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ISKCON Scotland is the Scottish branch of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) also known as the Hare Krishna Movement. ISKCON was established in the west in 1966. It has its roots in India from a very respected ancient spiritual Vaishnava tradition also known as Bhakti Yoga.

ISKCON today is a worldwide confederation of more than 400 centers, including 60 farm communities, 50 schools and 90 very much loved restaurants.

ISKCON’s Food for Life Global is the largest food relief programme in the world and has distributed 6 billion plates of free food since its establishment.

ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta Book Trust has printed over 520 million books on Bhakti Yoga in 87 languages.

The Scottish branch of ISKCON was registered as a charity in 1989. ​Since our launch we have been working hard to promote various causes. Although we feel we are already making a significant impact, there is always more that can be done to help those in need.

OUR VISION AND MISSION

Our vision is to see local communities where

1) the wellbeing of people and the planet is at the centre

2) lifestyles, peace of mind, physical health and happiness are sustainable

3) physical and mental suffering is reduced.

Our mission is to help to harmonise and satisfy the needs of our physical, mental and spiritual aspects through yoga, meditation, wisdom and creating environments and communities where this harmony can flourish.

OUR PHILOSOPHY

We draw inspiration from the ancient texts of Bhakti Yoga such as Bhagavad Gita, which has been appreciated by some of the greatest thinkers of the world such as: Albert Einstein, Arthur Schopenhauer, Erwin Schrodinger, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Aldous Huxley, David Bohm and many others.

The fundamental teachings of the Gita are:

1) We are not human beings who have spiritual experiences, but spiritual beings who have human experiences

2) True equality is possible on the spiritual platform as it goes beyond the differences of nationality, religion, gender, etc.

3) Education is incomplete without value and character development

4) The most fundamental need of every being is to love and to be loved.

Our values are commitment, conscientiousness and utilising an innovative approach to improving the lives of people in need.

OUR FOUNDER

ISKCON Scotland Founder

ISKCON was established in New York by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who at the age of 69 came to New York in 1965 and in twelve short years:

1) established a thriving international organisation

2) wrote over 70 books on Bhakti Yoga appreciated by scholars around the world for their authenticity and depth. He published 60 million books in 25 languages.

3) established farm communities, restaurants and 108 centres across the world

4) introduced the world to maha mantra meditation

His vision remains relevant today because it has inspired self-sufficient communities who live in harmony with nature and cultivation of spiritual values. It is compassionately helping people across the world to find a deeper purpose and sustainable happiness.

WORKING LOCALLY FOR A SUSTAINABLE PLANET

We started our Krishna Eco Farm project in 2012. It is a therapeutic gardening project based on a smallholding in Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire. We welcome people from all walks of life to experience a healing lifestyle away from the troubles of city life.

​The aims of our eco farm are to:

1) educate people in how to grow vegetables in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way

2) increase well-being and mental fitness through therapeutic gardening and mantra meditation

3) support young people, people with minor mental health issues and people in recovery from addiction

​We have hosted over 800 people since 2012.

We work mainly with young people whom we host for a residential voluntary placement of up to one month. We also support people with mild mental health issues and people in recovery from addiction on a case by case basis. We have two alpacas, a community orchard, an acre of walled gardens, four greenhouses, a biomass boiler and two wind turbines.

​As well as heritage craft and gardening activities in a relaxed and social setting we provide access to yoga, meditation and a wide range of alcohol and intoxication-free social events at the farm and at our Glasgow City-centre venue Om Sweet Om.

ACTIVITIES AT THE FARM

HORTICULTURAL THERAPY

Our model of social inclusion means that we support people facing barriers to learning new skills, becoming part of a team and improving their health and wellbeing. We are committed to supporting marginalised and stigmatized groups and accept on a case by case basis self referrals of people with mental health and addiction issues. We tailor our volunteering opportunities to specific cases as part of an individual’s recovery.

Krishna Eco Farm is an innovative agricultural research project with a mission to empower individuals to make a tangible contribution to their communities. We focus on the interests and abilities of our volunteers rather than on their illness, disability or difficulties. We offer a wide range of opportunities from horticulture and conservation to animal care and textile crafts.

ETHICAL FOOD

At Krishna Eco Farm we take responsibility for the ethical standards of food production at every level of production. We use both traditional techniques and new innovations to harness the abundance of nature and provide nutrition dense, guilt free food. Krishna Eco Farm means:
-the ethical treatment of animals
-taking responsibility for the preservation of soil fertility for future generations
-taking personal responsibility for our actions
-realising the inherent value of life and the contribution we can all make to nourish our communities.

HERITAGE CRAFTS & SKILLS

Krishna Eco Farm aims to bring farming back to life for young people by preserving and practising heritage crafts and skills. We have run workshops in drystone dyking, hedge laying, pottery, wool spinning, how to scythe grass to make hay, and jam making. Because we understand the changing ecology of the upland and lowland landscapes and the resonance of heritage farming for our times (in respect to food sustainability, health and well-being) we make an effort to explore the rich cultural heritage of Scotland.

ORGANIC VEG AND FRUIT
SEED BANKING

Krishna Eco Farm utilizes a growing system of cultivation that avoids artificial chemicals and sprays, and animal remains from slaughter houses. Fertility is maintained by vegetable compost, green manures, crop rotation, mulches, animal manures and any other method that is sustainable, ecologically viable and not dependent upon animal exploitation. This will ensure long term fertility and wholesome food for the current and future generations.

Our work:

1) improves animal welfare by omitting the use of meat industry by-products such as fish, blood, bone, hoof and horn in vegetable production, thereby improving the ethical and nutritional quality of vegetables and grains

2) protects the environment by working without fossil fuels, and using the land sustainably in our methods of growing, processing and distribution.

We are committed to developing the most nutrient-dense and digestible carbon negative vegetables and grains possible, within the context and constraints of a changing climate. We want food that’s fair, healthy, affordable, sustainable – for all of Scotland and for all of Scotland’s animals! We’re working for food justice and a fairer and more sustainable food system in Scotland and beyond.

ALPACA CARE

ISKCON Scotland Alpaca Care

The tenets of the Yoga literature exhort us to respect all forms of life. We are trying to implement the principle of Ahimsa (do no harm to others) here at Krishna Eco Farm. An opportunity arose to give sanctuary to some Alpacas, who have now been living with us since October, 2017.

​​The alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid, similar to, and often confused with, llamas. However, alpacas are often noticeably smaller and more friendly. Even still, the two animals are closely related. There are two breeds of alpaca: the Suri alpaca and the Huacaya alpaca. Our Alpacas are of Huacaya breed. They typically live in the mountainous regions in Peru, therefore they feel at home on top of the hill at our farm.

​​Alpacas are in general very organised and neat. When they defecate they usually designate one place, even if they need to walk farther away to answer the call of nature. Their waste is then collected and used as garden fertiliser, which is their valuable contribution to the Farm.

​​Alpacas are very social beings and like to spend time with each other. Each of them have their own personality and character.

​We enjoy looking after these beautiful creatures and love caring for them. We invite you to do the same.

OUR ECO TECHNOLOGIES

WIND TURBINES

To help reduce the environmental impact of our electricity consumption, in 2011, we installed two Gaia 11kW wind turbines with the financial backing of Energy Saving Trust (EST) Scotland to help generate green electricity.

FOOD WASTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

We found a solution that addresses two issues – our food waste management and production of bio-fertiliser. We have now installed a thermophilic aerobic in-vessel composting system, which uses principles that have been the mainstay of many regenerative agricultural ecosystems. Richard Higgins (Good Gardeners International), who is one of the most knowledgeable researchers of this science, has designed the hotboxes which maximise the quality of the compost whilst maintaining an odour-free and rodent-secure working environment. By making a specific blend of cow dung slurry, garden waste, ash, food waste etc in the hotboxes, bacteria and fungi can reproduce rapidly in the compost to eliminate bad odours and destroy pathogens. Thereafter, proto-compost is forked out onto the soil to allow the earthworms to do their work of creating a perfect growing medium and non- violent pest repellent. We hope to be able to provide a service to neighbouring rural households who want to eliminate food waste to landfill and to landscape gardeners who have to pay to have their green and brown waste uplifted.

BIOMASS BOILER

Endeavouring to be a low carbon community, some of the major buildings at Krishna Eco Farm have undergone reconstruction and have been insulated to minimise the heat loss. The heating and hot water are supplied through insulated pipe-work from a 50kW Log Gasification Boiler which has a 4400 litre thermal store. The boiler and thermal store are in a containerised unit within the large warehouse where we cut and store our logs. The boiler feeds the under floor heating system and radiators.

SOLAR THERMAL PANELS

Solar Thermal Panels have been installed on the south facing roof of Gouranga Hall. These supply domestic hot water and pre-heated water to the log boiler.

AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP

One of our three greenhouses is heated via an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP). It supplies a heated floor specially designed for greenhouses and destratification fans on the ceiling to minimise heat loss. This allows growing to continue even in the winter.

IRRIGATION SYSTEM

In order to meet irrigation needs of the walled garden, rainwater is collected from the roof of Gouranga Hall. It is stored in water tanks totalling 6000 litres. It is then distributed through a network of pipes and taps.

VOLUNTEER AT THE FARM

ISKCON Scotland Volunteer

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

We invite you to experience an alternative lifestyle that benefits your body, mind and soul and is based on the motto ‘simple living, high thinking’. It is a unique chance to get out of the rat race and see things from a new perspective.

​We are still in the very early stages, however in the long-term we are aiming for self-sufficiency. The eco-farm provides good opportunities for self-development and using your initiative.

​We invite volunteers to learn new skills and to share their present skills to develop this project. The Eco Farm includes a walled garden, green houses, a meditation garden, energy saving technologies, alpacas and an ashram for spiritual practices. If you prefer fruits over alcohol, fresh air over cigarettes, our famous veggie food over meat and would like to experience a detoxing retreat then the Krishna Eco Farm is for you!

​We require volunteers to work 5 hours a day, 6 days a week including cleaning up after meals. Details of work offered may vary according to season, weather and individual capability. An especially busy time is during planting and harvesting. The range of activities include seed sowing, harvesting, digging, weeding, landscaping, logging, site maintenance, cleaning, building, graphic & web design and even garland making. We also have a rolling calendar of festivals and events and require assistance in pre-event and event organising as well as in take-down.

CARING FOR YOUR WELL-BEING

In the modern, fast-paced, demanding world people face many challenges such as stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burn out and so many other issues. Our aim is to help people by using the time and science proven tools of yoga, meditation and positive thinking with a yoga wisdom perspective.

​We strongly feel that prevention is better than cure. Physical fitness gets plenty of attention, however this is not good enough anymore! MENTAL FITNESS is becoming even more important than physical fitness.
Just like the body can get diseased and out of shape without enough physical activity, our minds can get ‘out of shape’ and become overwhelmed with anxiety and negative, dis-empowering and even depressive thoughts.

​To help people to stay in good shape physically, mentally and spiritually, we run meditation, yoga and other well-being events and retreats.

OUR ACTIVITIES

ONLINE WELLBEING

Staying well at home

During this COVID-19 crisis we are offering online wellbeing events to calm the mind and give a chance to feel a part of a virtual community:

​1) ‘Restoration Station – Meditation and Wellbeing’, Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 18.15-18.45, via ZOOM

Using Pranayama (breath work), meditation and (sometimes) soothing sound vibrations to help you through the week.

2) ‘Mantra Music for Wellbeing’, Every Saturday 18.00-20.00, Live Stream.

It has been scientifically proven that mantra music and mantra meditation has a very positive impact on mental health by reducing the level of stress, promoting happiness and helping one achieve balance and peace

3) ‘Online Yoga Class’, Every Sunday, 11.00-12.00, via ZOOM.

Improve your immunity, reduce stress and anxiety and bring more balance and harmony to your life at these challenging times at our ONLINE Yoga Class

4) We also run twice-weekly community support groups on ZOOM

WELLBEING FOR COMMUNITY AT OM SWEET OM

ISKCON Scotland Wellbeing

Centre for well-being and conscious living in Glasgow

In January 2019 we started a well-being centre in Glasgow. The mission of this centre is to promote the art of sustainable happiness and conscious living. To fulfill this goal we aim to empower people to experience a higher taste in life by satisfying physical, emotional and spiritual needs in a harmonious way.

​The centre offers, yoga, meditation and wisdom sessions and delicious vegan all you can eat events.

​All the profits from the centre go to support our charitable causes.

WELLBEING FOR STUDENTS

We’ve been running student societies in Glasgow since 2013

Being away from home in a big city and lacking a feeling of belonging, the pressures of exams and taking more responsibility in life are just a few challenges that can make life at university quite stressful, anxious and sometimes even lonely.

​The aim of our Bhakti Yoga Societies is not only to help students physically and emotionally, but also to help them find a sense of community and belonging. Moreover, life is full of challenges and we aim to equip students at this early stage of their life with powerful tools like meditation, yoga and wisdom. These tools help individuals find a deeper purpose and values which will serve to help them navigate their way through various ups and downs, not only at university, but throughout the rest of their lives.

​Currently we run three student societies in the Glasgow area:

1) University of Glasgow (since 2013)

2) University of West of Scotland (since 2017)

3) University of Strathclyde (since 2020)

WELL-BEING AT OUR ECO FARM

Therapeutic garden project

We started our Krishna Eco farm in 2012. Apart from teaching sustainable living, one of the main aims of the farm is to provide much needed well-being. This comes from being in nature, working on the land, being part of a community and practicing yoga and meditation. These practices are very healing, time-proven, scientific and empowering ways to significantly improve one’s physical and emotional health.

Since 2012 we have hosted more than 800 people:

1) providing them with an education in sustainability

2) giving opportunities for individual growth

3) teaching how to become more resilient to life’s challenges

4) experiencing a more peaceful and purposeful lifestyle.

​​We also run regular, yoga and meditation events and retreats for the general public. Proceeds go to support our charity work.

WELLBEING FOR ANIMALS

We strongly believe that wellbeing is not meant exclusively for human beings, but also for animals.

We are dedicated to caring for animals. Mahatma Gandhi said: “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. All life is sacred and we believe it is our responsibility to protect it.

​We are trying to promote lifestyles which are free from violence. In sanskrit this principle is called ‘Ahimsa’. Ahimsa means ‘not to injure’ and ‘compassion’ and refers to a key virtue within yoga wisdom traditions. Ahimsa is also referred to as nonviolence. This applies to all living beings — including all animals. You can find more about the Ahimsa principle on Wikipedia.

​In October 2017 an opportunity arose to give sanctuary to some Alpacas, who have been in our care ever since.
They are very social beings and like to spend time with each other. Each Alpaca has their own personality and character. We enjoy looking after and caring for these beautiful creatures. We invite you to do the same.

WELLBEING VIA MANTRA MUSIC

Sharing Music that Uplifts and Heals

In order to make the wellbeing that comes from mantra music more accessible to people in Scotland, in 2009 we formed a mantra music meditation band – Kirtan Scotland. Since then we have been running various one-off and regular events across Scottish towns and cities including Aberdeen, Findhorn, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Kirtan Scotland band use an eclectic blend of both traditional and modern instruments and engage eastern and western melodies to give a wide variety of moods, from meditative to upbeat and energetic.

There is a growing body of scientific research that proves how effective and powerful mantra meditation is for our wellbeing. Here are just a few examples:

* Mantra – powerful way improve your well-being
* Kirtan – the easy meditation can improve your brain
* Neuroscience and the sanskrit effect

BHAKTI YOGA ACADEMY

ISKCON Scotland Bhakti Yoga Academy

Well-being through systematic education, courses and retreats

Bhakti Yoga Academy (formerly Bhakti Yoga Scotland) was started to facilitate the development of a community of people working together to spread much needed well-being, peace and compassion by bringing people together to experience the joy, beauty and happiness which come through the practices of Bhakti Yoga.

Bhakti yoga Academy aims to:

– inspire character, self-value, self-development, enlightenment and transformation – helping people to be the positive change they want to see in the world

– teach the principle of seva (selfless service) by cultivating compassion, sharing wisdom and making this world a better place

– teach eco-responsibility – caring for the planet, the environment and every living being

– help people to find peace of mind and a deeper purpose in life.

– make wisdom and practices of bhakti yoga accessible to everyone from all walks of life

– teach the techniques of Bhakti Yoga – mantra meditation, kirtan, seva and musical instruments, etc.

– preserve the authenticity of Bhakti Yoga through courses, workshops and certifications

– increase the numbers of certified teachers that can deliver authentic and enlightening Bhakti Yoga experiences and teachings

– organise events, courses and retreats to achieve the above purposes

KINDLY SUPPORT OUR WELLBEING WORK

Help Us Make a Difference

If you feel moved by our work – we would very much appreciate your support. You are welcome to give a one-off or regular donation. It’s easy and most importantly, it will make a major difference in the lives of so many.

ISKCON Scotland, Registered Scottish Charity Number SC001127

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