VirginiaWind

NOTE: The descriptions of the places in this guide were accurate at the time the articles were posted. Please be advised that you should call ahead before traveling to any of them.

Yogaville

By: Michelle Harper

Yogaville For those of you who really want to get away from it all Yogaville, Virginia, tucked deep in the woods of the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains off of Rt 602, offers a really different kind of day trip. Like the name implies, Yogaville is a community dedicated to the teachings of yoga. Technically, Yogaville is located in Buckingham, Virginia, yet it stands as a complete community unto itself. The biggest challenge of reaching Yogaville is fighting the urge to turn back after you are convinced that you have made a wrong turn as there is literally nothing but woods and scattered homes on the last 20 to 30 minutes of your ride. Just as you begin to feel as if you have left the world behind (which, coincidentally, helps put you in the proper frame of mind for the destination) you will see the signs for Yogaville.

The centerpiece of Yogaville is the Light of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), which is uniquely designed to resemble the Lotus flower (an aquatic plant native to southern Asia), complete with large pinkish "petals" surrounded by fountains and reflecting pools on two separate levels. From the very first glimpse, one can not help but be struck by the stark contrast between the Flamingo-pink "petals" and baby-powder-blue colors of the building against the muted brown and green background of the surrounding landscape. Over 1-1/2 million Italian mosaic tiles cover all 48 "petals" of the LOTUS, which add to its spectacular appearance. The building was dedicated in 1986 and was the vision of Sri Swamiji as a place where people of all faiths could come together in peace and harmony. Based on this mission, the lower level of the shrine contains artifacts and information on all the major religions of the world.

If you choose to investigate the shrine further, it is open to the public. However, you must sign in at the gift shop first where the helpful staff will answer any questions and explain what you can expect on your visit. If you chose not to venture inside, you may like to visit the museum located to the left of the gift shop for an in depth look at the actual process used in the design and building of the shrine. For those of you willing to take on a more strenuous challenge, there are 2 additional smaller temples, high atop a nearby hill.

Yogaville isn't exactly the kind of place you would accidentally stumble upon as it is by its very nature safely secluded from the rest of the world. However, if a gentle ride ending in a one of a kind peaceful destination is what you seek, a trip to Yogaville is the perfect choice. You might even learn something new along your journey.

For more information visit www.yogaville.org

Postscript: Sri Swami Satchidananda Maharaj the founder of Yogaville died 18 August 02.

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