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    Yogi Sri M speaks to the Graham Chamber of Commerce and its ambassadors during a ribbon cutting ceremony for The Blossom Foundation on Thursday, Sept. 26. The foundation is located on Racetrack Road in Young County and will host eight yogic and meditation based retreats each year. (Leader photo by Thomas Wallner)

Blossoming in Young County

Sri M, Blossom Foundation settle in

Yogi Sri M and The Blossom Foundation are getting settled in at their new Young County property where the organization will host eight yogic and meditation based retreats a year.

M was born in southern India in the town of Thiruvananthapuram to a muslim family. But at 18-years-old, he left his family to go to Himalayan Mountains with the hopes of learning more about the Hindu teachings of yoga and meditation.

“I was born into a particular denomination and was not very happy with the way things were,” M said. “I felt very caged and I just wanted to break free. That’s what happens when you are 18,19. Some people take to drugs, some do all kinds of thing when they are young. For me, it was traveling to the Himalayan Mountains.”

M said he has been coming to the United States annually for the past 16 years to teach meditation and yoga.

“I travel a lot in India. I do a lot of peace work bringing communities together and bringing peace,” he said.

He said he wanted to start a separate organization in the U.S. and  wanted to incorporate the Lotus flower in the name. They eventually settled on the Blossom Foundation, which is a non-profit organization.

They held many retreats all across the U.S. including in Oregon, California, New York and Washington D.C.

“I was fed up of traveling in the U.S. so much,” M said. “Lot of time changes and things like that and I was becoming older and couldn’t handle it. So, we were looking for a place where instead of wandering around, we could hold all the retreats at. I wanted it away from the city.”

He said a close friend suggested a property located at 302 Racetrack Road and they fell in love with the area and the Brazos River after touring the property. After purchasing the property, the Blossom Foundation constructed a meditation hall, dining hall, a sacred grove and are currently working on cottages.

The foundation will use the property to host about eight two-day retreats a year with four in October and four in May.

“We get about 80 to 85 people in for a retreat, they come from all over the world and many parts of the United States,” M said. “It starts on the evening one day, a whole day the next day. We have yoga classes in the morning, which I don’t do, but somebody else teaches, a young lady named Michelle from the Netherlands. Then there’s another half day and that’s the end of it.”

He said he will take a break for a couple days between retreats to allow for rest, writing and painting before hosting another retreat.

“It is completely non-denominational, but since the teachings come from India you will find there is a lot of Sanskrit and Hindu terms,” M said. “People come basically to free themselves of tensions and distractions which percept the mind in this world we live in. Two, it is alcohol free, there is no smoking and meat. So for the few days they stay here their health becomes a little better also. There are some who come to go deeper into the philosophy.”

He added it is also a change from a person’s working daily life. The person will volunteer with organization and meditate.

M said the foundation is looking into the possibility of adding regular yoga classes after hearing from locals about the possibility. He said the organization is also looking into ways to volunteer and help with community charities for the homeless and environment.

“In general, we need to see what we can do for the community here,” M said. “We need to explore that, we just got here. I would also like to meet people and figure out what they expect to us.”

When the retreats are not ongoing, M said he will return home to India, but a couple of Blossom Foundation representatives will stay at the property.

“Even though the retreats are only twice a year, we want to keep it open,” M said. “So, if somebody wants to come (they can.)”

For the rest of the story, see the Wednesday, Oct. 9 edition of The Graham Leader.

The Graham Leader

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