Yoga/meditation center plans $6.5 million worth of improvements
Leaders at Isha Institute of Inner-Sciences, a retreat located on the outskirts of McMinnville, say they’re spending roughly $6.5 million on a trio of improvements to boost capacity – both in terms of lodging and programming space – at the Upper Cumberland facility.
The largest: A $4 million project that will increase the number of rooms on campus by 40 percent. A new studio complex, which broke ground recently, will include 100 private rooms in over 40,000 square feet.
Isha already has a collection of semi-private lodges and about three-dozen private rooms on its 1,400 acres, for a capacity of 250.
“But it’s just not enough,” Senthilkumar, programming coordinator, said.
“Our programming has increased, and we are running out of (accommodation) spaces, so we felt the need to expand. The studio is a huge project,” he added.
Programming, from beginner to advanced yoga disciplines, largely takes place inside Mahima, a 39,000-square-foot dome and meditation hall – considered the facility’s centerpiece feature, and the largest structure of its kind in the western hemisphere.
Improvements are also planned there. There will be additional meeting and storage space included in an extension on the back, and on the front, crews are working to add a covered pavilion, to give it “a very different feel.”
The new 3,700 square-foot entrance will include up of 50 tons of steel, among other features, Ryan Williams, a director of business development at J&S Construction, said. It’s the first time Cookeville-based J&S has partnered with Isha; along with the studio build, improvements to Mahima are expected to tally around $1 million.
“Mahima, for a long time, has been our primary program home, and now, every weekend, we’re having some kind (event) here,” said Isha’s PR coordinator Jordan Funk. “And with that, we need to change the footprint of the dome to accommodate that growth. This can be a tremendous draw for the Upper Cumberland.”
Senthil said they’re also planning a $1-1.5 million rejuvenation center, a separate area on campus for disciples highlighting health and well being. He hopes to break ground on that later this year; the project will take around 10 months to complete.
When all is said and done, Senthil expects tangible results. Isha welcomed more than 30,000 visitors in 2016, its 10th anniversary – he expects they’ll double that number in 2017. Events like World Peace Day, held in September, monthly free yoga days, and visits by Isha’s founder, Sadhguru, yogi, author, speaker and visionary, continue to be big draws.
“Right now, we are mainly limited by our capacity (than) by anything else,” Senthil said. “People are gravitating toward (us) and are traveling from all over the world. It’s becoming a true destination now for all the yoga/meditation seekers.”