Yogrishi Vishvketu

Your True Nature is Joyful, Playful, Fearless, Helpful, Expandable and Kind.

Yogrishi Vishvketu (Yogrishi-ji, Vishva-ji) is a world-renowned Yoga teacher trainer who has studied and practiced Yoga for more than 40 years and trained more than 4,500 yoga teachers around the world.

A yogi, philanthropist, author and householder, he has dedicated his life’s work towards empowering individuals and local communities towards self-healing and sustainable, balanced living.

His infectious laugh and simple yet profound wisdom is an ongoing source of inspiration for many committed practitioners and teachers – who often describe the experience as a feeling of coming home.

Yogrishi Vishvketu grew up in the historically significant Kanvashram Gurukul in India, spending many years immersed in the Himalayan Yogic tradition.

He believes wellbeing is everyone’s birthright, and founded Akhanda Yoga Institute to support the sharing of authentic, yogic wellbeing practices derived from the Vedic and Adi Nath Shiva traditions.

In addition to learning within the ‘guru-shishya’ parampara, he holds a Phd in Yoga, receiving gold medals at both university and national level programs. He is recognised for teaching a complete and balanced approach to yoga practice, using simple yet potent, accessible and artistic sequences.

His unique sequencing of original tools and techniques has seen the contribution of several innovative and powerful styles of yoga practice. These include Classical Kundalini, Five Koshas, Raja Yoga (Using Bhramari), Inner Reprogramming, Akhanda Yoga Nidra, Pranayama and of course, the foundational style of Akhanda Yoga, serving all levels of experience.

“Your physical existence is just a tiny piece of You. Other layers of self are bigger and stronger. Your daily Yoga practice brings the layers together to operate as One Whole.”
- Yogrishi Vishvketu

In addition to travelling the world over 25 years to share this wellbeing, Yogrishi Vishvketu has also contributed to numerous individual, social and spiritual upliftment initiatives.

✺ In 2007, he co-founded Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram, a dedicated space for immersive training and practice.

✺ In 2013, he founded Sansar Gyaan Pathshala, serving the education needs of over 250 children in underserved communities.

✺ In 2015, he authored Yogasana, the most authoritative encyclopaedic, visual guide pairing asanas to chakras to date.

✺ In 2015, he also created an online video repository (now housing over 800 classes) to support on-demand, affordable access to yoga practices.

✺ In 2018, Yogrishi Vishvketu founded Sree Jungle Ashram Yoga Retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas, to support sincere seekers wanting to explore deeper sadhana practices.

✺ In 2019, he co authored Business Casual Yogi, to share yogic wisdom with those who live and work in contemporary worlds.

✺ In 2021, he founded Haldi Rani, Original Turmeric to promote the consumption of organic, wellbeing produce sourced in fair trade from local farmers: from local to global.

Author of the first Asana Encyclopedia mapping each pose to corresponding chakras:

Yogasana: The Encyclopedia of Yoga Poses (Mandala Insight Editions, 2015)
- Yogrishi Vishvketu

The global Akhanda Yoga family nurtured by Vishva-ji and the Akhanda team, is a yogic community committed to self-healing and self-development for living a balanced, fulfilling life aligned with soul purpose.

Vishva-ji’s life experience includes living in both eastern and western cultures, and experiencing relationships and parenting in culturally diverse settings. He has developed the ability to balance a Yogic lifestyle with householder responsibilities and thereby truly relate to his students — as well as create practices that are authentic, simple, and sustainable.

As a result of this unique life experience, Yogrishi Vishvketu co-authored the business dharma read, Business Casual Yogi. Forbes Magazine acclaimed the book particularly for entrepreneurs, bringing dharma techniques to those who continue to live and work in contemporary worlds.

Vishva-ji continues to share the teachings of Yoga with immense sincerity all around the world. His holistic approach to the practice of Yoga infuses ancient wisdom into all of his classes, whether they’re offered in India or abroad. Learn more about where you can meet him in person.

Yogrishi Vishvketu detailed biography

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Yogrishi Vishvketu was born under the birth name of Manoj Panwar in a traditional family and simple farmhouse, in the village of Ailum near Shamali (previously known as Muzaffarnagar).

The third among four children, he did not speak until the age of four causing his mother to fear that he was mute. His father, Dr. Sansar Singh Panwar, was a well known Ayurvedic doctor and spiritual practitioner.

Dr. Panwar was particularly respected for his selfless seva to local communities, providing daily medications for the miniscule amount of two rupees per person. His mother, Sureshvati, was recognised for her wisdom and many local women would approach her for advice on womens’ health matters.

Picture Caption: The late Dr Sansar Singh Panwar, Yogrishi Vishvketu’s father

At six, he ran away from home catching a train, ticketless, towards a Shiva temple where his uncle, Swami Mahavir Giri, was undertaking intense spiritual practices. Upon arrival he expressed that he wanted to wear the orange clothes of a Swami. He was told he was too young, given one rupee and some sweets and brought back to his parents.

At school, unlike his peers, he would sit silently observing his surroundings. His growingly concerned parents invited Swami Mahavir Giri to their home with the hope that his blessings would help him learn how to read and write. Swami Mahavir Giri obliged, and taught him how to do likhita japa (repeated writing of mantras) ‘Ram Ram’. The Swami ji’s blessings were fruitful, his mother soon discovered to her surprise, a mountain of notebooks all filled only with the mantra ‘Ram’.

Picture Caption: The late Swami Mahavir Giri, Yogrishi Vishvketu’s uncle and first inspiration

When Vishva-ji came to know that his maternal uncle, Swami Yogiraj (also known as Adhunik Bheem), was running a gurukul in the ancient, revered Kanvashram, he began to pester his parents to be taken there. At the age of 8, his mother, Sureshvati, made him a challenge, “If you can keep your clothes clean and neat in a box, and wash and fold them yourself for one month, I will send you to the gurukul”. And so, shortly thereafter he was enrolled.

His parent’s contributions to the community and preservation of Ayurvedic tradition created the foundation for Yogrishi’s virtuous ideals of community, holistic living, and charity from a very young age.

Picture Caption: Mataji, Yogrishi Vishvketu’s mother in her younger days

Kanvashram has a strong link with India’s spiritual history, great sages such as Rishi Kanvar, Rishi Vishvamitra, and King Bharat lived in or practiced in this environment. Energetically charged, this was an ideal place to absorb ancient healing and consciousness-raising traditions.

The young Manoj began his spiritual journey with long days at Gurukul Mahavidyalaya Kanvashram learning meditation, chanting, Vedic fire puja, Sanskrit, Yoga, sports, and other school subjects. 

Swami Yogiraj, known as the strongest man in India during his youth, was also a renowned herb specialist, alchemist and Ayurvedic doctor. His carefully preserved knowledge of nature, herbs, Yoga, and alchemy provided a wealth of knowledge that young Manoj engaged with enthusiastically.

Picture Caption: Swami Yogiraj, also known as India’s strongest Adhunik Bheem

Manoj soon became the leader of the Aushadhalaya (Ayurvedic pharmacy), learning to pick herbs in the jungle, and helping to assess ailments and prescribe Ayurvedic remedies.

By the age of 16, he was a dedicated Karma Yogi serving and teaching the visitors to the ashram and nurturing the residents, including schoolmates, while taking care of the goshala (cow shed). 

He was given a strongly rooted foundation in wisdom and techniques, including Vedic fire rituals (Agni Hotra), Ayurveda, and Yoga and lived a dinacharya lifestyle (conscious living). He was also adept at numerous sports and Indian wrestling, which eventually led him towards undertaking university level studies in sports at CCS HAU Sports College and Yoga at university.

The Gurukul had many current-day visiting Yogis as well, who Manoj had exposure and influence from throughout his entire youth.

Picture Caption: Kanvashram

For Manoj, the university experience brought a very different world from the quiet, spiritual disciplines and organisation of Kanvashram life for Manoj. Here, he experienced the world of material, intellectual information and connection with many different personalities. It was overwhelming, and also gave him a new, expansive outlook. 

It was at university that Manoj met his Guru, Baba Prem Nath, a deeply focused young ascetic from Rajasthan who lived on prana as his main sustenance over 12 years. While at Sports College, Baba Prem Nath anchored Manoj in the wisdom and techniques of prana. In the traditional guru-shishya approach, Baba Prem Nath would share wisdom and give homework, leading by example in his own life. He would give Manoj practices to increase his own pranic energy, both on and off the Yoga mat.

Picture Caption: Yogrishi Vishvketu exploring sports sciences & yoga at Sports College

Baba Prem Nath played a significant role in guiding Manoj to expand on spiritual discipline and inner focus. During that time, Baba Prem Nath initiated him with the name Vishvketu meaning ‘world bridge or world flag.’ As he was nearing graduation from university, he told Vishva-ji, “You will not get a job from anyone; you will create jobs for others.” At the age of 22, this was a bit of a shock, a seemingly inauspicious blessing that took some time to understand. 

Vishva-ji continued to study Naturopathy and Yoga and eventually began his Masters degree in Yoga. This journey of study while contemplating his Guru’s guidance continued, bringing him through his PhD in Yoga. It took him years to process and understand his teacher’s words and guidance towards his soul purpose. Vishva-ji now looks back with immense gratitude for the teacher who guided him so well.

Picture Caption: Guru Baba Prem Nath, Nath Yogi and Vishvaji’s initiated Guru

Vishva-ji attained numerous awards and acknowledgements, including receiving a University Gold medal, and gold medals in national championships in Yoga. From his studies, he developed a habit of bringing awareness and excellence to anything he undertook.

After graduation and while undertaking his PhD, Yogrishi Vishvketu moved to the renowned Yoga Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh where he continued to teach and inspire students from around the world to live the Yogic life with joy and dedication. He undertook numerous Gayatri anustanas and spent three months in silence to go within and fully understand his soul purpose. During this period he was also blessed with advanced teachings in pranayama, satkarmas, mudras, and kriyas from Swami Yogi Nath, also a Nath Yogi. 

Picture Caption: Yogrishi Vishvketu at Yoga Niketan Ashram teaching students traditional Shatkarmas

Vishva-ji moved to Canada in 2001, and began to teach, sharing a passion for Yoga and his fun-loving nature. A core group of students from his Yoga Niketan days were there to support him and his vision in the initial days. With time, many more Akhanda Yogis and Yoginis contributed to setting the foundations for numerous projects and expanding several new initiatives.

From his many years living in sadhana and engaging in intensive Gayatri mantra anustana in Rishikesh, Yogrishi-ji was internally carrying the view of Vasudhev Kutumbhakkam – the whole world is one family. 

As a new immigrant in Canada, Vishva-ji began to teach in government offices in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. Soon there were Yoga classes taught by the “Yogi who laughs” in Transport Canada, the Public Service Commission, Immigration Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and the National Research Council. 

Picture Caption: Yogrishi Vishvketu in Canada

Yogrishi Vishvketu’s deepest aim is to inspire people to connect to their true nature, which is fearless, expansive, joyful, and playful.

After many years teaching internationally, Vishva-ji co-founded Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram Trust in Tapovan, Rishikesh on Deepavali, 2007. His earlier thoughts on Vasudhev Kutumbakam (the world is one family) began to manifest in its first form – the construction of an ashram space for safe, comfortable, and undisturbed practice.

With a close-knit team of dedicated supporters including family and friends, the first two-storey building, equipped with a Yoga hall, sattvic dining facility, and small fire puja area was constructed near Laxman Jhula in Rishikesh, India. 

The space hosted Yoga teacher trainings, for dedicated Yoga practitioners, with a team of expert teachers from around the world.

Picture Caption: Ashram Opening Ceremony

In 2013, Vishvaji stepped into the role of sole Directorship of the Ashram, continuing to expand and manage the space with the growing Akhanda Yoga team. His engaging style of teaching and powerful practice sequences continued to spread through word of mouth. The space was extended to accommodate the growing number of Yoga teachers and dedicated spiritual practitioners who wanted to immerse themselves in a comfortable, safe space for practice. 

In 2013 Yogrishi Vishvketu also founded Sansar Gyaan Pathshala, a school for 300 underserved children in Pritamgarh, India. This was the culmination of several years of fundraising efforts, kickstarted by an inspired group of Akhanda karma Yogis in 2009. Today, the Akhanda Global Family continues to support the school through Helping Hands for India, a Canadian based charitable organization managed by a dedicated team of volunteers.

Picture Caption: Yogrishi Vishvketu teaching students of Sansar Gyaan Pathshala

In the years that followed, Yogrishi Vishketu continued to steadily create additional initiatives to share authentic, wellbeing practices and empower local communities. These projects have included creating an online repository housing more than 800 Yoga practices, authoring two authoritative books on asana postures and dharma, founding and constructing Shree Jungle Ashram Yoga Retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas, and most recently founding Haldi Rani, Original Turmeric for the empowerment of wellbeing produce sourced from local farming communities in fair trade.

In addition to these large scale projects, Vishva-ji regularly serves both local communities and global Yogis and Yoginis. In 2020, he funded more than $26,000 in scholarships to enable Akhanda Yoga teachers to continue to grow their skills, supported more than 300 families, and coordinated the raising of significant funds for oxygen support, immunity packages, and isolation centres during India’s severe pandemic lockdowns.

Picture Caption: Yogrishi Vishvketu celebrating the auspiciousness of yoga and wellbeing

“Believe in yourself and walk proudly on your own path.” –Yogrishi Vishvketu

Where can you find Vishva-ji?

Join him on Akhanda Yoga Online for a full array of classes and wisdom talks you can access anytime, anywhere or checkout his live offerings below!

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