Gurudev Shri Amritji is one of the earliest yoga gurus who brought the inner dimension of yoga to the west in 1960. He has been repeatedly honoured worldwide for his pioneering work. Over the past fifty-seven years,he has foundedsome of the largest yoga and health centers in North America, including the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts and the Amrit Yoga Institute in Florida. It has made a historical impact on the yoga community.
Deepak Chopra said" Yogi Amrit Desai is a pioneer in introducing yoga to the west but more significantly through his unique style, his method of teaching draws upon the original spiritual depths that is missing in the popular practice of hatha yoga.
Amritji's 1970 Kundalini awakening experience revealed to him that Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is a manual for the practice of Ashtanga Yoga rather than a philosophy of Yoga. Out of this realization, he designed a practice of Yoga that integrates the core principles of the Yoga Sutras into the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, a combined holistic practice of Hatha and Raja Yoga. Patanjali says "yoga means the modifications of mind" It means you can enter the inner dimensions of yoga through meditation. This is why Gurudev calls his I AM practice as Meditation in Motion.
There are more than 8,000yoga and yoga nidra teachers from over forty-five countries who have been certified in the inner dimension of yoga that he developed. This dimension provides an in-depth healing and powerful therapeutic and transformative benefits that are missing in popular approaches to Hatha yoga.
Smithsonian Publication 2014, Yoga: The Art of Transformation (page 100): "The sixties brought an infusion of Indian gurus to the US including Swami Muktanandna. and Amrit Desai(b.1932) who established the Yoga Society of Pennsylvania and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health named for his guru Swami Kripalvanandaji.
He has been honoured by the most prestigious organizations and authorities some of which are listed below:
International Grand Yoga Master2013 by Padma Shri HH Amrta Suryanandaji. This award has been previously given only to Padma Shri Dr. Nagendra of SVYASA University of Bangalore and BKS Iyengar.
• Patanjali Award 2010by association of Ayurvedic professionals of North America (AAPNA)
• Padma Vibhushan Nomination 1992 by the late Prime Minister Shri Chandra Shekhar
• Vishwa Yoga Ratna 1987by the World Development Parliament, presented by the President of India
• Jagadacharya 1986 by the World Religious Parliament, New Delhi, established by Swami Vivekananda
• Yogacharya 1980 by HH Swami Shri Kripalvanandaji his guru and founder of Kayavarohan Tirtha Shiva Temple
• Doctor of Yoga Science 1974 by HH Jagadguru Shankaracharya Maharaj of Dwarka
A globally revered spiritual leader, Gurudev Shri Amritji has reached millions through his international trainings, workshops, seminars, and conferences as well as his peace missions to Russia and Israel. His many publications includeKripalu Yoga: Meditation in Motion, Amrit Yoga: Explore, Expand, and Experience the Spiritual Depth of Yoga,and Amrit Yoga and the Yoga Sutras.The recent titlesAncient Wisdom, Modern Master (2012), Love and Bliss: Meditations on the Art of Living (2014) a collection of inspired poetry, and The Yoga of Relationships (2015) haveearned a total of fifteen literary awards from London, Paris, New York, Hollywood, Southern California, Nautilus, the Great Midwest, and Florida book festivals.
Homegrown Gurus published by State University of New York 2013: ".(sic) Desai remains at the forefront of the modern Anglophone (English speaking) Yoga Revolution in America for almost four decades with a growing international reputation. Desai's most noted innovation is that he was the first Indianborn "American yogi" to introduce systematic teachings and techniques on prana in the west.
Dr David Frawley, (Padma Bushan), author of more than 30 books on yoga and Ayurveda..."Yogi Desai revived the ancient teachings of the millennial old Shaivaite yoga rooted in the Lakulish tradition from Kayavarohan in Gujurat. One of the greatest centers of India's older yoga practice. Yogi Desai made these secret teachings once more alive and relevant to the entire world. He has left an indelible influence on the modern yoga particularly in the west.
In 2000, Gurudev established the Amrit Yoga Institute, a thriving international Yoga and Ayurveda center in Salt Springs, Florida, where he currently resides and teaches. To this day, he continues to promote the authentic teachings of yoga worldwide.