Integral Yoga Natural Foods has been New York’s only 100% Vedic Vegetarian Food and Supplements store since 1972, proudly serving the West Village community which we have called home these past 40+ years. We strive to be manifestations of Integral Yoga and Swami Satchidananda’s Philosophy - That in order to serve our world well, to have a peaceful mind, and to have a useful life, we must have an ease-full body. Our store is a direct creation from one of Swami Satchidananda’s teachings: Always look for the most natural foods. Natural food is the best food. You can prevent almost all illnesses by being attentive to your diet.
In the late 1960s, Americans knew almost nothing of Yoga. There were no Hatha classes at the local YMCA. Health food stores contained only bottles of vitamin supplements and photos of bodybuilders. Few understood the meaning of karma. When most people thought of a Yogi, they remembered a popular cartoon man sleeping on a bed of nails. All that changed when Sri Swami Satchidananda arrived on these shores in 1966. He taught what he termed “Integral Yoga,” a combination of physical and spiritual practices, of psychological and philosophical approaches to life. He encouraged selfless service to others, which would help anyone discover and maintain the peace and happiness that were, he said, the birthright of all. In August 1969, Swami Satchidananda was invited to give the invocation at the opening of the Woodstock Music and Art Festival. There he said to 400,000 people, “The entire world is going to watch this. The entire world is going to know what the American youth can do for humanity.”
By 1972, the Integral Yoga Institute of New York was growing rapidly under Sri Swami Satchidananda’s guidance. Many people had become students of Hatha Yoga and were living according to the lifestyle recommend by the teachings of Yoga. With so much interest generated in following a vedic vegetarian diet, there became a real need for a store that would supply fresh whole foods at reasonable prices. When the problem was presented to Sri Gurudev, he suggested that the Institute start a store itself as a service to the students and the community. On March 26, 1972 Sri Gurudev performed a special service to open the first Integral Yoga Natural Foods. Though it was just a small nonprofit operation on the ground floor of the Institute’s 13th street location, it was an immediate success. By 1979, the store had more than outgrown the original space, leading to the rental of 250 West 14th Street. As the business expanded further, it became necessary to hire employees from outside the Institute membership, changing the store to a “for-profit” entity and beginning the process of learning how to apply the teachings of Yoga to the operation of a business. The store continued to grow and its success became both a way of introducing Yoga and vegetarian diet to many people, and also a means to support the growth of the Integral Yoga organization as a whole.
1987 saw the renovation of the entire Institute building on 13th Street, providing an even bigger space for the store which is the current home of IYNF at 229 West 13th Street. With the motto, “whole foods for the whole person,” IYNF strives to provide the purest food possible to the community, in an effort to support the spiritual and physical well-being of the customers. It is our hope that all those employed at IYNF find it a place that supports their personal growth and well-being, and enables them to experience the spirit of unity and love that is at the core of the yogic teachings.