A yoga vision

A yoga vision

The story of how one ambitious Indian man, Ram Jain, realised his vision of opening ashrams to train yoga teachers the world over

Ram Jain is the founder and director of Arhanta Yoga Ashrams. Together with his wife Kalyani Hauswirth-Jain, he runs two international ashrams in India and the Netherlands. His story is one of bravery and persistence. He began as a shy young man from India who took a leap of faith to realise his vision. Today, he stands as an authority in the field of classical yoga.

Ram grew up in India within a traditional Jain family. They followed the ancient scriptures of the Agamas. “The agamas are just like the Vedas but even older,” he says. His father was a yogi and that influenced him to learn about yoga early on in his life. He meditated and lived according to yoga philosophy.

“Yoga interested me at a young age. I learned the asanas when I was eight years old. At 14, I started as an assistant yoga teacher. I remember being so nervous, shy and did not dare to speak in front of the class.” Interestingly, Ram found expression through dance. His dance teacher, the renowned Ashley Lobo, also became his mentor. “I had a lot of support and learned much from Ashley. He encouraged me to continue dancing and teaching yoga. He hired me as an assistant and insisted that I improve my English.”

In 2007, Ram arrived in the Netherlands through a student exchange initiative at the Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Tilburg. There he met Kalyani, also a yoga teacher, who later became his wife.

a yoga vision

As his life partner, she shared his vision and supported his endeavours to propagate the asanas and philosophy of yoga. “It wasn’t easy. I had all kinds of jobs – in factories, cleaning jobs – and we made little money, but I decided to follow my heart and to become a full-time yoga teacher.” Initially, Ram taught at a school in Tilburg, then at a noisy community centre, and later he went back to India to teach.

Over time, more and more students sought his expertise in yoga and he found himself developing a comprehensive yoga teacher training programme.

His dream of opening yoga ashrams began turning into reality. In 2010, his hard work paid off. He founded the Arhanta Yoga Ashram in India near Khajuraho, in Madhya Pradesh, located on seven hectares of lush land and surrounded by natural beauty, hills, forests, and vast idyllic fields. Then, in 2013, we bought a farm in the east of the Netherlands. That became our Dutch ashram where took on the duty of training yoga teachers.”

So what is next for Ram and Kalyani?

Ram talks about his dreams and aspirations for the future with vigour.

“I call it vision,” he says. “That's one of the six pillars of my philosophy of life. During yoga teacher training, I keep coming back to these six pillars, because everything I teach is fundamentally about finding balance in life.”

Vision can take shape, form and evolve over time. "Initially I dreamed about seven ashrams,” he laughs, “but now we know that two are more than enough. To manage an ashram, it takes much effort and focus. We feel privileged to have two. I have also found great happiness in traveling and teaching abroad, in educating and training, and expanding our own online courses.” On one of his recent trips, Ram travelled to Amman in Jordan. "I gave a week-long Yin Yoga training there. People were so interested in traditional yoga, especially the younger generation. They were very open to yoga; I think that's a great development.”

He pursues fulfilment in all aspects of his life. “I especially want to continue to develop and push my limits in life. I often wonder, how can I make a better husband, father, brother, teacher, entrepreneur. I don't care about what I have, it's about who I need to become to achieve my goals.”

He has his wife and family beside him every step of the way. "Kalyani and I do almost everything together. That is special about our relationship. We can work together, raise a family together, share the passion of yoga, health and wellness, yet have our own independent interests too.” The couple are also working on their next book together.

Ram values a cohesive family unit. “In our family, we have a son of 19 from my first marriage and we have a nine-year-old daughter.” His brother also teaches yoga at the ashram and his parents come to the Netherlands every year. Ram and his family regularly visit family in India as well.

We will surely hear a lot more in the future from Ram and the Arhanta Yoga Ashrams and their online venture!

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.