By 1970, Swami Satchidananda’s popularity was growing by leaps and bounds as interest in Yoga exploded. He was invited to give talks at numerous universities, drug rehabilitation centers, prisons, and peace festivals. He also led his first world tour with a group of his Western students, including Alice Coltrane (photo above). At the time of his passing in 2002, Swami Satchidananda had made eight world tours and logged nearly two million miles.
Musicians such as Alice Coltrane, Carole King, and Laura Nyro met Swami Satchidananda and become students. Coltrane would go on to record two albums inspired by his teachings (“Journey in Satchidananda,” 1970; “World Galaxy,” 1972) and traveled with him in India and Sri Lanka in late 1970 – 1971. Carole King became an Integral Yoga teacher and wrote the song, “You Light Up My Life” in his honor. Later, Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, founding members of The Rascals also become students, among other musicians and artists.
Also in 1970, Mayor Lindsey invited Swamiji to join him for the first Earth Day celebration in New York City. And, he was invited as the main speaker for the Whole Earth Festival Celebration of the Spring Equinox, at the University of California, Davis, California.
1970 also marked the beginning of many years of meetings and programs Swami Satchidananda will attend at the United Nations. He meets with Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations and is also invited by the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations to the opening session World Youth Assembly.
In the fall of 1970, he led the first Integral Yoga 10-Day Ecumenical Retreat at Annhurst College, in South Woodstock, Connecticut. Attended by over 400 people, it also featured Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, Brother David Steindl-Rast, and Father George Maloney–a Jesuit priest from Fordham University. It included the first Yoga Ecumenical Service (Y.E.S., later renamed the Light Of Truth Universal Service). Hatha Yoga, meditation, Karma Yoga service projects, chanting, vegetarian food, and evening talks enabled retreatants to go within, to observe and control the mind,
and to find inner peace and happiness.
On October 15, 1970, a beautiful brownstone building on West 13th Street in historic Greenwich Village is dedicated as the New York Integral Yoga Institute. Both an ashram and a teaching center, it became a beacon for spiritual seekers from all over New York City and is the place where thousands of people experienced Yoga for the first time.