BalaYogi Retreat -Sivananda Ashram 2019

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What a productive and fun way to spend time at Sivananda Ashram which gave the kids an opportunity to live with all four paths of Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga.

This year is our first kids residential retreat and kids made history at yoga bharati by participating!

Picture speak thousand words, so we have written this report with more pictures than words!

Children and adult volunteers drove early morning to the Ashram, at Grass Valley, California on Saturday July 20th and reached by the brunch time at 10 am. On the way we learned few mantras like “Shanno Mitra Sham Varunaha”… and getting to know about the Ashram life and discipline. We ate healthy sandwiches on the way and took one bio break.

Sivananda Ashram at Grass Valley was established by Swami Vishudevananda 40 years ago. Swami Sita is the current Swamiji who heads the Ashram and Swami Dharmananda handles many day today activities.

Children settled in the rooms after brunch and explored the area around. They liked the play area, with swings and hammocks. They learnt the aspect of Karma yoga by helping the Ashram in cleaning and gardening.

We made Malas of 108 beads for meditation with materials provided by Ashram.

Our next activity was Swimming in the pond with fishes and frogs :) Children helped each other to overcome the fear of water and the water habitats. Al though the water was 13” deep, they did swim around and experience the fun. They also learned group dynamics and leadership skills.

After the kids had shower and we made our way to Durga temple and lavender fields on the way. Durga temple hike is about 20 min from the front area. On the way we saw Lamas who are part of the Ashram from many years now. We ate fresh super sweet organic blueberries and apricots grown at the farm trees.

At the temple, children chanted mantras they know and they felt comfortable including, Sahana Vavatu.., Viduraneeti…, Sakshepa Ramayana.., Ekatmata mantra, Sarve Bhavantu, Ganesha mantra and many more. Children bowed down to Maa Durga to seek her blessings and we headed back. On the way back we walked through the fresh lavender fields which were both inviting to the visual and our taste senses. Took many pictures and ate some more fresh berries from around. Children were tired due to the Summer heat and the walk. They were also thirsty and wanted to go back soon. Some of them wanted to join for a Labyrinth walk and we headed there. Labyrinth walk took about 20-25 min to have a walking meditation experience.

We had brunch in the evening at 6 pm and played around at the free time. Evening experienced the Satsang which has Sivananda Ashram Kirtan which was our Bhakti Yoga experience. Ashram lights are out by 10.30 pm, but we slept off at 10 pm as kids and adults all of us were tired and had a peaceful sleep in the night. We stayed in cabins with bunk beds which had bathroom very close by.

Wake up time is 5.30 am with another bell at 5.45 am. Ashram has a very nice way of waking the ashram dwellers. They come with traditional bells and “Om Namah Shivaya” mantra and wake us up with a beautiful sattvic way on Sunday July 21st Sunday. Kids woke up early and had fruits and Oatmeal breakfast. Ashram food is fully organic with himalayan pink salt and some of it is vegan too..

Our group had a Raja yoga experience by the Ashram kids camp counselor Kalaila who was still there after the Ashram’s own camp for 10 days. Children had a great time with Kalaila and some of them even slept off during the deep relaxation. They said her voice was very soothing!

Brunch was at 10 am and kids had some more karma yoga experience in helping kitchen cleaning team. They helped wipe the dishes and put them away. Children played some more time. Then was the time for Jnana yoga experience with Swami Dharamandaji. Swami Dharmananda had a discussion on Guru and Guru Poornima. What does Guru mean and his significance in ones life was discussed with them. Kids were very interactive and told Swamiji about what they feel about Guru. Some said their experiences, their mistakes, their parents, teachers, friends are Guru. Swamiji gave them the Ashram lineage and stories of Swami Sivananda. Guru Poornima was in July and the vibes of the day was still fresh and alive in the Ashram air. After taking blessings from Swami Dharmanandaji we left the Ashram to head back to the Bay area. Kids did not want to come back as they enjoyed all of it very much. They were already asking when is the next year trip and they don’t want to miss it.

Ashram packed us some more food and fruits on our way back. We would like to invite you all for this fun and experiential learning Retreat next year. Stay tuned for the dates and don’t miss.

For Ashram information, please visit https://sivanandayogafarm.org/

For information about kids classes and camps at yoga bharati, please contact kids@yogabharati.org or call 408 341 YOGA (9642)

Field Trip to Goshala with kids and adults 2019

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What a Serene and wonderful way to celebrate International Day of Yoga at the Goshala. Energy, vibrations and views all come together at the 80 plus acres land on the hills. Children felt comfortable, safe and were definitely curious to learn and know more. This is the first Official field trip to Goshala and yes we were the Pioneers of this activity. Goshala co ordinators were very happy about this new initiative taken by Yoga Bharati. Our camp parents and camp volunteers made it possible by driving to the facility as chaperones. A big thanks to them. Our youth teachers supported the field trip activities by actively participating and motivating camp attendees.

Goshala is a shelter for protecting and taking care of cows. A bit about Cows.

“ Cattle combat global warming by restoring carbon to the soil. ... When cattle eat grass they stimulate new growth and while they walk and fertilize on the ground it promotes seed germination. This prevents the overpopulation of woody shrubs and keeps our grassland ecosystems healthy and stable”


We started around 9 am from the camp location to the Goshala in Milpitas and reached by 10 am. Our first activity was Yoga in the open area under the sun and of course heat. We performed suryanamaskars, Paschimottanasana, Ushtrasana, Shashankasana, GOMUKHASANA, to feel the oneness with the cows. Finally 9 rounds of Bhramari followed by Silence and experienced the profound energy and vibrations around.

Cows at Goshala are given several names of Krishna and the birth significance, such as Nandini, Gopala, Ekadashi, Manasi, Brahma and more. Kids learnt about cow being Gomata, like our mother who is so important to our ecosystem. Field trip co ordinator explained the benefits of cows, uses of the products that cow gives. Milk and milk products are staple for many of us, cows urine is researched quite a bit and used as a medicine, cow dung is used as manure and fertilizer. Co ordinator mentioned a very important fact, “if you have a cow and a piece of land you can live happily as that is all you need!” Cow gives milk and fertilizer for the land to grow grains, vegetables and fruits and eats grass.

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First Activity - petting - Children and adults had a chance to pet the cows and calf. Youngest member of the cow family is 2 months old naughty Manasi! She likes to jump around and play.. Her mom goes to graze while she waits at the shed area. There are totally 11 cows. In 2016 they started with 5 and now they are 11 ! Names have been chosen from Krishna’s life stories, like Nandini, Gopala, Ekadashi, Manasi and more. We were able to feed the cows bananas, cut watermelons. Cows happily accepted our feed. Our youngest child of 2 years also was able to and get close enough and pet the cows and calf without fear.

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Next activity Cow Shed Cleaning: Older children and few small children were given the opportunity to clean the sheds. They did not hesitate a bit to get dirty and started taking turns in cleaning the sheds with brooms, brushes, water, shovel. We started with sweeping the cow sheds, then they moved to brushing and cleaning with water. Adults helped them to complete the task. They even held the fresh cow dung with their shovels and cleared it away!

Lunch and Disperse: All the children and adults gathered at the shed and sat on the chairs with our food on the tables. This shed is specifically built as a lunch area. While we were having food, Goshala co ordinators passed the info flyers and also mentioned about the importance of donating. Single day of feeding the cows costs $151. Many of us decided to donate a bit and do our part. Co ordinators made the kids to take quiz and give away few gifts to the ones who answered right.

Drive up the Mountain - Last activity: Goshala care taker guided us to the mountain off road drive which is pretty smooth and paved to watch the other cows grazing and the beautiful mountain views and the city views. We then started around 12.45 pm to reach the south bay center by 1.30 pm. Parents picked up the kids. Kids could not stop talking about their experiences at the field trip and the camp as a whole.

Anyone planning to visit Goshala, please visit their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kbgosala/

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We sincerely thank the Goshala volunteers, who co ordinated the trip completely which was planned at least 2-3 months ago. Many other volunteers and their children were present at the trip from Goshala whose expert guidance and support made it very informative and enjoyable.

Lastly we would like to say please visit this place again, adopt a cow, volunteer at this facility, as they need all kinds of help from the community to build such a safe environment for the cows to graze and live happily.

Childrens Summer Camp 2019

We had a wonderful summer camp 1 for Cupertino Area last week. As we always do, we had variety of programs including yogasana, games, yoga art, stories, yama/niyama, water conservation workshop,  and chanting Sanskrit shlokas and mantras. Our youth teachers Vivek, Shloka, and Aditya brought a huge spirit of encouragement for children. Along with them we had 7 adult teachers and volunteers conducting the camp.

Yogasana – We divided the camp attendees into two groups and had separate yoga sessions for kids 9 and under and above 9 years of age. The kids were educated on the benefits of the practices as they practiced and also were challenged so that they get motivated to do better. They also had their dosage of relaxation and meditation at the end of each class. It was a great sight to watch the children lie in shavasana and chant Om with a total synchrony and in a peaceful tone every day.

Games  - We play games to bring about age old practices of team games that children played on the streets without modern gadgets, TV screen or smart phones but with their own intuition, making up rules on their own, strategizing as a team, building presence of mind and helping them to go towards Nirodha Chitta – a total control over mind through games.

Art – Younger children did simple art work of  displaying yama/niyama and what it means to them. One child demonstrated Ahimsa with two pictures one man holding the gun in picture 1 and then dropping the gun in picture 2 as a symbol of Ahimsa. It is fun and rewarding to watch the young minds unfold with their creative spirit. Older children understood the concept of ShriYantra and have completed the outline of it. According to powerthoughts meditation club, The Sri Yantra is a 12,000 year old symbol and is considered the mother of all Yantras. Yantras are geometrical designs based on the principles of sacred geometry and are used for meditation. Each yantra design contains a centre point or “dot” from which geometric shapes and designs radiate.  Traditionally, such symbols are used to balance the left and right aspects of the brain, focus our minds or to focus on spiritual concepts to obtain spiritual benefit. It is even rumoured that Nikola Tesla, with his fractal mind, would see the Sri Yantra in blinding flashes!
Children who came for 1 week got to take their shriyantras home, others will get to paint their projects in the coming week camp.

Chanting: Chanting is a great way to develop memory, attention and focus, and also develop good lungs and strong vocal chords that prepares them to generate subtle resonance that brings peace into them as they chant. In fact, chantings are also considered to be great healing practice. Chanting of Bhramari has shown to even heal fractures.

In our camp, younger children learned to chant shanti Mantra – 

  • Shanno mitra sham varunah….

  • And Bhagavad Gita shlokas – vasudeva sutam devam…..,

  • yada yada hi dharmasya….

  • And sarva dharmaan parityajya….

Older children learned to chant shanti Mantra – 

  • Shanno mitra sham varunah….

  • And then we moved on to chant taittiriya Upanidshad’s Medha Suktam

  • and more… yashchandasaam vrishabho vishwarupah

  • and we continued unto – aamayantu brahmacharinah swahah….vimaayantu brahmacharinah swahaah… etc and these are very rhyming and beautiful chantings.

This is to demonstrate how tranquilizing and exhilarating the mantras can be.

Chanting – Why?

Some of the older kids were frowning during chanting session. When asked they expressed their disinterest and questioned why chanting at all and what good they would do and how scientific they were. This is the usual frown we get from our teenage children. We handled it by explaining thus: 

Chantings are one great way to bring ekagra (one-pointedness) to the mind. Eventually our goal is nordha chitta, complete control over mind and ekagra leads us to that. The very definition of yoga per Patanjali is “Chitta vritti norodha” to develop control over thoughts.

Meaningless mantras? Or maybe we don’t know the meaning then why chant at all? Or why not say some positive affirmation in English and be done? – Yet another question. Sanskrit has its merits due to the language being the language of spiritual sages. But if one would chant a church chorus  or a namaz or any other spiritual song, it would still give the same benefit. In fact, meaning of these chants is not even required because many beeja mantras including OM do not have meaning on purpose. Thoughts are about names and forms; and words and meanings (shabdha, artha, nama, rupa). When you chant just as a chanting, then all thoughts vanish.

Defiance? These young teens were not completely happy with this explanation. Why should I chant only this way? Why should I follow your rules? Is this the only way to attain peace? What you say is the only truth was a direct attacking question and rightfully so.  To that, we said – No. There are many other ways too. But once you pick a path, then surrender to it and give it a faithful try. It is all about methodology. You cannot go to a church, follow their rituals, or even a piano school for that matter. If a teacher says you must hold the fingers in a certain way, you should follow it. Methodology has evolved after a long line of people trying and figuring it out. Don’t question for questioning and for defiance, but for understanding’s sake. And by the way, you have come over here yourself (or through your parents). Since you are already here, try it with devotion. Otherwise, loss is yours, not that of Yoga’s. That put the arguments at rest. We put these explanations out in the report so that it enables you to handle questions and rebellion of the children by giving them rational explanation. Hope this helps.

Excellence through chanting – We were amazed to see how well children learned to sit and chant these shlokas without feeling bored or burdened. It seemed like they were enjoying the chantings. That was even more apparent on the fourth day when they repeated without glitches. With another week’s practice, they would be ready to chant without help or prompt.

Field Trip on June 21st – Over 37 people including children, youth, siblings, and parents from south bay, Fremont, Evergreen and Pleasanton areas participated in the field trip to Goshala.

Please find the Field trip report here. https://yogabharati.org/reports-blog/field-trip-to-goshala

Kids Spring Yoga Camp - 2019

Yoga Bharati Spring kids camp is a huge success this time again with the help of yoga teacher training students Sloka, Aditya, Ashwathy, and Suman, by their active involvement.  

Even though we had a small camp, activities went smoothly and kids learnt a lot and shared their learning experience with us. 

A Small report: 

Our camp started everyday at 9.30 am with 1.30 hours yoga session that included: 

  1. Breath cleansing practices 

  2. Suryanamaskars 

  3. Asanas

  4. Deepa Relaxation 

  5. Pranayama 

  6. Om Meditation techniques 

Next activity was Sloka chanting. We separated the groups based on their levels. 

Our young chanters like Swayam, Amruta and Eesha taught chanting on a 1-1 basis. 

Meaning of the mantras and their applicability and benefits were shared. Chanting brings in wonderful health benefits focus, concentration and improves memory. 

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Within minutes chanting brings about a meditative experience. 

Mantras learned and chanted: 

  1. Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu - importance of a Guru, a spiritual teacher and his/her significance in ones life is given in this mantra 

  2. Starting Mantra - Om Sahana Vavatu, Sahanau Bhnaktu - chant or vow between the teacher and student has been elaborated here. 

  3. Ending Mantra - Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaha - chant that focuses on the happiness, peace and prosperity for the entire Universe. 

  4. Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra - Mantra restores health and happiness and brings calmness and conquers fears of life. Resonance of the words in the mantra leads to inner peace. 

  5. Bhagawat Gita chanting - Some of our groups learnt Chapter 15th Bhagawat Gita. Chapter 15th is about the Secret of ones life success: One who knows the secret and understands life will attain eternal peace and happiness. 

For kids more than the meaning, the chanting is important. 

Our groups showcased their learning in front of the bigger group everyday. 

Next activity was the healthy organic snacks. Organic hummus, organic carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, oranges, apples, Pita chips, popcorn made of avocado oil, rice crackers, veggie sticks were served. 

Right after the snacks, we did our Yoga based art project: Shri Yantra. 

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The Sri Yantra diagram is formed by 9 triangles that surround and radiate from the central (bindu) point..These nine triangles are of various sizes and intersect with one another. In the middle is the power point called bindu,  This powerful symbol can help you solve  all your problems and clear all negativity in your life. Its a tool for meditation.

We completed it on Friday and kids got to take it home. 

Our last activity was Yogic games followed by circle meditation. 

Yoga games focused on strategy, team work and collective thinking.. 

Circle meditation where we brought the soft emotions through words such as kind, love, sharing, peace, chanting etc. 

Children thoroughly enjoyed and did not want to go home after the camp ! 

Hope children come to the Summer Yoga camp and next semester kids classes at Yoga Bharati and continue their yogic journey! 

Summer camp details https://yogabharati.org/kids-camp


Annual Report 2018

Yoga Bharati Bay Area Chapter is happy to share our efforts and achievements in helping the society establish peace and global harmony — one individual at a time. Yoga Bharati is a holistic, evidence based, open system of yoga where we borrow from the ancient Hindu classical yoga texts in bringing holistic yoga to the society. YB is a social movement that works on building the society one-individual-at-a-time in preventing social disharmony and unrest leading to abuse, divorce, crimes, and drug addictions. Yoga is a panacea in establishing social order. Yes we do not support an orphan child or rehabilitate an abused destitute. But we prevent the child from becoming orphan or abused; and a woman from getting battered or molested in the first place. We serve yoga to the society. We offer our humble gratitude to all our volunteers, paid and not paid in many ways.

We have contributed in the following fields:

  • Hospital - We conducted free yoga workshop for Kaiser Permanante medical staff including doctors at the Kaiser hospitals this year.

  • Drug Rehabilitation Center - We have been offering yoga service to Summit Center - a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for over 2 years.

  • Blind and Community Centers - We give free Yoga at Santa Clara Valley Blind Center and Santa Clara Public Health Dept

  • Seniors - We offer heavily discounted classes for the seniors and have been providing yoga to seniors free of cost at ICC for close to a decade.

  • Kids - Special affordable yoga classes for kids and youth, and in after school facilities.

  • Corporate Sectors: Regular Yoga classes and workshops at corporate sectors by our volunteers in the Bay Area

  • Yoga Therapy and and Stress Management- Stress management and yoga as therapy offered over ten locations in the Bay Area, California alone, where yoga is taught by our volunteer and staff teachers regularly

  • Stop Diabetes Movement - In collaboration with Sewa International and SVYASA, we have offered free workshops for diabetes management for over 3 years.

  • Teacher Training - Trained over 450 students in Yoga Teacher Training in the Bay Area alone. We offer 30% discount to the students with low-income as a means of helping them gain spiritual strength and also be able to take yoga as career.

  • Temples, Schools, and Colleges - Over 5500 class-hours of FREE or affordable yoga sessions to the community each year in temples, community halls, schools and colleges. The list is long.

  • Outreach -  We collaborate with Sevathon and other organizations in our outreach activities. We regularly conduct Yoga Yagna (Yogathon) twice a year, once during International Day of Yoga (June 21st) and once in January. We also visit health fairs and other conferences by placing a booth and spreading the word.

  • Yoga Excellence and Enrichment - We bring experts from various fields of yoga from different parts of the globe to enrich our community's yoga learning. This year alone, we hosted yoga masters such as Dr. Nagarathna, Dr. Amritram from SVYASA, Yogashree N.V.Raghuram of Yoga Bharati, Swami Bodhananda from Sambodh Society, and Bhikku Sanghasena from Mahabodhi Cener in Leh Ladhak

Who are we?

We are not just “Yet Another Yoga Studio”. We are an institution of yoga. We are affiliated with Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation (SVYASA), a yoga university in India that has a rich background of research based application of holistic yoga. We cater to the modern society's needs without diluting the knowledge as a means of commercialization.

Our Wealth: the Volunteers; Our Homes: The ashrams

We build the organization brick by brick, with our culture rooted in compassion and service. Our adult and youth teachers are our biggest strength and together, we are one big family. Our volunteer teachers spread yoga from their homes and garages for the community! Our volunteer homes are like ashrams willing to serve any yoga enthusiast. We also offer yoga in temples, community halls, and parks, thanks to the community that also helps us help.

We train, motivate, and build spiritual strength into our teachers and staff volunteers. Our training courses have been given special emphasis in preparing personalities with karma yoga (volunteering) spirit. In return, our volunteers get ample opportunity to learn under yoga gurus and experts, in study groups, and through online sessions, and sadhana workshops. This helps them in building their health, their personality and meeting their entire family’s health and spiritual needs without having to go elsewhere. We are a one-stop-shop for holistic health and harmony.

Filling the Void - No Competition

Offering yoga in a studio setting and gym setting is a commercially viable option and has been mastered by many businesses and organizations world over. But offering yoga for individual transformation and as a  therapy is the most difficult proposition. Yoga is a great healer if TLC (Tender Loving Care) is given patiently to the suffering.

We focus on developing a paradigm shift in the client’s mind — to develop a positive outlook, and to develop awareness that the ephemeral, transient world is far less important than what we make it out to be. To help the clients focus on the big picture of life and to develop a new purpose and meaning to life takes our total presence with them, including our time, patience, and one-on-one attention. Yoga is a healing system that is not recognized as such even by the people who need it, leave alone the insurance and government bodies. It takes a great deal of marketing and soft talking to convince our clients to pay. Our yoga teachers work with cost-effective while not compromising on effectiveness.

Word-of-mouth referrals - Our humility, patience, and professional handling of enquiries and yoga service has brought a huge influx of clients through word-of-mouth alone. People come with strong positive referrals and almost always confirm that their experience validates their friend's feedback.

Building relationship with our clients, associates, and volunteers. From a cup of coffee at Starbucks to visiting their homes, no stone was left unturned in building the network of support for Yoga Bharati’s success.

We Pay Yogi Dollars and More

Yoga Bharati compensates many of the volunteers for their time, though not affluently yet. We have increased our compensation by 30% compared to last year. Apart from monetary compensation and professional yoga enrichment, we listen to their personal problems, we offer help in their personal needs, we connect with them at deeper levels, and we also provide a good family caring atmosphere for their children while they are volunteering with us . All this makes Yoga Bharati a wonderful extended family and a net of support in life.

Our Revenue

Yoga Bharati has leaped forward in its spending and revenue with the lease of the center around 3.5 years ago. With relentless effort and professional management of every aspect of business, we were break even last year itself and we hope to do so this year too. Our revenue has gone up by 40% this year. Our staff have increased, the number of yoga offering have increased, and the salaries have also gone up as we are hoping to come at par with industry standards in our payments.  But in spite of it, due to our smart operations, we may break even this year too.

We wholeheartedly thank all our volunteers, clients, staff, and the leaders for taking part in this grand journey. Om ShantiH ShantiH ShantiH !


Yoga Yajna 2018 - A Report

Yoga Yajna Conclusion event Feb 3rd Saturday 2018 - A report

Yoga Bharati has been conducting Yoga Yajna (SNY) for more than 5 years now. In the recent years it has been offered twice a year, winter and summer as a 21 day Yoga challenge.

 

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Yoga Bharati has conducted population studies with yogic parameters to show the effectiveness of Yoga, mainly suryanamaskars and Om chanting. Starting of the year with a physical and mindfulness discipline for the body and mind brings in health and happiness in individuals and families.

Many such resources and facts are given on yoga bharati webpage at https://yogabharati.org/yogayajna/
 

This year yoga yajna had to offer much more than the inauguration and the closing events. Yoga Bharati also offered and supported daily practices for the participants by 3 weeks of free practices of protocol. Our Executive director Ashwini Surpur had put together a one hour yoga asana protocol around Suryanamaskars and pranayama and Om meditation. Many of our teacher volunteers conducted the morning 6.30 to 7.30 am classes including Shilpa Kurkut, Vandana Pathak, Bina Desai, Minakshi Rai, Anil Surpur, Ashwini Surpur, Shobha Charagondla and Savita Joshi.

Feb 3rd, Saturday was a day for yet another year of Yoga Yajna conclusion (formerly Suryanamaskar yajna) at Yoga Bharati. Yoga Bharati President Anil Surpur, Yoga Therapy Director Savita Joshi, Events coordinator Siddu Rati, Therapy Coordinator Reshma Amin and Education coordinator Rima Shah led the event.

There were many other volunteers Nikhita Malladi, Parul Africawala, Urmi Kandpal, Dhivya Ravi and Ratna Ullagaddi and many more volunteers helped execute the event.

We started with subtle body practices and loosening exercises. Three areas were dedicated to the practice; classic suryanamaskars, neck/back pain suryanamaskars and chair suryanamaskars. Main area led the classic suryanamaskars.

Group of close to 50 participants, men, women, kids and our seniors (ages 7 to 70 years approximately) started with individual Sankalpas (intention setting) to practice 108 Suryanamaskars.

Event started sharp at 7 am with Tontakashtakam (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=rcLOL90OFrA) music to complete 9 sets of 12 suryanamaskars each. Yoga Bharati follows 10 step classic form of Suryanamaskars. So total 1080 asanas aimed to complete in 90 min. We followed 1 min of rest while listening to beautiful quotes of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhiji and Martin Luther king during the 1 min rest in between.

We closed the event after 12 sets (108) suryanamaskars around 90 min after the start. Participants were asked to perform back relieving stretches in the supine pose like lumbar stretches, and pavana muktasana, rolling practices. Deep relaxation technique with chants helped us to connect ourselves with our deep silence and existence.

Our youngest participant 7 years old Meenakshi also completed all 108 rounds. Team energy was such that our seniors refused to take the chair but did their practice on the mat and most of them completed at least 50 rounds.

One of the yoga yajna participant Anil Surpur gave his feedback about the Sankalpa and his actual practice. He was feeling sick the day prior to the event and was almost about to skip the session. “Sankalpa (intention) setting helped me to wake up and reach ON time to the event and complete all 108!”

Few statistics of the 2018 Yajna (as of Feb 2nd evening)

Total registrants - 114+

Female participants - 81

Male participants - 33

Participation:

Age range - 8 years to 70 years

Children less than 18 years - 18

Children less than 10 - 10

Suryanamaskars reported - 6,228

Aum reported - 7,296

Female reported - 453 (Savita Joshi), 420 (Rajani Sinha), 286 (Vanaja Jagini)

Male - 644 (Santosh Kulkarni), 444 (Vikram Pandita), 300 (Paresh Africawala)

Instructions lead 24 FREE yoga sessions online and coaching sessions at 6.30 to 7.30 am including 3 Inaugural sessions and 1 closing session.

Group had healthy snacks and herbal teas after the practice. Everyone left from the place with a sense of accomplishment and carrying the strength and courage to accomplish anything their lives


 

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 400 yoga teachers just in the Bay Area alone.

  • 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 offering to Blind Center Santa Clara as a volunteer service.

  • 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.