Yoga Bharati and Niroga Foundation – A Report
Yoga Bharati volunteers are working with Niroga to address problems associated with vulnerable youth. “Niroga” is an organization in SF bay area. whose goal is to bring Transformative Life Skills to students, vulnerable youth, cancer survivors, seniors and people battling addiction. They also educate and deploy yoga teachers from different schools in transforming the lives of vulnerable children, youth and students. The work of Niroga directly uplifts thousands of people every week in schools, juvenile halls, homeless shelters, cancer hospitals and rehab centers.
In this regard, Yoga Bharati arranged a talk by the founder and the executive director of Niroga institute, Dr. Bidyut Bose. This was attended by Yoga Bharati Teachers.
The talk by Bidyut Bose was awakening and stimulating. As his very name suggests, Bidyut is an electrifying personality with excellent oratory skills, deep knowledge of eastern values and western scientific bent of mind . His simplicity and down-to-earth nature was as inspiring as his passion to help the society.
A small video of a Niroga class was shown where we heard voices of young people as to how yoga was helping them. His talk reflected his years of experience as a leader in yoga therapy for the under-served population. He explained the problems associated with neglected and abused children and the cost added to the society and economy by a youth who turns to crime. Bidyut said that yoga offers a wonderful solution to this grave problem that is haunting America today due to drug abuse and violence that the youngsters are facing. The western society has only used yoga for fashionable exercises as per Bidyut. He said “As long as you get yoga abs and yoga butt everyone is happy”.
Bidyut gave a call to the yogi in each one of us to look within and see if we have what it takes to help in this task. Quoting him “A few classes will not cut it”. Only a sustained and continuous effort would bring any difference in the lives of the underserved. It meant that this was not a casual commitment but a dedicated commitment in terms of time and regularity and also in terms of anchoring ourselves in our own practices if we were to step forward to serve as an anchor in the life of people who have had none. Any undertaking would have to have built within it the infrastructure of 100% reliability. Niroga does it with this reliability.
Besides inspiring us that the selfless work was nothing but a step forward towards our own growth, he also brought forward the pragmatic aspects of teaching yoga to the under-served community and outlined the challenges that a teacher would face. One of the participants asked “it would be risky and scary to handle such youth who have committed murders and are very violent even in juvenile halls and jails”. Bidyut’s answer was to see the divinity in them. They have the same divinity that we all have and hence, he humbly asked us to love them with our whole heart. It was very inspiring to listen to the example he gave from his experience of handling such a violent youth. They brought a change in outlook of a violent jailed criminal youth in a matter of 3 days by helping her experience unconditional love and simple one on one yoga sessions.
The ways in which Yoga Bharati volunteers can help is by serving as teachers and also as ambassadors of Niroga to find contacts within DFCS (Dept of Family and Child Services), juvenile halls or low income school in the Santa Clara county. Bidyut outlined that the funds that Niroga needs will also have to come from the pockets of the common man and we can spread the word around to this cause too. Read More on Niroga.