The Yoga Tutor

About International Yogalayam

International Yogalayam was created in 2006 by Yogacharya Michael to provide information on the various aspects of classical yoga. Along with free yoga educational resources and comprehensive, distance education in yoga, International Yogalayam is at the forefront of online yoga education.

About Yogacharya Michael

Yogacharya Michael is a senior teacher in the Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga lineage of Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Gurumaharaj, of Pondicherry India. He is the Founder and Director of International Yogalayam, an online school of yoga, and Managing Editor of The Yoga News, a web-based monthly yoga magazine.

Yogacharya is a unique personality in the modern yoga world. He is a dedicated exponent of the cultural heritage and traditional teachings of yoga, while at the same time a leader in bringing the ancient science of yoga together with modern technology in a practical and meaningful way.

His passion for yoga began early in life. Born in Canada, he travelled extensively as a young man, exploring various cultural and spiritual traditions around the world. By the age of twenty-seven, he had already journeyed to over 50 countries, eventually finding a familiar and strong connection to the spiritual culture of India.

Like many Westerners who go to India in search of yoga, Yogacharya spent several years traversing that great land, studying in various places with a variety of teachers from different yogic traditions. This included a venture into the esoteric teachings of Tantra Yoga, practicing Mysore Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore city, and also learning from senior teachers in the Iyengar Yoga line. He has also studied the principles and practices of Ayurveda and continues to study Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga.

He eventually found his guru, Swami Gitananda Giri, Gurumaharaj in South India, and remains a dedicated student of Swamiji’s son and successor, Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Giri, as well as Swamiji’s wife, Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani. In Yogacharya’s own words, “Swami Gitananda taught the most practical and well-developed Hatha Yoga practices I have ever come across. In particular, his system of Pranayama is by far the most extensive and elaborate of any lineage today. All of these practices are taught upon the rock-solid foundation of the Ashtanga Yoga Principles of the great sage Patanjali, making the teachings of Swamiji’s Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga, in my opinion, the most comprehensive, authentic and effective approach to yoga today.” 

Yogacharya is also a prolific writer and has published dozens of articles on the various concepts and principles of yoga. He is recognized for his unique ability to address the day to day concerns of modern life from a yogic perspective, and to bring the ancient teachings of yoga to life in a way that is relevant and practical today.

He is the author of The Yoga Master's Course, arguably the most extensive yoga distance education program available today, along with other yoga training program offered through International Yogalayam.

Yogacharya still spends most of his time in India and Southeast Asia, where he continues to study Sanskrit and Indian culture, consult, write, and practice yoga.

Our Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga Lineage

Yogacharya's inspiration and continued guidance comes from the selfless service to yoga provided by Swamiji's dhamapatni Smt. Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani and his son, and successor, Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani.

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