Love Yoga? Thank Peter Max

Sage by Mountain Peter Max

“Sage by Mountain” Peter Max

Pop artist Peter Max defined a generation with his cosmic art and psychedelic colors, but did you know he also played an integral role in bringing yoga to the United States?

In 1966, filmmaker Conrad Rooks commissioned Max for his creative input on a film called “Chappaqua.” Max traveled to Paris to work on the film, and it was here Rooks introduced Max to a man known as Swami Satchidananda (a name founded in Sanskrit — sat [existence], chid [knowledge] and ananda [bliss]).

Satchidananda founded Integral Yoga, which combines the six branches of classical yoga philosophy and practices derived from the Hindu philosophy. Its aim is to combine physical practices with philosophical approaches to achieve inner peace and joy.

Peter Max Swami Satchidananda Park West Gallery

Peter Max with Swami Satchidananda, 1967. Photo from “The Universe of Peter Max”

Max had an interest in eastern mysticism and meeting Satchidananda only fueled his fervor. When not working on the film, Max devoted himself to the swami. Satchidananda guided Max in yoga poses, known as asanas, and when Max observed the swami speak and meditate, Max believed there was something deeper to discover and explore.

“I was convinced that there was a higher state of consciousness to be attained,” Max wrote in “The Universe of Peter Max.”

Max asked Satchidananda to return with him to the United States, telling the swami there was a generation of young people seeking spiritual answers who could benefit from his yoga teachings.


Inspiring America Through Yoga

Image of an Era: Sage Ver. IV Peter Max Park West Gallery

Image of an Era: Sage Ver. IV” (2016), Peter Max

Satchidananda agreed to go to New York with Max for a two-day visit. After speaking with Max and 40 of his friends during a get-together, they all discussed keeping Satchidananda in the states to teach yoga to others. They pooled their money together to rent an apartment at 500 West End Avenue for Satchidananda to use as a yoga classroom, establishing the first Integral Yoga Institute.

“Eventually, we bought a large six-story building at 227 West Thirteenth Street, which still stands as the headquarters of the Integral Yoga Institute,” Max wrote.

Sage with Umbrella and Cane Ver. V Peter Max Park West Gallery

“Sage with Umbrella and Cane Ver. V” (2013), Peter Max

Satchidananda’s Integral Yoga exploded in popularity, so much so that the swami gave the invocation at the opening of the Woodstock Music and Peace Festival on August 15, 1969. Today, there are Integral Yoga centers all over the world.

“He was not the first yoga master to come to America, but with the creation of the Integral Yoga Institute, he definitely helped contemporary yoga take firm roots here, and I’m proud to have played a part in that,” Max wrote.

Contact Park West Gallery at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 or to learn more about collecting the colorful and cosmic works of Peter Max.

3 Responses to Love Yoga? Thank Peter Max

  1. Padmini says:

    I am disappointed with the content of this article – yoga and the swami you speak of are both Hindu in origin. I can’t see why Hinduism (from which the yoga philosophy comes from) is not mentionned. The language of the Vedas – Sanskrit- from which all yoga asanas and other philosophical terms come from – is mentionned but not one mention of Hinduism. Only some vague reference to “eastern mysticism.” Disappointing read.

    • parkwestgal says:

      Thank you for your input Padmini. We have adjusted the article accordingly, as it is important to mention yoga’s roots.

  2. Charles CWIERKO says:

    Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • How Marc Chagall Came to Illustrate One of the Greatest Love Stories of...

    Bob Dylan once said that “passion is a young man’s game,” but over 60 years ago, at the age of 55, famed artist Marc Chagall illustrated one of the ...
    Read More
  • Why We Love Buying Art on Cruise Ships: Confessions of an Art Enthusiast...

    After entering their first cruise ship art auction, this couple has never looked back.Don and Tina Tritton almost missed the boat. While their ship was docked in Ketchikan during a ...
    Read More
  • The Story Behind Anatoly Metlan’s Flamenco Dancers

    Grace, poise, energy—these are the qualities one finds in skilled dancers around the world, and are almost impossible to capture in a work of art.Almost.While historically known for his beautiful ...
    Read More
  • Collect Unique Romero Britto Artwork During Our Limited-Time Sale

    Chances are you’ve seen Romero Britto’s instantly recognizable style during your travels, but odds are you’ve never seen this many unique Britto paintings in one place.Park West Gallery just ...
    Read More
  • Enjoy Art Auctions Aboard the World’s Largest Cruise Ship: Symphony of the Seas

    If you’re a fan of Royal Caribbean art auctions, something big is on the horizon.This April marks the maiden voyage of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Symphony of the ...
    Read More
  • Daniel Wall Follows His Heart in His New Spring Collection

    Spring is that special time when flowers bloom and love is in the air, and artist Daniel Wall is one of the rare artists who can uniquely capture the ...
    Read More
  • Dominic Pangborn to Showcase Art at 2018 Winter Paralympics

    Not long after enjoying the Olympics in his native country of South Korea, artist Dominic Pangborn received an unexpected phone call from 2018 Paralympics officials.“They had talked about doing ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Lucy Orbell

    Many Park West collectors develop lasting friendships with our art teams, underscoring our 49-year reputation of connecting people from all walks of life with artwork they love.Here’s a chance to ...
    Read More
  • Music Legend Gary Puckett Transforms Park West VIP Events Into Concerts to Remember

    When you attend a Park West auction, you never know who you’re going to meet. You might meet fellow art lovers, your favorite artist, or—if you’re lucky—you might meet a ...
    Read More
  • The Surrealistic Art of Peter Max: How His Style Made Him an Art...

    Peter Max is ...
    Read More
  • Park West and Scott Jacobs Help Raise Funds for Young Musicians

    When Park West Gallery teams up with its artists for a good cause, they make great music together.Park West Gallery helped raise $7,000 for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s music ...
    Read More
  • 5 Facts You May Not Know About Yaacov Agam

    Israeli artist Yaacov Agam is a groundbreaking pioneer of the kinetic art movement. As such, art lovers around the world are familiar with his transformative artwork and art installations ...
    Read More