lewis Manos, Junior Intermediate Iyengar Yoga Teacher, says, “Julia’s creative use of yoga props in her hands-on table work, functions as many hands releasing subtle areas of stiffness that would otherwise be unavailable for change. I highly recommend her work.”

Julia inspires confidence in her yoga students by safely unravelling tension and bringing rapid pain relief into situations where simple asana classes might actually be making pain conditions worse. Her students also benefit from old style traditional asana practices that culminate in silent meditation. She distills India’s Upanishadic spiritual teachings in her guided meditations and psychological processes which facilitate inner growth. In addition to Julia’s San Francisco Bay area private practice, yoga and meditation trainings, she teaches nationally and internationally.

Julia Lorimer recently completed a 3 year residential course in Vedanta and Sanskrit with Sri Swami Dayananda and Swami Satskatkritananda. Her 12 years of study of Advaita Vedanta on 'The Oneness of Everything' enable her to teach Vedanta and meditation based in the original Sanskrit Upanisad commentaries of Sri Adi Shankara Acharya. Her website is Vi-Yoga.com.



     Lord Śiva
(picture of Lord Siva) Lord Śiva is the form of the universal, timeless Lord that applies to the renunciation of the transient world and the destroyer of self-ignorance. As such Lord Śiva is the consummate yogi, envisioned as seated in blissful meditation. As the teacher, Lord Śiva is called Dakṣināmūrti and is so invoked in our teacher's three principle ashrams.

     Śri Veda Vyāsa
(picture of Veda Vyasa) Śri Veda Vyāsa is considered to be the editor of the Vedas.

The four Vedas, collectively referred to as the Veda, existed even before Vyāsa. He was the one who grouped them properly so that a designated person in a given family could study one particular Veda and then hand it over to each succeeding generation. Because Vyāsa knew the Vedas so well, he was considered to be all-knowing. In the middle of the vast, beautiful word tapestry of his epic, Mahābhārata, Vyāsa presented the wisdom of the Vedas, in the form of the Bhagavad Gita through the teaching by Lord Krishna to His student, Arjuna. He is also said to be the authur cum editor of the major ">Purānas (mythologies) in India.

     Śri Patañjali
(picture of Patanjali) Almost everything about Patañjali is unknown, disputed and mired in myth. He could have lived 250 BCE—give or take many hundreds of years before or after.

Patañjali is held to be the patron saint of dance. Some say that he wrote a treatise on ayurvedic medicine. Some also identify him with the Patañjali who wrote the Great Commentary on Panini's grammar sutras, the guiding principles of the Sanskrit language to this day.

The Patañjali here acknowledged is the author of the Yoga Sutras. This treatise brought together the many streams of yoga that stretch into the unseen past of India. It survives today as the philosophical head of the vast body of yoga.

     Ādhi Śaṅkarācarya
<br />
<picture of Sankaracarya> Śaṅkarācarya is usually placed in the teaching lineage between the Lord and one's present teacher. The teaching of Vedanta being totally within the all-pervasive, timeless Lord, then, since my teacher is passing this now on to me, the lineage of the teaching must have been maintained. Within this lineage, the most detailed unfoldment of this teaching and the method of its unfoldment was by Ādhi Śaṅkarācarya through his commentaries on the major Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Vedanta Sutras. Nothing is left to vagary in his writings. In this way, Śaṅkarācarya is the link beween this divine teaching and what you are hearing here.

     Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati
<br />
<picture of Swami Chinmayananda> Born on May 8, 1916 in Kerala, India, Balakrishnan Menon acquired degrees in Law and English Literature before plunging into the Freedom Movement of India against the British rule. Balakrishnan's nationalist activities led to his imprisonment, and after he was released, he worked for a newspaper called The National Herald.

While working for The National Herald, Balakrishanan decided to write an exposé on what he believed to be the bluff of the swamis in the Himalayan regions. To investigate and uncover such veils of alleged sanctity, he travelled to Ananda Kutir, Swami Sivananda's ashram in Rishikesh.

However, this was not to be so, as Balakrishnan's journey to expose others ended up in exposing himself to his own spiritual revolution and evolution. Swami Sivananda's divinity, love, and Vedanta teachings overwhelmed the young skeptic. In the company of saints, and through the clarity of their teachings, the highly intellectual seeker soon chose to become a renunciate himself.

Balakrishnan was initiated into sannyasa in 1949 by Swami Sivananda, who blessed him with the name Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati. Swami Sivananda then guided the new ascetic to the most renowned Vedanta master of the time, Swami Tapovanam, who lived in Uttarkashi, in the Himalayas. As Swami Tapovanam's disciple, Swami Chinmayananda led an austere life and underwent an intense study of Vedantic texts.

Spiritually awakened through Swami Tapovanam's tutelage and grace, and inspired by Mother Ganga's continuous flow of purity and service to mankind, Swami Chinmayananda sought and received his guru's blessings to spread Vedantic knowledge to the masses. Having seen widespread spiritual and social degradation in India, he felt the urge to share with others the knowledge that had brought fulfilment in his own life.

Swami Chinmayananda conducted his first jnana yajna (a series of spiritual discourses) in 1951. His teachings were based on the authority of the Vedas and his direct experience. They were highly appreciated, and the number of devotees eager to learn from Swami Chinmayananda's highly dynamic, logical, and witty discourses increased rapidly. An inspired band of devotees thus formed Chinmaya Mission in 1953.

From pulpits and platforms throughout India and around the world, Swami Chinmayananda taught the tens of thousands who came to listen and learn. By the time he left his physical form and attained mahasamadhi on August 3, 1993, Gurudev, as Swami Chinmayananda came to be known among his followers, had conducted 576 jnana yajnas as well as countless family spiritual camps, traversing hundreds of thousands of miles, crisscrossing the globe, and transforming millions of lives directly and indirectly.

Swami Chinmayananda is credited with bringing about a worldwide Vedantic renaissance in the late 20th century through his introduction of Adi Sankara's works and teachings to the masses. Whether in his writings or his orations, Swami Chinmayananda was famed for his depth, clarity, eloquence, wit, and humour. Serving humanity endlessly and tirelessly until his last day, he daily expounded in colloquial terms the philosophical truths from Advaita Vedanta in every nook and corner he reached.

From within the Chinmayananda Mission grew the famous disciple and teacher in his own right, Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

     Swami Dayananda Saraswati
(picture of Swami Dayananda) Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati is a distinguished, traditional teacher of Vedanta. His depth of understanding and nuanced appreciation of Western culture makes him that rare teacher who can communicate the vision of non-duality to modern listeners. He is able to make one see, with immediacy, the truth of oneself as the whole.

Swami Dayananda has been teaching Vedanta in India for more than four decades, and around the world since 1976. In his public talks abroad, Swamiji has spoken at many of the most prestigious American universities, and has addressed international conventions, UNESCO and the United Nations, where he participated in the Millennium Peace Summit.

A teacher of teachers, Swami Dayananda designed and taught six resident in-depth Vedanta courses, each spanning 30 to 36 months. Four were conducted in India, and two in the United States. Each course graduated about 60 qualified acharyas, teachers, who are now teaching around the world. More than one hundred are now swamis and are highly respected as scholars and teachers throughout India and abroad.

Under Swami Dayananda’s guidance, numerous centers for Vedic teaching have been founded around the world. The two main centers in India are the Arsha Vidya Ashram in Rishikesh (dayananda.org) and the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Coimbatore (arshavidya.in). In the U.S., the main center is the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam at Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania (arshavidya.org). At present there are at least sixty centers in India and abroad that carry on the same tradition of Vedantic teaching.

In addition to teaching, Swami Dayananda has initiated and supported various philanthropic efforts. The All India Movement (AIM) for Seva, inaugurated in November, 2000, brings medical, educational, nutritional and infrastructure assistance to villagers in the remote areas of India. This movement enjoys the blessing of all traditional Hindu spiritual leaders who have united as a single body, the Acarya Sabha, through the coordinating efforts of Swami Dayananda. In November 2001, Swami Dayananda convened the first World Congress for the Preservation of Religious Diversity in Delhi, inaugurated by the Dalai Lama and the then Prime Minister Mr. A.B. Vajpayee. An important outcome of the Congress is the formation of a Global Commission for the Preservation of Religious Diversity, spearheaded by Swami Dayananda. The Commission had its inaugural meeting in Bangkok in June, 2002. Swami Dayananda was also active in forming and participating in the Women’s Global Peace Initiative, which convened at the United Nations in Geneva in October 2002.

     Sri T. Krishnamacharya
(picture of T. Krishnamacharya) Tirumalai Krishnamacharya - yogi, healer, linguist, Vedic scholar, expert in the Indian Schools of thought, researcher, author... in other words, a legend. Born in 1888 in a remote Indian village, T. Krishnamacharya who lived to be over hundred years old was one of the greatest yogis of the modern era. If today, yoga is an inherent part of the everyday lives of millions of people across the world, it is due in large measure to the pioneering efforts of T. Krishnamacharya who revived yoga in the early twentieth century. While preserving ancient wisdom and reviving lost teachings, Krishnamacharya was also a revolutionary innovator who developed and adapted yoga practices that would offer health, mental clarity and spiritual growth to any individual in the modern-day world. Krishnamacharya's knowledge of yoga was so vast that he taught each student differently. In refusing to standardize the practice and teaching methodology, Krishnamacharya created an understanding of yoga relevant for a broad spectrum of students. By integrating the ancient teachings of Yoga and Indian philosophy with modern-day requirements, Krishnamacharya created yoga practices that are as accurate and powerful as they are practical and relevant.

Fernando Pages Ruiz probably summed up Krishnamacharya's immense contribution to yoga when he wrote in an article entitled, "The Legacy of Krishnamacharya," (Yoga Journal, May/June 2001) :
"You may have never have heard of him, but Tirumalai Krishnamacharya influenced or perhaps even invented your yoga. Whether you practice the dynamic series of Pattabhi Jois, the refined alignments of BKS Iyengar, the classical postures of Indra Devi, or the customized vinyasa [of Desikachar], your practice stems from one source: a five-foot, two-inch Brahmin born more than one hundred years ago in a small south Indian Village." (kym.org)

     Sri Stan Melancon
(picture of Stan Melancon) Stan Melancon has studied and practiced yoga for five decades. His spiritual quest has taken him through the studies of many spiritual disciplines. For ten years he lived in India and Nepal; studying Advaita Vedanta in the traditional method with Swami Dayananda Saraswati, India's most renowned scholar of Vedanta and Sanskrit. Stan continues his studies with Swami Dayananda to the present day.

During his years in India, Stan studied with many of the greatest spiritual masters to have lived in the past 100 years. He studied yoga and yoga philosophy with Sri T. Krishnamacharya of Mysore (South India), Sri Vidya (Tantric practice) with Smt. Revathi Viramani (Rema), and Vedic studies with Brahma Sri V. Jagadeeswara Sastrigal. Stan studied Ayurvedic medicine in Kathmandu, Nepal with Mana Bajra Bajracharya and also participated in a resident Transcendental Meditation instructor’s course conducted by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at His Ashram in Rishikesh, North India.

Stan lived and taught in Kathmandu and had patronage by the Royal Family of Nepal where he formed the Royal Institute for Nepali Sacred Arts. He was instrumental in rediscovering Charya Dance (the world's oldest dance or ritual movement) and reinstating these ancient temple dances in the temples of Nepal. The Royal Institute had funding through the Rockefeller Foundation and worked in association with the Anthropological Film Center of the Smithsonian Institute.

Stan has toured the world, giving lectures on Hindu culture, Vedantic philosophy, oriental philosophy, and comparative religion. He has lectured at Oxford University, Hong Kong University, the Hebrew University in Tel Aviv, and Columbia University.

Stan has been teaching Vedanta, Meditation, Yoga, Pranayama and spiritual development seminars for over 30 years, and has more than 5000 teaching hours as a yoga instructor. He is a certified teacher of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam Institute of Vedanta and Sanskrit.

Stan conducts Pranayama, Yoga & Meditation Workshops at AVG in addition to Public relations activities and Children’s Prgram co-ordination at AVG, Saylorsburg. Stan will be teaching classes during summer programs.


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