Having finished my organic red kale the other day, I ambled over to Integral Yoga Natural Foods (“IYNF”) at 227 West 13th St. with the intention of buying another bunch to munch and maybe a few spices too. I felt devastated to see a sign on their door announced they were closing due to “overwhelming competition and challenges” from other natural foods stores.

For decades I have been able to go and get a teaspoon of this spice, a cup of that flour or grain, as I wished and needed. And, on Wednesday afternoons I could have a free consultation there with Manu Dawson, C.Y.N.Th, if I wanted natural foods advice for a health situation.

According to IYNF’s website, “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 stores are direct creations 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 1970’s, I came down with a thyroid malfunction. My appetite raged and my weight went up. By then, Integral Yoga had a studio on the Upper West Side and had purchased the studio and store on West 13th Street. I took many yoga and meditation classes at Integral Yoga to control my appetite and my thoughts. Over time, I increased my knowledge of the benefits of the foods available at IYNF.

I remember attending a satsang with Swami Satchidananda. “What is it you want me to do?” he asked us with a twinkle in his eyes, looking around at each of us sitting in a circle. We laughed nervously. Of course, each one of us, not the Swami, had the responsibility of achieving goals through mindful practice. We meditated together for about 30 minutes, then did chanting, and received a short talk on yoga philosophy.

—Sarah Dowson

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