Annual Report 2013

A year in review for Yoga Bharati: 2013

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

This year was the eleventh since our founding as a non-profit, volunteer-managed global community. We promote yoga in its authentic form, combining ancient wisdom with modern research. We work in the interest of the public to foster a better understanding of the benefits of yoga, its history and traditions.

Volunteers in the community

Yoga Bharati has trained 300 yoga teachers that now volunteer in local communities to offer our holistic and research-driven approach to yoga. Just this year, we have delivered about 2,500 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 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.

Surya Namaskar Yagna (SNY) 2013 – we conducted SNY as both ‘yagna’ and also a pilot cohort study. More than 500 people participated throughout America for the yagna. More than 100 people signed up for this research study, with 53 successfully completing it. 

Distance Education (Yoga Therapy) – we successfully conducted a distance learning Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy (PGDYT) jointly with Bengaluru’s VYASA (Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthan). This 3-month program was led by Ashwini Surpur and ten students participated this year.

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.

Workshops with VYASA faculty – We routinely send folks to visitVYASA’s campus in Bengaluru (called Prashanthi) from the Bay Area for both therapy and educational purposes, with the numbersincreasing every year. This year, VYASA’s Dr. Nidhi Ram conducted an infertility workshop in the SF bay area, led by Savita Joshi where more than 30 people participated. We’re glad to report that some participants have subsequently been able to conceive while others are enjoying their family time with the little ones !

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 conductedat Philips Healthcare, Sutter Healthcare Institution and at West Valley College in 2013, among others.

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 President’s Challenge workshop. The President’s Challenge focuses on making kids healthy and active for life. The President has called for 60 minutes of fitness activity for 5 days a week to fight childhood obesity and to establish good health in America. Yoga is one of the activities included by the President. Yoga Bharati took this idea and implemented it for Bay Area youth. More than 20 YB teachers volunteered in summer of 2013 providing more than 100 classes – a total of $12,000 worth of free classes for kids and, we hope, habits that will keep them healthy for the rest of their lives.

We conducted a 2 week summer workshop for youth titled Explore Yoga. The workshop was led by Savitha Nanjangud working closely with 6 youth leaders, Vedant, Vinay, Maya, Chinmay, Devaki and Renuka. Over 20 youth ranging from middle schoolers to college students attended the workshop. The program exposed the participants to various fields such as Yoga therapy, Ayurveda, Yoga for Leadership etc., in addition to the regular yoga practices. Several guest speakers shared their knowledge of yoga and Ayurveda with the youth including Dr. Prasad Kaipa, experts from Vedika Global – an Ayurveda School in Berkeley, and the Youth Spiritual Education Manager of Center For Spiritual Enlightenment, San Jose – a spiritual organization of Paramahamsa Yogananda Lineage.  Several of the workshop attendees have now enrolled in the upcoming YIC 2014 course.

Three day long winter kids yoga camp was conducted early 2013 and well attended by over 35 kids. A similar Summer camp was conducted at Safari Kids by one of our youth yoga instructor Renuka. Kids became familiar with the right way to move their body with awareness while practicing various Asanas, and also got to understand the concepts of Yoga. They enjoyed learning to chant various Shlokas. Details available at: 

Promote awareness of Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda

  • Yoga Bharati hosts prominent speakers in the fields of Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda.
  • In 2013, we arranged a series of talks by Prof NVC Swamy from VYASA on the Life of Swami Vivekananda as a part of Swamiji’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations.
  • Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali Yoga Sutra workshop were held by Shri.N.V.Raghuram, the Chairman and spiritual founder of Yoga Bharati, during the month ofApril.
  • Dr H.R.Nagendra and Dr.Alex Hankey of VYASA, Bengaluru visited San Francisco bay area during the month of August. Yoga Bharati organized various talks and workshops during this time, along with adinner get together with local community leaders.
  • The later part of thisyear (November 2013) saw Satsangs on Yoga /Stress Free Parenting , Brahma Sutra, Bhagavad Gita and Mundakopanishad 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 2013: This was held in the month of July. Yoga Bharati has been a key partner of Sevathon since it’s inception. This year, we doubled the runner registration and also conducted special yoga sessions during the Marathon runners’ training and also on the day of the event. Unish Corporation has sponsored the Yoga Bharati team over the last few years.

Dharma and Yoga Fest: This was organized by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, Fremont and Sunnyvale Hindu temples along with many non-profit and social organizations in bay area in 2 locations (Santa Clara and San Ramon) during the month of September and was attended by 15,000 people on that single day. Yoga Bharati was Raja Yoga track organizer and sponsor. As a part of this track, weconducted a Stress Management program, Kids Yoga formation/ dancechoreographed by Madhavi Jain and Ashwini Surpur. There was a special talk at the end of the Raja Yoga track by Shri N.V.Raghuram of Yoga Bharati who has taken up the role of the President of Hindu University of America. Shri N.V.Raghuram was also specially invited to speak in Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga tracks.

In September, we participated in the Livermore Temple Health Fair, and worked on raising awareness on the benefits of yoga and announced the availability of free classes all over the bay area.

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 SNY research. Volunteers from Yoga Bharati have continually attended various programs offered by CSE during the course of this year. The next year will see this relationship strengthen even further when we actively partner with CSE and conduct the Yoga Teacher’s Training at their facility.

Roadmap for Future Events in 2014

In 2014, 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.

Youth Science Fair – Yoga Bharati wants to promote research, and has a focus on youth. We combine these interests in the form of a science fair project involving research on single nostril breathing on brain hemispheres. This involves providing a platform, the network of research subjects, monetary sponsorship and connections with yoga and research experts from universities like VYASA Bengaluru and San Francisco State University.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) 2014 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 in February when we conclude the Yagna (Sun Salutations Marathon).

Yoga Study 2014 – We are planning to conduct a pilot study on the effect of yoga on Symptom and Medicine scores on people with minor chronic ailments. It will be conducted over a period ofsix weeks’ yoga intervention program. Participants will be a part of two group practices and have three home practices aided by a video in a given week. They report their symptoms and stress index before and after the intervention.

Yoga Teacher Training 2014 – This year, we are likely to have an additional Yoga Teacher Training as we are running housefull on our Yoga Teacher Training courses.

Yoga Therapy Teacher Training 2014 – We are set to launch the next batch of Yoga Therapy Teacher Training (VYASA’s PGDYT course) contact hours in Sept 2014.

Winter Kids Camp: We will be conducting a camp for the children during their winter recess, at Sunnyvale Hindu Temple. For details please visit our website.