Swami Satchidananda with Ornish family, 1972, Dallas, Texas. [L-R: Steven, Edwin (father), Kathy, Natalie (mother), Dean Ornish.]
Throughout 1972, Swami Satchidananda was traveling continually and speaking to a variety of audiences. Of special interest to him was sharing his teachings on disease, or as he often put it: “dis-ease.” Over many years, these teachings made far-reaching contributions to the field of health and complementary medicine and form the foundation of Lifestyle Medicine as presented by Dr. Dean Ornish. From the start of his service in the West, Swamiji steadfastly promoted vegetarian diet, stress reduction through the Yoga practices and philosophy, and living in harmony with nature. In 1972, a young medical school student first met Swami Satchidananda. Ornish’s mother and sister were both students of Yoga and Mrs. Ornish invited Swamiji to her home to give a talk. Dean Ornish attended the talk and he often speaks about how not only did this encounter change his life, it literally saved his life. Little did he know, at that time, how pivotal that influence would continue to be and how it would shape the trailblazing research he would do—incorporating Yoga and meditation—that opened the door for Yoga therapy today and that proved that heart disease and other illnesses could be prevented and reversed through Lifestyle Medicine.
In March 1972, Swamiji opened Integral Yoga Natural Foods, the first vegetarian health food store in New York City. For a long time, it was the only place in the city where they could purchase exclusively vegetarian products that were consistent with the principles of purity and nonviolence that are at the heart of Yoga. Integral Yoga Natural Foods in Charlottesville, Virginia opened in 1980.
He also conducted a 3-day Integral Yoga workshop at the American Academy of Psychotherapists convention and gave lectures on Yoga psychology to students and faculty members of various universities. He also spoke at the Adelphi College Drug Prevention Training Program and addressed a group of graduating trainees at the National Institute for Community Drugs Program in Toronto, Canada.