Annual Report 2017

We are proud to claim fifteen years of bringing authentic yoga, ancient wisdom and modern research. As a volunteer-managed global community, we work to foster yoga with its therapeutic applications and life transforming effects.  We bring yoga classes for general wellness, yoga teacher training courses for students who want to teach yoga, and yoga therapy to heal those with chronic ailments.

Achievements

  • Trained over 500 yoga teachers
  • Over 5000 class-hours of FREE or affordable yoga sessions to the community each year,
  • Special affordable yoga classes for kids, seniors, stress management and yoga as therapy.
  • Over nine locations where yoga is taught regularly just in the Bay Area
  • Yoga offering to Corporate sectors by our volunteers
  • Yoga offering to After School Day Cares at low affordable rates
  • Yoga therapy offering to health care centers and Rehabilitation centers NEW project started this year!

Accreditation - International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) - We are in the final stages of accreditation with IAYT for our Diploma in Yoga Therapy Course. We have 10 CIAYTs (IAYT certified Yoga Therapists) in grand-parenting path of IAYT.  This is a great stamp on our high quality holistic yoga education that combines western scientific methodology and rational thought with classical and traditional yoga and spirituality.

Advanced Teacher Training (RYS-300)  - We are now offering Advanced Yoga Teacher Training program (RYT-300) . 

Stop Diabetes Movement - Yoga Bharati collaborated with Sewa International in offering Stop Diabetes Movement again this year. Over 50 Bay Area participants benefited from this movement. 

Yoga for Cancer – We offer FREE three month active support for Cancer using Yoga Therapy for people who are undergoing or taken Chemo/Radiation to help them achieve a better quality of life and to move toward normalcy.  Eight cancer patients took yoga therapy this year alone.

Yoga for Seniors - We offer discounted yoga workshops for Seniors to encourage seniors to practice yoga. More than 25 seniors took advantage of this program at our main center and over 200 seniors are regularly taking yoga from Yoga Bharati volunteers in the Bay Area alone.

Yoga Therapy

Yoga Bharati has committed to building a world-class research culture that can scientifically validate the benefits of Yoga Therapy, and to bringing authentic Yoga Therapy to our community.

Our Main Center: We have well established facility in West San Jose close to Cupertino, Saratoga, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. We offer yoga for wellness, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda services.

Visit our center at: 20445, Prospect Rd, Suite #1, San Jose

Yoga Therapy classes for special groups – we have yoga therapy classes running continuously in Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Pleasanton Tri-valley, and Fremont. This year, we have conducted workshops on Yoga for back, neck, shoulder and knee pain, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity and metabolic disorders, vision disorders for children and teens, prenatal and postnatal workshops.

Yoga Yajna (Yogathon) 2017 – we conducted Yoga Yajna in both winter and summer this year. The theme of the closing ceremony was group practice of 108 sun salutation cycles (yajna) and Om chanting. More than 200 people from age 3 to 65 years participated in Yoga Yajna this year.

Yoga Teacher Training 2017

More than 28 students from age 13 years – 55 years took Yoga Instructors Course (YTT) aka Yoga Teacher Training this year. It was a  year long course, with 3 month intensive course from March to May 2015 and a yoga retreat at Sivananda Ashram. We have revamped the entire course to make it more modular, with greater emphasis on quality and depth. We had two offerings of YTT module 1 this year, and with 2018, there will be four YTT module 1 offerings to meet the growing demand.

Yoga Therapy Training

We now have 10 graduated of Diploma in Yoga Therapy who are actively serving at our center, in rehabilitation centers, and in their private studios. We have more than 20 students enrolled into our Diploma in Yoga Therapy. This is a 2 year course aimed at training the yoga teachers to address people with different chronic ailments and empower them towards management and healing of their disease conditions.

Youth Yoga Training and Practice:

Yoga Bharati has a unique focus on building youth ambassadors and lifelong yogis. More than 250 children in the Bay Area have taken our yoga classes with us. Youth have been showing increasing interest in yoga each year and we have trained 9 yoga teachers this year alone and over 60 youth yoga teachers overall. We bring awareness about health and well being at all levels of human personality and we  also create opportunities for them to channel their energy and develop their leadership skills. We conduct spiritual parenting sessions for our parents so that the entire family participates in developing yoga as a lifestyle.

Bhagavad Gita for Children and Adults

Yoga Bharati offers Gita for children and adults as a memory and focus improvement program and also to inculcate spirituality into them. Parents are encouraged to participate along with their children for effective learning. More than 30 students benefited from this program this year.

 

Promote awareness of Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda

Yoga Bharati hosts prominent speakers in the fields of Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda.

In 2017, we arranged pranayama and meditation workshop and discourse by Shri N.V.Raghuram, Chairman of Yoga Bharati and Swami Bodhananda of Sambodh Society

We hosted Spiritual Parenting and Relationship, and Meditation program and an in-depth study on Patanjali Yoga Sutras by Swami Bodhananda Saraswati in Nov 2017.

Active partnership with local organizations

Over the years, Yoga Bharati has passionately served the community and has created a niche position for itself in the local volunteer organization network. We consistently contribute and support local events in various roles – as specialists in yoga and also as enthusiastic participants. This year was no different.

Sevathon 2017: This was held in the month of June Yoga Bharati has been a key partner of Sevathon since it’s inception. This year Yoga Bharati conducted international day of yoga in San Jose California. More than 120 participants practiced Surya Namaskar and OM Chanting.

Roadmap for Future Events in 2018

In 2018, Yoga Bharati will work with greater resolve towards our goals, building on the momentum in previous years. In addition, we’re planning a few new projects that are outlined below.

Yoga Teacher Training 2018 – We have revamped Yoga Training to reach out to more people in different corners of the Bay Area. As an effect we will have many more people taking our YTT. This year, we are likely to have a 30-40% increase in YTT participation.

Advanced Yoga Education Courses - RYT-300 and DYT - We plan to start our next batch of advanced courses in Yoga - both Advanced Yoga Teacher Training and Diploma in Yoga Therapy. The demand has been tremendous and we hope to meet this increased demand.

Yoga Yajna 2017– We invite everyone to participate in Yoga Yajna like every year, and in addition we are also preparing and training for a competition of practicing Surya Namaskars and Aum Chanting.

Sevathon 2018: We will be partnering with Sevathon organization and organize Yogathon in big way in 2018.

Support Us

With your generous support, we at Yoga Bharati have been able to take up significant programs to promote Yoga in a holistic way. Your further contributions will strengthen our resolve and initiatives. Please see the link below for ways to contribute generously towards ‘Samājanidhi’.

Annual Report 2016

Annual Report 2016

We are proud to claim fourteen years of bringing authentic yoga, ancient wisdom and modern research. As a volunteer-managed global community, we work to foster a better understanding of yoga’s benefits, therapeutic applications, life transforming effects and wisdom traditions.  

Yoga in Festival of Colors - Holi 2016

Yoga and festival of colors
Yoga and Holi

The bright sunny Saturday morning of March 29, 2016 saw about 500 people come together to celebrate the festival of colors (Holi). This event was organized by Net Effect media, Tradecraft and Skoolcare.org. 

Yoga Bharati took an active role and put together a grand yoga show. This show also had the audience participate and do all the yoga postures set to an upbeat music to suit the Holi spirit. It got the young and the old alike in the mood to stretch, twist and turn in tune with the rhythm!

Holi comes every year during the Spring season when the Sun begins to shine bright and the empty branches of the trees start to spring with new life. The birds migrate from the North to enjoy the greener pastures where the land is ready to provide and nurture the needs of all the creatures. Holi represents the human urge to celebrate life. There is sprouting of new life on earth everywhere and everything in nature seems to dance to the songs of the migratory birds. The variegated colors on the faces of joyous people represent the diversity of each of our thoughts, cultures, tendencies and paths to perfection we each have chosen and continue to journey on. 
There is no discrimination of any sort when it comes to playing Holi —  no one is left behind. Everyone is dragged and drenched in Holi colors, laughed with, laughed at and made to laugh with a positive spirit. Such a spirit of Holi is indeed a spiritual festival, matching the theme of yoga that aims to spread peace and harmony in the world. 

Yoga Booth in Holi

Saturday's Holi at the Rainbow Park in West San Jose was one such festivity celebrated with a spiritual spirit where yoga added yet another holy color to the colors of Holi. Yoga Bharati volunteers were seen everywhere with their blue T shirts, colored faces and immersed completely in the spirit of the event amidst a riot of colors! On the stage were the youth and the adult volunteers of Yoga Bharati who conducted a yoga based performance consisting of asanas and Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) set to the tune of M.C.Yogis's Hara Hara Shankara song from his album, ‘Pilgrimage’.

The later part of the show was interactive and the crowd was kept engaged by getting them to participate in yoga – the spirit was so contagious that everyone present, the young and the old alike did various yoga poses. Some of the poses were the Tree pose, Triangle pose, Dancers pose and the Warrior pose. 
 
Savita Joshi — Yoga Bharati volunteer and one of the main organizers for this event said, "The entire event was very well received and event host from Net Effect Media, Kapil Sethi and Anjali Kauser from Skoolcare.org were very happy. They would like to host many more of Yoga Bharati's events".

Yoga Dance in Holi

Madhavi Jain, who choreographed the Yoga show said "It was a great experience to be here and to conduct the show". Ankita Jain, who was one of the demo-er in the yoga show said "It was so much fun to celebrate Holi like this".

Six year old Eesha, who had never played Holi before, drenched herself with colors and did not want to leave the event. It was the case with most of the kids who attended such an event for the first time and were ecstatic with the colors — Amruta, Atulya and many other little ones. The dry powder used for colors proved to be safe and enjoyable especially for the kids.

There were also a number of mainstream Americans who had never witnessed such a riot of colors before and were simply thrilled being a part of such a festivity.
 
 Some of the other Yoga Bharati volunteers who took an active part in the program were Jolly Bose, Ratna and Basu Ullagaddi, Anil Surpur, Sharat Joshi, Pramod Srivatsa, Siddu Rati, Reshma Amen, Sushant T, Rekha Shivapa and Vanaja Konduri. 

Willow Brazier, Yoga Bharati Yogaksema center massage therapist provided more than 30 free chair massages at the booth for attendees and had a blast herself with all the colors and music! Local bands and great food from Peacock restaurant completed the fun scene at the event.

Holi at the park streaked everyone with the color of innocence, culture, happiness and a spirit of oneness, thus bringing the entire community together!

Video of Holi Pictures below:

YIC 2016 Inauguration Report

Yoga Teacher Training 2016

Around 70 people including Yoga Teacher Training students of 2016, Yoga Teachers who completed their training from 2014 and 2015 batches, Children and parents of Yoga Bharati classes attended Yoga Teacher Training inauguration program on Sunday March 13th at BayVP temple Milpitas. The chief guests were Swami Tattwamayananada of Vedanta Society SF, Dr. Prasad Kaipa, the CEO advisor and coach, and Yogashree N.V.Raghuram, the spiritual founder and chairman of Yoga Bharati.

The program started with a peace chant and was followed by a beautiful yoga formation for a music in Raag Kedar. This was followed by Gita chanting of 16th chapter by the Bhagavad Gita class students — both adults and children. 

Yoga Teacher Training 2016 Yoga dance

After children's program, Anil Surpur, the president of Yoga Bharati gave a welcome speech followed by a wonderful panel discussion conducted by Ashwini Surpur, the Executive Director of Yoga Bharati where the three luminaries were given questions on various aspects of yoga and spirituality as applicable to health, world peace and to the economy and sustenance of the material world. The panelists gave a sumptuous food for thought for all the new and graduate yogis in the audience.

The panel discussion was followed by Certificate award ceremony conducted by Savitha.Nanjangud, the Director of Yoga Education. The graduate students of Yoga Therapy Training and Yoga Teacher Training received the certificates and blessings from the three chief guests.

Madhavi Jain, the Joint Director of Yoga Teacher Training gave vote of thanks. Youth Yoga teacher Sushant.Thyagarajan was the MC of the program.

Thanks to many volunteers who helped in the event.  

Scroll down for the Youtube.

Bio of the Chief Guests:

Diaz members - Anil Surpur, Swami Tattwamayananda, Raghuramji,  and Dr. Prasad Kaipa, 

Diaz members - Anil Surpur, Swami Tattwamayananda, Raghuramji,  and Dr. Prasad Kaipa, 

Swami Tattwamayananda, currently the Minister- in -charge of the Vedanta Society of Northern California, will be conducting the lecture series.  He served in various centres of the Ramakrishna Order in India as editor, publisher, and teacher of Sanskrit, Advaitic texts such as Sri Shankaracharya's commentaries on the Prasthanatraya  and Indian philosophy. Before coming to the United States in January, 2012 he was teaching Sanskrit, Vedantic scriptures and Indian philosophy at the Training centre in Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, Kolkata, India. The Swami has received traditional education in Sanskrit and Vedantic scriptures and is frequently invited for lectures on Yoga, Vedanta, and traditional Hindu scriptures.

Yogashree N.V.Raghuram is the Chairman and Spiritual Founder of Yoga Bharati and Professor of yoga philosophy in Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation (SVYASA), Bangalore India. Sri N.V Raghuram is trained under some of the most renowned exponents of yoga such as Prof Satyanarayana Sastry and has been practicing yoga since early childhood. He is instrumental in introducing yoga therapy in a neurological clinic in Germany and starting yoga therapy in hospitals in Italy, Turkey, and China. He has traveled to several countries in Asia, Europe and America, giving discourses and stress reduction programs based on yoga. 

Dr. Prasad Kaipa has been an advisor and coach focusing on innovation and leadership since 1990 for about 120 C-level executives in Global Fortune 500 companies. Prasad coaches them to channel their creativity to come up with innovative decisions, products, and services. He assists clients in becoming effective in managing people as well as oneself (personal mastery) in exploring innovative, and strategic decisions. He has deep exposure to Hindu spiritual literature like Vedas, Upanishads and brings this rich eastern value into the business world. Dr. Kaipa conducts Practical Vedanta sessions in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Watch the Entire Youtube

CSE Kriya Yoga Congress - A Report

Yoga Bharati people at CSE Kriya Yoga Congress

Bay Area, California Report

We attended some of the sessions of the Kriya Yoga Congress 2016 organized by the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, San Jose, mainly the Friday Keynote and Saturday Banquet dinner.

Friday, March 11th

The event started and ended with Yogacharya Ellen O'Brian's Kirtan session. It was heart-filling and soul filling session with beautiful patterns emerging out of the concert, repeated by the entire audience and the hall seemed to have patterns of waves in which we all were floating. The chanting of Hey Prabhu, Gopala Jai jai, Jai Bolo Rama, Namah Shivaya, Namo Arunachala and so on were so beautiful on the lips of these passionate spiritual seekers who are not homegrown Sanskrit or Sanskrit based speakers, but instead a passionate adopted Sanskrit children.

Yoga Bharati and CSE

After the initial bhajan was the moment of honoring of Yogashree N.V.Raghuram, the spiritual founder and chairman of Yoga Bharati. It was also the moment of remembering CSE leader's recent trip to VYASA, their love for India, and their love for Yoga Bharati. 

Sri N.V.Raghuram, popularly known as Raghuramji, then got on to the podium. His wisdom filled words filled the hearts of the audience with love and compassion through the message on Yoga. He connected the journey from outer to inner, from gross to subtle, from matter or materialism to Spirit or Spirituality. His talk flowed so beautifully that each of the members of the audience — around 500 members — was profoundly merged into sublimation by the end of his speech.

Sessions and Initiation - The attendees of CSE's Kriya Congress were busy the entire afternoon of Friday and Saturday with many talks and sessions including Kriya Yoga Initiation taken by hundreds of people from Rev. Roy Eugene Davis, the direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda.

Saturday, March 12th Banquet Dinner

The event started with a beautiful chanting of Raghuramji from Rig Veda and Ishavasyopanishad. After that, we had a small talk by Cynthia Coppel of Lotus Ayurveda and Shunya Pratichi Mathur of Vedika Global. They both gave a beautiful and crisp message in the honor of the dedicated yogi of CSE, Rev. Roy Eugene Davis. 

Then came a beautiful rendering of Hindustani classical instrumental concert. Not a single player was Indian and yet it was done as if they had learned music in India since childhood. The fretless sitar and the rendition of the Kirwani, Raag Mishra Mand and finally Raag Bhairavi. We were already full before the dinner began ! 

Then came the most sumptuous and satvic vegetarian dinner and the delightful conversation with wonderful people on our table. We met some of the most amazing and passionate people in the field of Yoga, Sanskrit, meditation, researchers in meditation, etc. 

Some of the CSE regulars who were in the school board member for Santa Clara school district, the Jain Community leader and the official of Santa Clara Correction facility gave an account of how they have used spirituality and meditation in the respective fields of their profession. The example of the high school kid whose GPA was 1.6 in Freshman year improved to 4.0 in Final year due to Meditation was a hugely inspiring story for all in the audience.

This was followed by Yogacharya giving a beautiful account of her Guru Roy Eugene Davis and his work. She said her inspiration was derived from his selfless and unswerving dedication for more than 70 years in the service of humanity and in spiritual sadhana. This moved the audience to the point of tears of joy. Everyone gave a standing ovation to the "Swami in the black Suit" as I would like to address him. Yogacharya then awarded the first edition (1947) of the book "Autobiography of Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda, a rare collection. Then was the time for thanking the volunteers. Rev. Sylvia Karuna Kunt was honored for her all-encompassing dedication to CSE's work. The list of Sylvia's work makes this report too large. Suffice it to say she took the heavyweight lifting of the Kriya Yoga Congress along with her heavyweight lifting of the center's operations, finance, human resources, facilities, mentoring the seminaries, and the list goes on.

We got to see all the volunteers of CSE starting with Rev.Sundari Jensen, another heavyweight lifter of CSE to many passionate volunteers — over 50 of them — who stood up to be honored and clapped.

Once upon a time, there was, nay, there IS — a humble group, dedicated souls, and a beautiful spiritual group emerging out of one spark of Punya Bhumi Bharat — Mother India as they say — the Jagadguru of the world ! I came out TODAY humbled and benumbed with sublime bliss!

Jai Paramahansa Yogananda! Jai Gurudev! Jai Bharat ke Sant !

- Yoga Bharati Volunteers
 

Yoga Teacher Training 2014 at CSE - Conclusion

Yoga Teacher Training at CSE by Yoga Bharati

 

We are proud to announce that 14 people completed Yoga Teacher Training at the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, a group with the lineage of Paramahamsa Yogananada. 

Savitha.Nanjangud, Anil Surpur and Ashwini Surpur of Yoga Bharati were the primary teachers. Savita.Joshi and Shailesh Basani were the guest yoga teachers and Priyanka Patil was the anatomy guest lecturer and Vedika's Aparna Lewis were the guest lecturer for Ayurveda.  Rev. O'Brien teaches the theory classes and Rev. Sundari Jensen would be conducting Ethics through yama/niyama.

It was a fantastic learning experience for all and a lot of bonding with CSE group and staff. Please visit their Sunday services - http://www.csecenter.org/

SNY 2013 Kick Off Report

Surya Namaskar Yagna 2013

Yoga Bharati, Bay Area Chapter arranged kick-off for Surya Namaskar Yagna (SNY) – Sun Salutations Marathon 2013 on Jan 1st through Online video call at Sunrise. Yoga experts from VYASA, Bangalore spoke for this online event that had more than 50 attendees. Yoga Bharati also arranged inauguration program on Dec 30th Sunday at 7:00 AM PST at Sunnyvale and Fremont Hindu Temples. This event also marked the kick-off for the pilot Research Initiative in Surya Namaskar (SN) that is a new addition this year!

The duration of the yagna is a total of 6 weeks, starting January 1st and ending on Feb 17th, the day of ‘Ratha Sapthami’. SNY has been an annual Yoga Bharati event for a few years now, with hundreds of people participating every year and performing more than 100,000 Surya Namaskars. SNY is a marathon where an individual sets a daily goal of Surya Namaskars and starts practicing, gradually increasing the count per day to reach that goal. The idea is to complete as many rounds of Surya Namaskar as possible during the yagna period. The main goal of the yagna is to spread awareness on the benefits of Yoga and Surya Namaskar in the community.

Jan 1st Online kickoff was a launch of SNY 2013 through video talks by Dr. H.R.Nagendra, Chairman of VYASA, Bangalore, Yogashree N.V.Raghuram, Chairman and Spiritual founder of Yoga Bharati and Dr. Naveen Vishweshwaraiah, Joint Research Director of VYASA and founder of FAITHS-Yogaksema integrative health clinic, Bangalore. While Guruji Dr. Nagendra and Sri.N.V Raghuram blessed us with their wonderful messages of philosophy of yoga and the health aspect of Suryanamaskar, Dr. Naveen elaborately spoke on the need for research in yoga and the background of Yoga Bharati’s first pilot research in studying the effects of SN on the overall health of the population. He also explained the entire research protocol while answering the questions from the audience.

The Dec 30th inauguration events at both Sunnyvale and Fremont locations had a great turnout of over 80 people in the combined locations even on a chilly winter morning!

The session began with a beautiful chanting of “Aditya Hridayam”, followed by an explanation of the historical and spiritual significance of Aditya Hridayam. The participants enjoyed the chanting at that early hour which brought their minds and hearts into the mood for Sun Salutations.

The spiritual, physiological and psychological benefits of practicing Surya Namaskar were discussed next. A quick demonstration and also the variations for people with different levels, for people with ailments such as mild backpain, mild arthritis, etc was explained. This helped some of the new comers in the session.

Surya Namaskars or Sun Salutations are performed to give reverence to the internal Sun, the creative force that radiates inside the body, along with the external Sun, which shines outside the body and is the source of all energy.

This year, Yoga Bharati has started a new initiative of conducting pilot research to study the benefits of Suryanamaskar on healthy individuals and people with lifestyle disorders. More than 100 people have signed up for this population study. The inauguration program focused on Yoga Bharati’s research initiative. The senior yoga therapists and the coordinators of SNY research explained the participants, what is expected of an SNY research subject.

The participants were then led through ten rounds of Surya Namaskars, guided by an instructor. Various rounds of Surya Namaskars were practiced where attention was drawn to awareness on breath, flexibility, variations of poses and right practices.

Every set was interspersed with ‘Bija Mantras’ that are chanted in praise of ‘Lord Surya’ or the Sun God. One could see and feel the energy in the room as the session progressed!

A deep relaxation followed by a peace prayer “Sarve Bhavantu” was an excellent ending to a great event!

A light breakfast was enjoyed after the session by all the participants and volunteers.  At the end of the session, more than 35 volunteers signed up for Suryanamaskar pilot research initiative and  got their health parameters measured by research coordinators.

The event and the entire SNY/research initiative are enthusiastically run by Yoga Bharati volunteers which also includes a note worthy contribution by the youth!

Annual Report 2015

Annual Report 2015

Another successful and fulfilling year!

Donate and Support

We are proud to claim thirteen years of bringing authentic yoga, ancient wisdom and modern research. As a volunteer-managed global community, we work to foster a better understanding of yoga’s benefits, therapeutic applications, life transforming effects and wisdom traditions.  We bring yoga classes for general wellness, yoga teacher training courses for students who want to teach yoga, and yoga therapy to heal those with chronic ailments.

Volunteers in the community

Yoga Bharati has trained 400 yoga teachers that now volunteer in local communities to offer holistic and research-driven approach to yoga. Just this year, we have delivered about 3500 class-hours of yoga asana sessions in our communities, including special classes for kids, seniors, stress management and therapy. We continued our expansion, adding more public classes in Sunnyvale, Milpitas and the Tri-Valley in the SF Bay Area.

Yoga Therapy

Yoga Bharati has committed to building a world-class research culture that can scientifically validate the benefits of Yoga Therapy, and to bringing authentic Yoga Therapy to our community.

Our New Center:

We have now leased a new facility in West San Jose close to Cupertino, Saratoga, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. We have been conducting regular yoga therapy classes from 7am until 8pm all 7 days of the week, thanks to our yoga therapy teacher volunteers.

Visit our center at: 20445, Prospect Rd, Suite #1, San Jose

Therapy classes for special groups – we have yoga therapy classes running continuously in Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas and Fremont. This year, we have conducted workshops on Yoga for back, neck, shoulder and knee pain, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity and metabolic disorders, vision disorders for children and teens, prenatal and postnatal workshops.

Surya Namaskar Yagna (SNY) 2015 – we conducted SNY as both ‘yagna’ and also a pilot cohort study. More than 500 people participated throughout America for the yagna. The theme of the closing ceremony was group practice of 108 sun salutation cycles (yagna). More than 300 people from age 3 to 75 years participated in SNY.

Yoga Centric Lifestyle Intervention Program (LIP)  – Yoga Bharati launched LIP, an integrative therapy for people with various ailments from back pain to anxiety to cancer rehabilitation under the guidance of Dr. Naveen Visweshwaraiah of Yogaksema Bengaluru, India and Sachin Deshmukh, our local Integrative therapy specialist.

Yoga Teacher Training 2015

More than 25 students from age 13 years – 60 years took Yoga Instructors Course (YIC) aka Yoga Teacher Training at Sunnyvale location. It was a 3 month course from March to May 2015 and ended in a yoga retreat at Sivananda Ashram. Sri.N.V.Raghuram, the spiritual founder and Chairman of Yoga Bharati conducted the philosophy course for YIC students.

CSE Yoga Teacher Training 2015

10 students took Yoga Teacher Training at Center for Spiritual Enlightenment’s San Jose location jointly conducted by Yoga Bharati and CSE. It was a 3 month course from Sep-Nov 2015. Rev. O’Brian, the head of CSE conducts philosophy course for the students.

Yoga Therapy Training 2015

More than 15 students have signed up for Yoga Therapy Training. This is a 2 year course, which is self-paced course, aimed at training the yoga teachers to address people with different chronic ailments and empower them towards management and healing of their disease conditions.

Creating lifelong Yogis by catching them young

Yoga Bharati has a unique focus on building youth ambassadors and lifelong yogis. In the past few years we have begun showing special attention to the youth during the YIC course as well as creating opportunities for them to channel their energy and develop their leadership skills.

We also initiated the Project Vision Workshop as a part of Natural Vision Improvement program. We have completed 3 workshops in the past one year. Out of them the second workshop results motivated us to compile and bring a professional paper on Yoga for Vision. 15 children participated in this workshop to improve their vision challenges such as Myopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism and Lazy eyes. Some children participated simply to improve their memory, focus and concentration. Below are the significant results of the workshop we have shown earlier in 2014.

Clinical Results

Improved Vision – 20%
Headache Relief – 10%
Easing Burning Eye/ Eye Strain – 10%
Reduction in allergy symptoms – 20%
Improved Sleep – 20%
Improved Appetite – 10%

Subjective Results

Improvement in social skills & participation – 40%

Details of the institutional report can be found at the Link Institutional Report

We conducted two weeks Summer kids yoga camp where more than 20 kids attended and enjoyed yoga classes taught by our high school youth teachers, Bhagavad Gita shloka chanting, art and crafts on yoga theme, Ayurveda, Environment awareness, and stories on yoga concepts, skits performed by the kids, and a field trip to McLellan Ranch park to see the ranch animals.

Promote awareness of Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda

Yoga Bharati hosts prominent speakers in the fields of Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda.

In 2014, we arranged pranayama and meditation workshop and discourse by Shri N.V.Raghuram, Chairman of Yoga Bharati, Dr. Nagarathna, Chief Yoga Therapist and VYASA, Bengaluru, India, Dr. Naveen Visweswaraiah of Yogaksema India, Dr. Prasad Kaipa of Selfcorp among others.

The later part of this  year (November 2015) is a month with Satsangs on Parenting workshops, Viveka Chudamani, Bhagavad Gita, Spiritual Relationship, Patanjali Yoga Sutras by Swami Bodhananda Saraswati.

Active partnership with local organizations

Over the years, Yoga Bharati has passionately served the community and has created a niche position for itself in the local volunteer organization network. We consistently contribute and support local events in various roles – as specialists in yoga and also as enthusiastic participants. This year was no different.

Sevathon 2015: This was held in the month of June Yoga Bharati has been a key partner of Sevathon since it’s inception. This year Yoga Bharati conducted Yogathon in Baylands Park Sunnyvale, California. There were more than 110 participants. The participants practiced 27-108 sets of Suryanamaskars as per their capacities on the day of the event.  Unish Corporation sponsored Yoga Bharati as with every year. Yoga Bharati expects more participants in the coming years.

Yoga Bharati has taken an initiative to collaborate and work in various fields of yoga alongside the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment (CSE). We actively partnered with CSE and conducted the Yoga Teacher’s Training at their facility where 15 students took the training.

Roadmap for Future Events in 2016

In 2016, Yoga Bharati will work with greater resolve towards our goals, building on the momentum in previous years. In addition, we’re planning a few new projects that are outlined below.

Yoga for Cancer – A three month active support for Cancer using Yoga Therapy for people undergoing Chemo/Radiation and after the therapy is completed to help them achieve a better quality of life and move towards normalcy. We plan to offer this workshop FREE for low income patients and a 20% quota is reserved for the low-income group.

Yoga for Obesity and Metabolic Disorders – A three month workshop on yoga and lifestyle awareness for people with weight problems, pre-diabetes, diabetes, thyroid conditions and for dyslipidemia – the cholesterol issues and people at risk for heart disease . We plan to offer this workshop FREE for low income patients and a 20% quota is reserved for the low-income group.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) 2016 – We invite everyone to participate in SNY like every year, and in addition we are also preparing and training for a competition of practicing 108 Surya Namaskars around Ratha Saptami day on Jan 26th when we conclude the Yagna (Sun Salutations Marathon).

Yoga Teacher Training 2016 – This year, we are likely to have Yoga Teacher Training in March 2016. Venue may be BayVP, Milpitas.

Sevathon 2016: We will be partnering with Sevathon organization and organize Yogathon in big way in 2016.

Support Us

With your generous support, we at Yoga Bharati have been able to take up significant programs to promote Yoga in a holistic way. Your further contributions will strengthen our resolve and initiatives. Please see the link below for ways to contribute generously towards ‘Samājanidhi’.

Donate and Support

Kids Summer Camp

What did you learn today? NOTHING. Common answer. Hence the report - Just ONE DAY REPORT. You can imagine.

Yoga class - High energy youth teaching the high energy kids - fun to see the synergy; parent volunteers stayed outside because they did not want to disturb this synergy. Aria and Suchit kept the group on their toes. Towards the end, when they indeed burnt out their energy, Ashwini conducted a bhramari based meditation technique. The silence they followed was amazingly beautiful. We learnt two terms - Mouna - Sanskrit term for silence and Muni - the Sanskrit term for a yogi who is silent. 

Snack time - Organic grapes and organic carrots; organic bread and organic peanut butter; Ritz crackers; Orange or Apple juice; Suchit did a beautiful session of icebreaker with them.

Gita chanting - We learned Sahanavavatu - the peace chant we do before the yoga class and the first shloka of Bhagavad Gita chapter 16. We talked about the context in which Krishna teaches Gita to Arjuna. We chanted the first shloka many times, sometimes very slow, sometimes very fast, sometimes breaking the sentence, sometimes the entire quarter part of shloka, etc, just to give them fun time with learning. A minute of silence after Gita chanting was the most exhilarating experience for all the adults and kids. They indeed looked like Muni to us.

Philosophy - We discussed the theme of 16th chapter - the Daivi Sampath and Asuri Sampath. Some kids knew this - thanks parents. God's wealth - what is it? Is it gold/silver/diamonds? They said, no the good values ! We discussed that they can acquire the wealth of divinity by following good values. We learned the words - Abhaya - Fearlessness; Satva - Balance in life; Samshuddhi - Purity of character; dana - charity (answered by Vivek); dama - self control ; yajna - sacrifice (sharing); tapa - hard work; Jnanayoga - one kid answered - Knowledge about yoga :-) and we took it for now! So we will be working on all these values through the camp.

We discussed Karma Yoga - where they learn in school with all passion, but never worry about the grades; there was a debate on this amongst the kids; How can we motivate to do well without worrying about the grades? We cannot plan to study without worrying about our grades. We answered saying - worry is taking the time off of planning and studying; 

  • We have 10 mins; should we study or worry? - the answer was study
  • We have 10 mins; should we study 10 mins or study for 9 mins and worry for 1 min or study all 10 mins? - study all 10 mins?
  • So for a person who is busy working hard, where is the need or time for worry? They got the point. But not completely. So parents, do bring this up as they are quite bent upon grades, grades and grades. That will be nothing but stress, stress and stress in middle/high school.

Story session - one session for big kid group (over 10) and one for small (9 and below). They listened to the story with the theme - Satya - Patanjali's first Yama. The discussions are simply amazing! Cannot elaborate everything.

Nature and Me - We planted the seeds in a pot. We will keep watering them everyday.

Second half  

We had lunch with Suchit pulling their legs, telling them weird stories about his cooking skills (or the lack thereof :-) The kids were simply having fun pulling his legs.

We had a DRT session led by Reshma. They almost felt asleep and this is actually a much needed siesta style relaxation for them. Philosophy behind this is though they say it was boring, but, we teach them to relax and even take slowness of life. Boredom is a part of life. Life is not a roller coaster ride and our children are too stimulated to understand slowness. So boredom is a symptom of restlessness and we are teaching them to relax.

Art work - Theme - Environment - We taught them to use less resources, less disposables, less napkins in the toilet, bring their own napkins and lunch cover that they can use to eat lunch on. We want to come into the nature and leave it as if we never touched it. Like a fish entering the lake, not a buffalo entering the lake. Basically, we said to leave the place as it was when they entered, be it environment, kitchen, yoga place or this universe. They were asked to draw a picture art and write the words -  I came, I saw and I left it as it was - A quote inspired by Amitav, the child who attends the camp. Originally said by Julius Caesar as I came, I saw, I conquered. 

Mahabharata - We are watching Mahabharata selected episodes, not fully, but pieces. I discuss the story as they watch. We watched Bharata the son of Dushyanta Shakuntala choosing Bharadwaj as his heir instead of his sons. We discussed what sage Kanva says to Bharata - Conquer yourself O King, who has conquered the world. They quickly knew what conquering oneself means. Please discuss this with your kids. We watched Bhishma's (Devvrat)'s bravery episode, all for about 30 mins - just selected pieces, skipping the lengthy romantic pieces, that does not concern children. 

Games - We played Kabbadi - a strategy based modified kabbadi and you should watch them to see how they learn to strategize. Cannot explain it. But they were excited to learn. Then we played human chess - another game of strategy.

Advanced Yoga - We did Shirshasana using our prop. We practiced Vrikshasana and Nataraja pose and competed on who stands still the most. Amitav could stand with eyes closed on one leg. Quite a feat.

OM Meditation - We chanted 9 rounds of Aum and ended with Savre Bhavantu Sukhinah chant.

 

Gita Conference 2015 Report

- Ashwini Surpur

Gita Conference was organized in Sunnyvale temple by Satya Kalra (Path to Anandam) and group on July 20th, 2015. As Yoga Bharati representatives, Anil Surpur (President and my husband) and I were given VIP seating.  I was positively surprised at the wonderful set of people they had on the dias. Every bit of what was spoken on the stage was bringing thrill to the audience. The hall was packed and people did not move although it was way past lunch time. The speeches were wisdom filled and everyone was great there. 
Anil and I went to give a short 3 hour visit and we ended up staying all day.

  • Tulsi Gabbard gave an awesome talk quoting (in English) verses from different chapters and her own application of them into her life. She inspired everyone with her passion on Gita.
  • UC Berkeley Sanskrit Prof. Robert Goldman's Sanskrit was as if we Indian's spoke with no western accent. The Bhagavad Gita shlokas he quoted with stellar Sanskrit mesmerized the audience.
  • Swami Chidananda Saraswati - what to say? His voice and his shloka and the ending Shantih, Shantih, Shantih put me into samadhi so to say. It was as if time had stopped. Never before was I immersed in such a one-pointedness. His discourse kept people laughing and admiring and also a flow of knowledge of Ganga into the audience.
  • Swami Radhanath of ISCKON sung the song of Gita in a way I had never heard before. It was like Opera with a low pitch. I think he is a Jewish swami who has done enormous seva in India. His knowledge of Gita was amazing - every bit of it was fantastic.
  • Sadhvi Bhagavati Saraswati was also amazing in her tid-bits as MC. Unfortunately she took too long between every speaker that added to the delay. But her words were also very sweet and wisdom filled.
  • Shankaracharya (Bhanpura) also gave a very touching message on Gita. 

The youth! What to talk of them. Three youth - Varija 23 (daughter of Govindaji of Samskrita Bharati), Pushan 21, the college graduate who studied Sanskrit because he wanted to learn Gita in its original language and Keertana, the Monta Vista High school senior were the panelists. I was wondering how these little souls could talk on Gita so profoundly. Every one in the audience were dumbstruck at the way they conducted the youth panel.
Saumitraji of HSS - His down-to-earth style could not hide his wisdom, it was too evident! 

MY NOTES
Saumitraji of HSS

On Karma Yoga - What is the motivation to work if we gave up the results of the work? What motivates a Karma Yogi? Saumitraji said, at least for him - Shloka 3:20 - lokasangrahamevapi sampasyankartumarhasi
Everyone should have one thing to revere or worship. What I have (Swami Vivekananda also had this) is Samashti Devata --> The viraat swarupa of Lord where one became many millions. He is a HSS pracharak - a non-saffron Sanyasi who goes from home to home, city to city, country to country for HSS work. He said when he surrendered, he found someone coming and helping him in his worst situations, in unknown countries, and unknown societies also. 
Karma yoga is a journey of Training --> transforming --> transcending


Desh Deshpande - A Philanthropist and Entrepreneur - Keynote speaker
Spoke on Enlightened entrepreneurs 

  • Dharma means - to pick and choose a problem that is bigger than yourself
  • Things that are under control and that which cannot be controlled
  • Leave those that cannot be controlled
  • Such enlightened entrepreneurs  don't get agitated and don't agitate others
  • Moderate the ups and downs in the business.
  • Dilemma - should we be tough negotiator or polite ? always exist in life at all levels
  • BE Naive and optimistic
  • Naive why? Only naive think they can take anything and do it. Only they believe every problem can be solved

MOST IMPORTANT Message of Gita I got - Get up in the morning and get excited about the day - Gita style of living

My experience the very next day with the message 'Get up and get excited was very interesting'. I was extremely tired the next morning and I had to go to yoga class with a 5 hour sleep (in a row for the third day) and I was so miserable and tired that the entire morning was dragging my feet. At one point around 10am, I felt a deep sense of demotivation due to the deep fatigue with a pile of work still ahead of me. Suddenly I remembered Desh's speech and within 5 mins, I was up and about the I don't know how it all melted away and I was good for the entire day. 

International Day of Yoga 2015

Yoga Bharati, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu American Foundation with the support of more than 15 Bay Area organizations conducted the first ever International Yoga day in Baylands Park, Sunnyvale and other parts of the Bay Area. There were three events - Baylands Park, Sunnyvale, Milpitas and South San Jose. Apart from this, we also gave a whole hearted support and volunteers in SF Marina Park event led by SF Consulate. Our volunteers went to SF and conducted a mini Stress management workshop on the stage and held a booth.
Sunnyvale event included a grand Yoga Gala Event. Over 600 people attended the 4 hour event and over 100 volunteers helped in the event. The program started with a group yoga session that involved various Asanas, chanting of AUM andYoga Nidra - deep relaxation. This was followed by the speaker event where Cupertino City Council Savita Vaidhyanathan re-asserted her commitment to yoga and assured that Cupertino city will introduce yoga in their health programs. Yogashree N.V Raghuram, the spiritual founder of Yoga Bharati and professor at Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation (Bengaluru -India) gave a keynote address emphasizing the need for yoga in the present world. The partner organizations and supporting organizations endorsed their support to yoga.  

The highlight of the event was a street play on Swami Vivekananda's life by over 60 children. They brought forth Vivekananda's passion and his spiritual quest. The play depicted how yoga was brought to the west by Swami Vivekananda. 
ISKCON conducted a Bhakti parade at the end of the gala event. Health foods were sponsored by Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and distributed to all the participants.
We built a bigger community, robust relationships, broader agenda, a tougher willpower to lead and hold together, a larger vision and a new milestone in our journey.

Also, Thanks to over 15 supporting organizations as below. 
* Yogaksema USA - Gold sponsorship
* Unish Technologies - Gold sponsorship
* Chandru Bhambra - Donation at Gold Level
Support:
* All World Gayatri Pariwar
 * Balaji Temple, San Jose
* Bharati Tamil Sangam
* City of Milpitas
* City of San Jose
* Center for Spiritual Enlightenment
* ISCKON
* Isha Foundation
* Kannada Koota of Northern California
* Overseas Volunteers of Better India
* Sivananda Yoga Farm
* Samskrita Bharati USA
* Sevathon
* Sewa International
* Vedika Global
* Veerashaiva Samaja of North America
 

Pictures of IDY HERE

Surya Namaskar Yagna (SNY) 2015 Report

Surya Namaskar Sun Salutations

On Jan 1st 2015, the chilly New Year Day morning, approximately 50 people including children visited Sunnyvale Hindu Temple to participate in the Surya Namaskar Yagna (Sun Salutations Marathon). People also signed up for the online inauguration for the first time this year. Close to 400 people have signed up for the Marathon from different chapters across United States and Bengaluru, India.

To Learn our yoga and Surya Namaskars and their variations to suit your needs, visit our Yoga Page

The program started with Aditya Hrudayam chanting, a beautiful rendition of the praise of Sun from Ramayana where Lord Rama is supposed to have chanted this to be able to gain courage and strength to win over the demon king Ravana and get back his wife Sita.


After the chanting, Siddu Rati, SNY 2015 coordinator introduced the guest speakers. Everyone listened to the online webinar telecast of Sri. N.V Raghuram and Dr. Naveen.K.V at the gathering from Bengaluru India. Sri N.V.Raghuram is the chairman and spiritual founder of Yoga Bharati. He talked about the Philosophical basis of Surya Namaskar. He explained the importance of Uttarayana – the period of the year where the days start getting longer and how it signifies the upward movement of our spiritual energy and growth. He talked about health at all levels of personality – the Annamaya Kosha – the physical body, Pranamaya – vital energy, Manomaya – the mind, Vijnanamaya – the intellect and finally the Anandamaya – the peace personality. He explained how Surya Namaskar elevates us at all these levels of personalities. He commended the announcement of International Yoga Day by the UN on June 21st and said that over 180 countries have signed up for this announcement. He blessed us all and wished a Happy and a holistically Healthy New Year 2015!

Dr. Naveen, the medical director of Yogaksema Stress and Lifestyle Clinic in Bengaluru, India, with a 20 year background on research in yoga talked about the Scientific Basis of Surya Namaskar. He explained the difference between isometric and isotonic exercises and how SN help in providing isotonic exercise to various muscle groups – 5 upper body muscles, 4 muscles at the trunk and 5 lower body muscles [Complement The Med. 2014; 22(4):662-9]. He quoted research papers that showed the energy expenditure during SN was 13.91 kcal and a set of 10-12 SNs would amount to the same expenditure as an hour log run on the treadmill.

As an aerobic exercise SN seemed to be ideal as it involves both static stretching and slow dynamic component of exercise with optimal stress on the cardiorespiratory system – said Dr. Naveen. A separate yoga class was conducted for children and the kids were seen with bright smiles on their mats doing 24 rounds of SNs. The specialty of this year was Yoga Bharati’s invention of three variations of Suryanamaskars the classic 10 steps, the tiger stretch and Shashakhasana variation and the chair 10 step SN. These three variations can be practiced depending on the need of the individual or a mix and match of these variations can be practiced to achieve optimum exercise and asana benefits. The entire group practiced all three variation sequences.

After the breathing and loosening practices, 24 Suryanamaskars were practiced, first 12 rounds with Baja Mantras and then with Yoga Bharati’s classic 12 rounds with A.R.Rahman’s music for Totakashtakam. The entire group was energized with the practice of classic SNs interspersed with the other two variations of SN. This was followed by Deep Relaxation. Anil Surpur, the president of Yoga Bharati gave the benefits and limitations of SN and also talked about Yoga Bharati activities. Sharat Joshi gave the vote of thanks. The program ended with a peace chant wishing the health and happiness of all – Sarve Bhavantu SukhinaHa.

Apart over 400 members of Yoga Bharati practicing SNs in their homes, Savita Joshi conducted an online teaching of SNs and Shailesh Basani conducted Surya Namaskar Yajna with recorded listening of Raghuramji’s and Dr. Naveen’s talks followed by SN training and practice in Milpitas, CA.

It was a great beginning of year 2015 with SNY!!

Yoga Bharati SNY team.

Annual Report 2014

A year in review for Yoga Bharati: 2014

Twelve years of bringing authentic yoga, ancient wisdom and modern research

Twelve years of bringing authentic yoga, ancient wisdom and modern research As a volunteer-managed global community, we work to foster a better understanding of yoga’s benefits, therapeutic applications, life transforming effects and wisdom traditions. We bring yoga classes for general wellness yoga courses for students who want to teach yoga, and yoga therapy to heal those with chronic ailments.

Volunteers in the community

Yoga Bharati has trained 350 yoga teachers that now volunteer in local communities to offer our holistic and research-driven approach to yoga. Just this year, we delivered about 3000 class-hours of yoga asana sessions in our communities, including special classes for kids, seniors, stress management and therapy. We continued our expansion, adding more public classes in Sunnyvale, Milpitas and the Tri-Valley in the SF Bay Area.

An Authentic Yoga Therapy and Research fellowship

Yoga Bharati is committed to building a world-class research culture that can scientifically validate the benefits of Yoga Therapy, and to bringing authentic Yoga Therapy to our community.

Therapy classes for special groups – we have yoga therapy classes running continuously in Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas and Fremont. This year, we have conducted workshops on Yoga for back, neck, shoulder and knee pain, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity and metabolic disorders, vision disorders for children and teens, prenatal and postnatal workshops.

Yoga Centric Lifestyle Intervention Program (LIP) with Yogaksema – Yoga Bharati launched LIP, an integrative therapy for people with various ailments from back pain to anxiety to cancer rehabilitation under the guidance of Dr. Naveen Visweshwaraiah of Yogaksema Bengaluru. We’re glad to report that more than 50 participants consulted Dr. Naveen and took lifestyle intervention and yoga therapy for 3 months. We received a lot of positive feedback on the health benefits of this program. Details about LIP at: www.yogabharati.org

We have conducted conduct corporate Stress Management workshops and Stress and Yoga Breathing workshops at offices, healthcare institutions and education institutions. Our volunteers also conduct free yoga classes in their offices regularly. Workshops were conducted at Dharma and Yoga Fest organized by HSS, NIIT global conference and other events.

Surya Namaskar Yagna (SNY) 2014 – we conducted SNY as both ‘yagna’ and also a pilot cohort study. More than 500 people participated throughout America for the yagna. The theme of the closing ceremony was group practice of 108 sun salutation cycles (yagna). More than 60 people from age 3 to 75 years, donning meditative blue YB T-shirts, participated in the closing ceremony yagna. The published report is presented with details on Yoga Bharati’s website. CLOSING REPORT URL

Yoga Teacher Training 2014 More than 25 students from age 13 years – 60 years took Yoga Instructors Course (YIC) aka Yoga Teacher Training at Sunnyvale location. It was a 3 month course from April-June 2014 and ended in a yoga retreat at Sivananda Ashram. Sri.N.V.Raghuram, the spiritual founder and Chairman of Yoga Bharati conducted the philosophy course for YIC students.

CSE Yoga Teacher Training 2014 Center for Spiritual Enlightenment (CSE) and Yoga Bharati offered the first jointly conducted Yoga Teacher Training course at CSE’s San Jose location which was attended by 15 students. It was a 3 month course from Aug-Oct 2014. Rev. O’Brian, the head of CSE conducts philosophy course for the students.

Creating lifelong Yogis by catching them young Yoga Bharati has a unique focus on building youth ambassadors and lifelong yogis. In the past few years we have begun showing special attention to the youth during the YIC course as well as creating opportunities for them to channel their energy and develop their leadership skills.

Youth in Yoga Teacher Training Eight youth, 3 boys and 5 girls, ranging from 8th through 12th grades participated in our Yoga Teacher Training in April. The youth were not new to yoga since 7 of the 8 had previously attended Explore Yoga 2013, Yoga Bharati’s youth summer program. The youth participated very enthusiastically in the practical sessions and enjoyed their stimulating group discussions during the breakout sessions conducted in class and at the Sivananda Ashram retreat.

Summer Kids Camp 2014 Five day long summer kids yoga camp was conducted early 2014 and well attended. Below are some fun facts about 2014 Summer Kids Yoga Camp.

· 22 number of participants · 40+ number of kids camp hours · 200+ hours of yoga camp volunteering · 1500+ minutes of yoga, meditation, chanting · 7920+ number of wheat seeds sown during camp · 8640+ square inches of drawing and coloring activity · 15872+ square inches of art and creative yogic activity Details available at: GOOGLE DOC FOR KIDS CAMP REPORT Natural Vision Improvement for Children through Yoga

We also initiated the Project Vision Workshop as a part of Natural Vision Improvement program. We have completed 3 workshops in the past one year. Out of them the second workshop results motivated us to compile and bring a professional paper on Yoga for Vision. 15 children participated in this workshop to improve their vision challenges such as Myopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism and Lazy eyes. Some children participated simply to improve their memory, focus and concentration. Below are the significant results of the workshop.

Clinical Results

  • Improved Vision – 20%
  • Headache Relief – 10%
  • Easing Burning Eye/ Eye Strain – 10%
  • Reduction in allergy symptoms – 20%
  • Improved Sleep – 20%
  • Improved Appetite – 10%
  • Subjective Results Improvement in social skills & participation – 40%

Details of the institutional report can be found Here

Promoting awareness of Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda

Yoga Bharati hosts prominent speakers in the fields of Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda. In 2014, we arranged pranayama and meditation workshop and discourse by Shri N.V.Raghuram from VYASA on Bhagawat Gitaa Saara.

Dr Naveen KV of Yogaksema Stress and Lifestyle Clinic visited San Francisco bay area during the month of March. Yoga Bharati organized workshops and seminar on Evidence Based Yoga and Integrative Therapy during this time.

The later part of this year (November 2014) is a month of Satsangs, Parenting workshop, and workshops on Viveka Chudamani, Bhagavad Gita, Bhajagovindam and Atma Bodha by Swami Bodhananda Saraswati. Active partnership with local organizations

Over the years, Yoga Bharati has passionately served the community and has created a niche position for itself in the local volunteer organization network. We consistently contribute and support local events in various roles – as specialists in yoga and also as enthusiastic participants. This year was no different.

Sevathon 2014: This was held in the month of July. Yoga Bharati has been a key partner of Sevathon since it’s inception. This year Yoga Bharati conducted Yogathon in Baylands Park sunnyvale, California. There were more than 110 participants. The participants practiced 27-108 sets of Suryanamaskars as per their capacities on the day of the event. Unish Corporation sponsored Yoga Bharati team as with every year. Yoga Bharati expects more participants in the coming years.

Yoga Bharati has taken an initiative to collaborate and work in various fields of yoga alongside the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment (CSE). One such area is Suryanamaskar Yagna (SNY). Volunteers from Yoga Bharati have continually attended various programs offered by CSE during the course of this year. We actively partnered with CSE and conducted the Yoga Teacher’s Training at their facility where 15 students took the training.

Roadmap for 2015 In 2015, Yoga Bharati will work with greater resolve towards our goals, building on the momentum in previous years. In addition, we’re planning a few new projects that are outlined below.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) 2015 Competition – We invite everyone to participate in SNY like every year, and in addition we are also preparing and training for a competition of practicing 108 Surya Namaskars around Ratha Saptami day on Jan 26th when we conclude the Yagna (Sun Salutations Marathon).

Yoga Teacher Training 2015 – This year, we are likely to have a Yoga Teacher Training in March 2015, either in Sunnyvale or Hayward. Another Yoga Teacher Training may be held at CSE during the second half of the year.

Yoga Therapy Teacher Training 2015 – We are set to launch the next batch of Yoga Therapy Teacher Training in Feb 2015.

Yoga Retreat 2015: We will be conducting a yoga retreat in Sept 2015 that is open to public.

Retrospective Study on various different ailments including Back pain, Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma/Allergies will be undertaken. Another study will focus on the retrospective study on Prenatal Yoga for more than 300 women we have given yoga and made a difference in their lives.

Support Us

With your generous support, we at Yoga Bharati have been able to take up significant programs to promote Yoga in a holistic way. Your further contributions will strengthen our resolve and initiatives. Please see the link below for ways to contribute generously towards 

Yoga Bharati at Dharma and Yoga Fest

Yoga Bharati in Dharma and Yoga Fest

N.V.Raghuram at Dharma and Yoga Fest 2014

 Yoga Bharati sponsored Raja Yoga Track in Dharma and Yoga Fest (DYF) conducted by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Sunnyvale Hindu Temple and Fremont Temple at Mission College Santa Clara on Sept 14th as a commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. More than 12,000 people attended the one-day mega event with 8-9 parallel tracks. Shri N.V.Raghuram, the chairman of Yoga Bharati presided over Jnana Yoga Track and also spoke in Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga tracks. About 25-30 Yoga Bharati volunteers helped in YB Booth duty, parking, food serving, registrartion, Hindu theme park and various tracks. Yoga Bharati youth helped with registration, laughter yoga session for Yuva track and videoing the event. The highlight of DYF was that a great number of mainstream Hindu and other spiritual dharmic organizations participated wholly in the event.

Highlights:

Kids at Dharma and Yoga Fest
  • Yoga Bharati chairman Yogashree N.V.Raghuram spoke in Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga tracks
  • Yoga Bharati youth dressed up as Swami Vivekananda and participated in Ganesha festival parade.
  • At Raja Yoga track Yoga Bharati presented a 45 mins Stress Management session that was received very well.
  • Kids Yoga Formation dance contributed by Yoga Bharati kids choreographed by Madhavi.

Raja Yoga Track  -  Raja Yoga track was inaugurated by dignitaries of Center for Spiritual Enlightenment – Rev. O’Brian and Rev. Sundari, Samskrita Bharati’s Shri Govinda Rao, Yoga Bharati’s Ashwini and Savita on behalf of the president of Yoga Bharati – Shri Anil Surpur who decided to provide support to DYF volunteers while the event was going on. Yoga Bharati presented a 45 mins Stress Management session. The session was conducted by Ashwini Surpur and Savita Joshi. The event was received very well. This was followed by an awesome Kids Yoga Formation dance contributed by Yoga Bharati kids choreographed and organized by Madhavi. Yoga Bharati kids not only performed a wonderful yoga formation dance, but they said Swami Vivekananda quotes with no paper in their hands. It was awesome to listen to Swamiji’s words through these little ones.

  •  “Let the bell that tolled this morning be the death knell to all fanaticism.“ ;
  • “The greatest sin is to think yourself weak”
Ashwini at Dharma and Yoga Fest

Many more such quotes were said and they were cute. Our youth Suchit Ullagaddi and Akshaya Sekaran also became Vivekananda for Ganesha festival parade. Chinmay Surpur conducted a laughter yoga session at the youth track.

Savitha Nanjangud, the Youth Program Director of Yoga Bharati attended Raghuramji’s talk on Jnana yoga and said she was totally blown away and blissful.

A peep into Hindu Theme park showed how joyous the entire room was and how much the kids were enjoying, walking into the marriage track, one would be taken to celebratory atmosphere of Indian marriage, peeping into youth track and one would listen to various speakers and dances, some involving our Yoga Bharati folks. The entire atmosphere at Dharma and Yoga Fest was beaming with a fun filled seriousness. Yoga Bharati teachers Jolly Bose and Sushma Shrivastava were in a beautiful Bengali dance at the youth track. It was wonderful to see M.C Yogi getting married and taking blessings from everyone. The couple seemed to be happy to get married (again) in Hindu way. At youth track, David Frawley spoke in his usual eloquent style regarding Hinduism as it applies to youth. He talked about what was the state of affairs regarding Hinduism a couple of decades ago and what it is now. He said people were ashamed to call themselves Hindus in America. Now being a Hindu is cool because of the affluence, intelligence and rich colorful heritage that Hindus are associated with. He said that the state of Hinduism in India is still bad and people have yet to be proud of their heritage there. He asked the youth to take this culture further, he described how Hindus see divinity in everything – the wind is Varuna for us, the mountain is Shiva for us and everything is divine for the Hindu. As he was talking a Ganesha procession was going on and he chanted “Jai Shri Ram”

Ashwini Savita at Dharma and Yoga Fest

 The final event I attended was a wonderful Bhajan concert by Gaura Vani. This was an icing on the cake! It was the ultimate blissful frenzy experience with men and women competing to dance for the bhajan song – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna…. Hare Rama, Hare Rama… . Gaura Vani is a mainstream American. He grew up listening to Bhajans as his parents were also into it. At the age six, he went to India and studied in a Gurukul in Vrindavan where he studied Sanskrit and Bengali Bhajans.

While all this was in parallel tracks, the main program was the icing on the cake. MC Yogi made us all dance with joy! Some of us – Yoga Bharati volunteers were in the front grass area, dancing, as he rapped. The entire experience was youthful and blissful. Bhakti was indeed so much fun!

The evening program began with dignitaries speaking at the diaz including Hindu Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. It was a short speech, but inspiring. The booths at DYF displayed a number of spirited spiritual organizations and the great work they are doing in different fields of yoga and dharma. It was heart warming to see Dharmic activities as showcased by Dharma and Yoga Fest (DYF).

The most important of the events in the evening was Krishna Leela. The kids were lively, happy and cheerful in spite of the long day and they gave the most heart touching entertainment to all of the packed audience. Anuradha Paudwal’s Bhajans followed this program and soothed the excited crowd with her best rendition of Bhajan concert. Kudos to all the Yoga Bharati volunteers for supporting Dharma and Yoga Fest! This event is a stepping stone for a great movement of East meeting the West as envisioned by Swami Vivekananda.

Yoga Kids Camp 2014 Report

2014 Summer Kids Yoga Camp - Final Report
by
Aria Coalson, Youth Volunteer Instructor

On July 28, at the Sunnyvale temple, a Yoga Bharati team lead by Shobha Charagondla began a yoga summer camp from ages 5 to 12. At first the kids remained quiet and not much interacting but, by end of the day 1, they got familiar with the fellow classmates and teachers and became much more involved and highly interactive.

Parents would check in at the signup list while their children would unroll their yoga matts and settle down. The camp really begins when everyone chants the universal starting prayer

Sahanaavavatu - May we both be protected (i.e. the teacher and the student)
Sahanau bhunaktu (May we both be nourished)
Sahaveeryankara karavaavahai (May our knowledge be radiant)
Tejasvinaavadheetamastu (May our work be energetic)
Om Shanti Shanti ShantiH (OM Peace Peace Peace)

After this chant, the kids would partake in one hour of yoga asanas, taught by Shoba and our volunteer teachers. The beginning practices such as palm tree pose and cobra posture started out simple. By the end of the week, children attempted more challenging postures like lolasana (swinging version of lotus pose), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose). Still, many of the kids were able to bend and twist into these poses we thought would be challenging. Asana time would end with breathing exercises and chanting to calm their excited minds.

By this time child participants would dramatically groan with hunger and so they would take a well deserved morning snack break. Every day the snacks would change, but a steady component were the fruits/vegetables (apples, bananas, watermelons, cantaloupes, grapes, and carrots).

Once the food finished fueling the kids, one hour would be dedicated for skit preparation (which would make its debut on Friday). It took a while to herd the kids into their groups. Younger kids partnered together and took on the role of the one of the eight limbs of yoga: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Our older kids were the swamis, trying to bring peace between the quarreling eight limbs. This play’s main purpose was to educate the children, and the parent audience during Friday’s final performance, about the story of the eight limbs of yoga.

To release all the nervous energy, we played a yoga game for 15 minutes. These games were basically everyday fun games children might play during recess with fun yoga twists in variations. For example, one day we played freeze tag, except when someone was frozen, they would have to balance in Vrikshasana (tree pose).

At 12 started the long awaited one hours lunch break. Students would sit with their newly found friends and eat together. A special thanks to the temple for giving us spoons for kids who forgot theirs. If a child signed up for half day camp, they would depart at 12.

Next, to calm the student’s minds, we engage them in an hour of peaceful chants. This included more slokas, prayers from the gita, patanjalis yoga sutras, and a, o, m chants.

Art supplies were then brought out for creative time. We began the week by growing our very own wheat grass and talking about its healthy properties. The other days, our head of the camp read us stories with morals and the children would draw and share their interpretation. Another fun activity was the 3D om projects, where student cut out and coloured their very own om signs.

 

Once again we played more yoga games for 15 minutes till afternoon snack time when we all took a break. This time, our healthy munchies were served along with other foods such as gram crackers, animal crackers, ritz crackers, or goldfish.

In order to teach good values to the students, we engaged them in some Karma yoga, where we all helped to clean up.

Finally it was 4 and full day kids would depart home but the extended care kids stayed on. We introduced more yoga games and other fun activities for the extended care kids until 5pm for them to depart.

Overall, all our volunteers enjoyed and had fun spending time with the kids and truly looking forward to future events!

 

Yoga Centric Lifestyle Intervention Program

Yoga Centric Integrated Lifestyle Intervention

Yoga Bharati believes that with appropriate lifestyle intervention, many of the modern day lifestyle disorders and health conditions are preventable and in some cases reversible. Research based Yoga and holistic therapy, with proven therapies, can indeed work with the conventional medicines for prevention, management and a lasting cure for a wide range of health conditions.

On March 9th, Yoga Bharati SF chapter conducted a seminar on Evidence Based Yoga and Integrative Healing presented by Dr Naveen Visweswaraiah, the Medical Director of Yogaksema-Stress and Lifestyle Clinic at Bengaluru, India. He is a fullbright scholar with a PhD in yoga and its application in neuroscience. With this seminar attended by more than 120 people, Yoga Bharati launched a pilot initiative of Yoga based Lifestyle Intervention program [i-LIP].More than 50 participants have signed up for Integrated Lifestyle Intervention Program, a holistic therapy program offered to patients suffering from various ailments and health conditions from four major categories viz.,

  • Non-communicable diseases [also referred as stress related; Lifestyle related; Psycho-somatic; chronic diseases]-most common conditions are: diabetes mellitus, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiac diseases, peripheral vascular diseases, allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), skin diseases and host of women’s health issues including Poly Cystic Ovarian diseases (PCOD)]
  • Degenerative diseases i.e., musculo-skeletal and neurological degenerative diseases-most common conditions are: Arthritis [including Osteo arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis], chronic back pain, chronic pain, spinal disorders, spondylosis, hultiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, headache, parkinson’s diseases, dementia, alzheimers diseases, peripheral neuropathy
  • Cancer i.e., all forms of cancer
  • Mental Health Issues i.e., anxiety neurosis, depression, personality diseases, mood disorders, phobias, manic depressive psychosis, schizophrenia

Integrated Lifestyle Intervention program [i-LIP]
Today, the patients suffering from chronic diseases are left to shop for themselves and they end up getting into a lot of conflicting and confusing information regarding their health and healing. Integrated healthcare with scientific and proven choices of therapy modalities gives them a stress and worry-free holistic healing option. Yoga Bharati is attempting to provide this integrated health care option and patient education to the participants looking for evidence based Lifestyle Intervention to prevent-manage-reverse Lifestyle Diseases.

We offer yoga centric Lifestyle Intervention Program, a holistic therapy program offered to patients suffering from various ailments and health conditions from four major categories viz., non-communicable diseases, degenerative diseases such as musculo-skeletal and neurological degenerative diseases, cancer and mental health Issues. Decades of research on yoga, psychophysiology and traditional medicine have shown that conventional medicine can be augmented with holistic therapy modalities to improve the quality of life, to better manage chronic health conditions and also to reverse some of the diseases through proven Lifestyle intervention. Hence medicine is evolving to become Integrative Medicine where best of the conventional and traditional medicine would come together to offer all that is required for a patient care that treats the person NOT the disease alone.

Our lifestyle prescriptions include:

  • Disease-specific-evidence based yoga for healing (therapy) [as opposed to one-size-fit-for-all wellness yoga]
  • Clinical diet plan specific to different diseases
  • Functional foods-foods which are identified with key healing ingredients
  • Nutritional supplements-plan based organic proven supplements
  • Herbs-clinically tested herbs with specific healing properties [NOT just from Ayurveda, herbs from all over the World which are proven to have clinical benfits would be prescribed]
  • Chiropractic adjustments for pain management and for musculoskeletal conditions
  • Ayurvedic panchakarma based detox therapies
  • Acupuncture for pain management and energy medicine
  • Natural home remedies

The above listed therapy options would serve as host of passive and active therapies. Where passive therapies would treat the acute symptoms and facilitate healing. Thereafter, yoga, healthy eating habits and structured lifestyle would form active therapy to reverse the Lifestyle diseases.

Healthcare is our responsibility and spending money on health care is the best investment one can do for ourselves. If money is lost, nothing is lost, but if health is lost something is lost. They are expensive because there is a lot of TLC (tender loving care) in holistic therapy – be it chriorpractic, accupuncture, yoga or Ayurveda. Popping a pill may seem easy and inexpensive, but we are slowly hurting the body with side effects.

When one opts for holistic healing, one’s focus changes from illness to wellness and from reactive to proactive approach of healthcare. We do not have to wait for a disease to show up before going for a Chiropractic for adjustment or for Ayurvedic massage therapy. While we know that stress and Lifestyle are the two major risk factors for most diseases, We need to embrace a system of heath care which is [5Ps]:

  • Promotive
  • Proactive
  • Participative
  • Preventive
  • Personalized

Adopt a stress-free healthy lifestyle

  • to adopt self caring behavior;
  • to stay away from lifestyle diseases;
  • to improve quality of life
  • to enhance productivity and
  • to experience the joy of living, self awareness and self evolution.

SNY 2013 Report

Feb 17th 2013

Yoga Bharati completed yet another successful SuryaNamaskar Yagna (SNY) in 2013. The closing ceremony for the yagna was held simultaneously in two locations in the Bay area – Sunnyvale Hindu Temple and Fremont Hindu Temple on Sunday Feb 17th at 7am. Close to 100 enthusiastic Suryanamaskar yagna participants attended the SNY closing ceremony at both locations.

The program began with the invocation Sahanavavatu followed by a yoga class conducted with the focus on performing Suryanamaskars with Beeja mantras. This was followed by the announcement of key statistics related to the SuryaNamaskar Yagna participation and performance for SNY 2013. Yoga Bharati is pleased to report that more than 120,000 Suryanamaskars were performed by over 600 dedicated participants throughout US and Canada. Additionally, over 100 people participated in Suryanamaskar Cohort Pilot Research study as research subjects. Several people came forward to share their experiences with the yagna and some of their testimonies are listed at the end of this article.

To highlight Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary, youth yoga teachers of the Bay Area presented a short panel discussion at each location on some of the most popular quotes of Swamiji. They were guided by YIC Faculty member Savitha Nanjangud.

The youth selected the quotes that appealed to them the most and that were most applicable to their daily lives. They took turns explaining the quotes and relating them to real life examples and how Yoga Bharati was attempting to apply these ideas through all its activities. For example, one of the quotes they presented was “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success that is way great spiritual giants are produced”. The youth connected this idea with Yoga Bharati’s recent event – Yoga Sangam – International Yoga Conference, Sep 2012, which was a remarkable success. They explained how the volunteers took up one idea – the Conference – and how they lived and worked on that one idea until it was a grand success.

Youth panel discussion was followed by the announcement of Yoga Bharati’s events and activities such as ongoing free public classes, Yoga Teachers Training for adults and youth, Sevathon Run, Yoga for various ailments, prenatal and kids yoga classes offered by Yoga Bharati. Snacks were waiting for the participants at the end of the event. This was followed by the collection of Anthropometric measurements from SNY research subjects by Yoga Bharati research coordinators.


SNY 2014 Closing Report

SNY 2014 Closing Ceremony and Testimonials

Feb 9th 2014

Yoga Bharati organizes a Surya Namaskar Yagna (SNY) or Sun Salutation Marathon every year from Jan 1st to Ratha Saptami Day which was on Feb 6th this year. Ratha Saptami is a festival celebrated by Hindus to mark the birthday of Surya or the Sun and symbolizes the change of season to Spring. Surya Namaskar (SN) is a yoga practice comprising of an integrated set of 10 asanas or poses done in a flowing manner with breath synchronization. This constitutes one cycle.

Yoga Bharati (YB) Bay Area Chapter conducted a closing ceremony on Feb 9th 2014 at BAYVP temple, Milpitas to mark the culmination of the six-week long SNY. The theme of the closing ceremony was group practice of 108 sun salutation cycles (yagna). More than 60 people from age 3 to 75 years, donning meditative blue YB T-shirts, participated in the closing ceremony yagna. INDTVUSA covered the entire event and will be broadcasted on their channel.

The participants began the yagna by aligning themselves into a formation that mimicked the radiating rays of the Sun. Participants who had trained to practice 108 cycles of SNs formed the innermost circle and led the line of people that were part of their respective Sun ray. People constituting the rays outside of the inner circle were free to practice as many SNs as they were capable of with the option of dropping out or retiring to rest when they needed to. More than 30 people including 10 year old Diya completed the 108 cycles of SN while the remaining completed anywhere from 24-48 cycles. While the majority of participants practiced the traditional SN sequence, a subset practiced less intense variations of SN prescribed either due to age or health conditions. One of the variations was the practice of SN while seated in a chair and a senior participant with no prior SN experience successfully completed 108 chair SN cycles. A second SN variation was indicated for participants with health conditions such as back, neck or shoulder pain and a subset of participants with such conditions successfully completed108 SNs without any difficulty.

In addition to energy derived from community participation, a rock style, background music of the Totakashtakam chant by the famous A.R. Rahman helped build a significant amount of contagious enthusiasm and energy into the yagna. Additionally, each set of 12 SN cycles was interspersed with a quick relaxation in Shitila Tadasana (loosened standing pose) and reading of quotes from spiritual masters by youth volunteers Devaki and Sushant. All this served to create a positive and spiritual environment to the entire event. As a consequence, several adults and young children who had not expected to proceed beyond 12-24 cycles ended up completing more than 50 SN cycles.

The program ended with a chanting of Surya Namaskar Mantra (Hiranmayena Patrena from Ishavasyopanishad) and the 12 beeja mantras (mantras used for awakening spiritual centres) followed by Deep Relaxation for all participants and a hearty healthy snack.

Most of the yagna participants had also enrolled in the 6 weeks of pre-yagna SN practice wherein they practiced between 12-108 sets on their own at home and logged in their counts. Yoga Bharati conducted SN training in all their public yoga classes for students wishing to participate in the yagna. Yoga Bharati also provided one-on-one advice for people who needed variations or had questions or concerns.

This year’s SNY was a different experiment by Yoga Bharati. “We tried SN variations for various health conditions including chair SNs”, says Ashwini Surpur, the Director of YB’s Yoga Therapy initiative. Classic SN may not suit everyone and hence we provided two more variations for people with chronic back, neck, shoulder and hand pain and for seniors. This led to increased participation and people reported great improvement in their health with the SN practice. The focus of Suryanamaskar practice is the synchronization of breath and body movement with integration of the two as the goal. Muscles stretches in combination with breath work to promote good circulation and respiration as well as the overall stimulation and relaxation that are all part of SN practice enables the mind to become peaceful. “We felt that this year’s SNY will become our model going forward”, said Ashwini.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————TESTIMONIALS————————————————————————————————————————————————————————When we were warming up I felt shy. When we were done with 6 suryanamaskaras I thought I could not do 108, but I knew I had done it when we were done with 108 suryanamaskaras. I felt happy and good and I really liked suryanamaskaras.

Sinchana (6 yrs)

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-The suryanamaskara yagna was truly a delightful experience. Four weeks before the actual event I made it a goal to discipline myself by finding time after my school work was complete, and do twenty suryanamaskaras a day.

Gradually I increased my count to thirty, then forty. Finally, when the time had come to lay down my mat and join the group of mostly adults in order to start the event, doubt arose. I was determined to reach my goal but deep in the back of the mind, my conscience persuaded me that I would not be able to complete it. Still, I wanted to try to the best of my ability. In order not to disrupt the event if I happened to get tired after 50 suryanamaskaras, I migrated with my mat to the outer circle. Someone started the music and we all began. There was a sense of peacefulness to the postures. Maybe it was the music, or the synchronized movement of all the participants that created this sense. To tell the truth, I am not sure why. You would think doing these postures repetitively might be arduous, even boring, but it was not. The more I progressed, the more energized I felt. Time flowed fast and before I knew it, I had completed 108 suryanamaskaras. As I folded up my mat, I felt an emotion that I rarely feel: I felt accomplished and proud of myself. This activity showed me that I really could do it. I would love to keep on continuing to do suryanamaskaras everyday, whether there is asuryanamaskara yagna to practice for or not, in order to benefit from that calmness and exercise every day.

Aria – 13 yrs

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-I was introduced to chair suryanamaskara’s by Ashwini at Yogabharati for the first time during the opening day of thesuryanamaskara yagna. I hadn’t thought that doing suryanamaskara’s at my age was a possibility until then. I attended the closing day ceremony of the yagna with the hope of listening to the chanting and doing a few counts of SN. But I realized that breathing into the poses correctly and maintaining a steady pace helps keep up the practice. I was able to complete 108 SN at the closing ceremony without any strain. It was definitely a positive and pleasant experience. Thanks to the YB team! Also, I would like to spread awareness to my friends and siblings back home who can also benefit from this chair yoga variation to SN.

Bhagya (Senior)

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-Over the past six weeks, enrolling in the Suryanamaskar Yagna was a great experience. Throughout this period, I was consistent and did my 36 count SN practice every day, except for one. However, I made up for the missed day by doing 72 the next day.

Soon enough, doing suryanamaskars became a habit. The 6 weeks of preparation helped me build core strength and the stamina required to hold through and complete the 108 suryanamaskars on the day of the SNY closing ceremony. I didn’t even feel tired or sweaty after completing the 108 SNs, which means that the 6 weeks of practice really paid off.

I started the SN practice feeling tired because of being woken up at 6 am. However, as I continued through the sets ofsuryanamaskars, I started to feel more energized. When we finished all 9 sets, I did not feel tired anymore. Instead, I felt sharp and awake. The remnants of whatever fatigue I felt were totally gone as I finished the 108th, the final, sun salutation. As I think back from January, I felt that the 6 weeks of practice served as a prerequisite that led up to the final test, which was the 108 suryanamaskars on the closing ceremony day. Overall, the one month journey was exhilarating, and I am ready to sign up for the Surya Namaskar Yagna again next year.

-Sushant Thyagaraj (13)

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- I am sooo happy to be part of this. It was a great experience and amazingly, I had more energy in the 9th round than what I started with. I came mentally prepared to do just 50 as I hardly practiced, but with everyone helping each other in a such a positive way, I was able to complete 108.  Thank you all so much.

Music helped and facing each other helped me smile while practicing.

-Rekha ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- I was not prepared for 108.  I had planned to leave early but instead completed 108.  It was an amazing experience!   Truly felt that my inner strength was complemented by the energy in the room and kept going till end.   The music was great and pace was perfect.

Now this has to be the way we conclude Surya Namaskar Yagna very year!

-Parul ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- Due to some shoulder problems I was going to only practice 20 or so and watch the rest :). But the combined energy and enthusiasm in the room was infectious! I skipped only one set to talk to the Indtv folks but otherwise I kept going and the last set was just as strong as the first one!  Thanks to all the volunteers who organized the event and helped make it so successful.

-Savitha

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-My experience with the modified version of the SN practice for neck/shoulder pain

I have been participating in the SNY from 2007 and used to practice SNs fairly regularly. However, I had to abort my participation in SNY 2013 after a couple of weeks of practice because of issues related to cervicalspondylysis and other joint-related pain. I had to discontinue my regular practice of SNs as well because of the ongoing pain.

When the announcement for SN 2014 initially came out, I thought I would not be able to participate this year either because of the continuing neck and other joint pain issues. However, thanks to the SN variation module formulated by Ashwini Surpur and the YB Yoga Therapy team for neck/shoulder pain,  I could not only resume my daily practice of SNs but also work up to reaching the goal of completing 108 SN cycles. This year’s SNY experience with the modified sequence made me realize that the practice of SNs does not have to be all or none for people with health conditions.

-Vidhya Gopalakrishnan

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-