Yoga Bharati International Conference 2012 - Grand Report
Yoga Sangam - A Confluence of Yogis
Cupertino, Sept 9, 2012
Yoga Bharati celebrated its 10th year anniversary and Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary by hosting Yoga Sangam – International Yoga Conference on Sept 8th and 9th in the Jewish Community Center (JCC), Palo Alto. More than 400 people attended the conference. The two-day conference presented the latest developments in the field of yoga, its applications in health, research in yoga therapy, and fundamentals of yoga philosophy.
The conference had three tracks – Health, Philosophy and Research. Noted experts in the respective tracks spoke on various topics such as Yoga for common ailments like diabetes and heart disease, Yoga for Women and Pranayama and the latest research in all these areas. There were hands on session on Meditation and Yoga for Stress. The philosophy track included Swami Vivekananda’s vision and its application, Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali Yoga Sutras and application of Yoga in Management. The tracks represented a true meeting of East and West.
The highlight of the conference was a Cultural program in the evening which featured a special yoga dance performed by Yoga Portuguese Confederation and a Grand Play on the Life of Swami Vivekananda by over 100 children and young adults. The drama was scripted, choreographed and executed by Yoga Bharati parent volunteers. Various dance schools of the Bay Area were represented and appropriate quotes of Swami Vivekananda as well as rare pictures pertaining to his life were displayed in each scene to educate the audience while entertaining them. The play ended in a grand finale. All actors and volunteers were on stage holding lights and waving the flags of all the nations represented in the conference including India, USA, Germany, Portugal, Turkey, England and Poland symbolizing Yoga’s power to unify the world as Swami Vivekananda has envisioned.
Another highlight of the conference was that the youth conducted the entire Conference proceedings. They were the MCs and time keepers who made sure they all ran correctly and on time. They prepared presentation slides on all the speakers during the introduction and felictation, slides on Yoga Bharati’s activities and the slides of all the sponsors and donors who supported the conference. Guided by Yoga Sangam Adult guides, they prepared and conducted two important Surveys: One on “Yoga for Social Transformation” – how yoga helps the society in fields such as health care, education and prepares responsible citizens; and a “Karma Yoga Survey” – how one would contribute to the cause of yoga.
More than 30 speakers from various parts of the world participated and shared their knowledge and experience. Notable among them are Shri.N.V.Raghuram, founder of Yoga Bharati, the team of experts from VYASA (Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation), Bangalore headed by Vice Chancellor Dr. H.R.Nagendra, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa of Harvard University, Dr. Shirley Telles, Director of Research at Patanjali Yog Peeth, Haridwar, Spiritual heads of Sivananada Ashram (Grass Valley, CA), Chinmaya Mission (SJ), Sambodh Society USA and Swami Amruta Suryananda Maharaj of Portugal. Other key organizations represented at the conference were International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), Taksha University, Niroga Institute, Vedika Global, Vedanta Society (Berkeley), Parliament of World Religions and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Several medical professionals, authors, therapists, teachers, etc also participated in the conference. The MCs for all the sessions were youth volunteers.
A quick survey of the attendees indicated that they were inspired by the presentations in the conference and motivated to not only bring the practice of Yoga into their daily lives but to also spread the universal message of Yoga far and wide.
Here are some of the testimonials from attendees:
- "It was a grand success. Your hard work paid off.” Matra Majumdar, board member of IAYT.
- “I want more such conferences to be held on a regular basis if possible. It's really well conducted & enjoyable”.
- “I teach yoga to children at Center for Spiritual Enlightenment in San Jose. The information and inspiration I gained will help inform my teaching. Thank you!”
- Shunya Pratichi Mathur of Vedika Global said she was blown away by the quality of the speakers at the conference.
- Nitish Nag, a recent Berkeley graduate remarked on FeceBook that “It was a wonderful conference”.
- B.V.Jagadeesh, a well known, respected Entrepreneur and Philanthropist of the Bay Area thought the conference was very well organized.
- Several attendees said that they didn’t know which sessions to attend since all the tracks were equally appealing. Some people couldn’t believe that it was the first time Yoga Bharati was hosting a conference.
Dear conference organizers.
First, I simply want to congratulate you for presenting such an outstanding event. Among many many impressive things, I was especially impressed at the large numbers and super spirit of the volunteers supporting the conference, and the fine performance of the many young people I saw in public roles.
Second, I want to thank you for the generosity and kindness you showed me and IAYT. I didn’t expect that at all. We simply wanted to be supportive of your conference. I am so glad I came. I learned a lot and met many folks and new collaborative efforts with SVYASA and others may come from this. I am also simply glad to learn about Yoga Bharati. Candidly, I did not know about your organization before. But now I feel much kinship. I am looking forward to staying connected! Warmly
John Kepner, Executive Director
International Association of Yoga Therapists
Best part about the Cultural Drama in Yoga Sangam is everyone was stress free and helping each other to their level best, keeping in tune with spirit of Yoga and it's ideals. Kids simply loved to part of the team and learnt at lot about Vivekananda and his teachings.
Parent of Vivekananda Drama, Yoga Sangam
Here's a quick feedback on what I really liked about the recent conference. • Well organized and well attended • Participation of experts in the industry and I really enjoyed the Research track which I mainly followed • I especially liked presentations (and contents) of Dr. Shirley Telles, Dr. Satbir Khalsa, Dr. Garner, Dr. Sarkar and Dr. Nagarathna?(BTW, I wanted some .pdfs from Dr. Shirley and she asked me to get her email from you so that I can contact her) • Excellent time management • Creativity in keeping trash bags to the minimum • Involving youth as MCs who managed speakers' time really well and brought in nice energy and enthusiasm • Nice delegation and both of you and many other volunteers looked actually relaxed
I really enjoyed Bidyut Bose's talk. It was inspiring and it was a really good presentation. Yoga Bharati seems to attract a lot of high quality good people.
- Mohini Junior, Leland High School, San Jose
It was a grand success. Your hard work paid off. Today I am on my way to Turkey. All IAYT board members were very joyous to be the part of larger family. - Matra Majumdar
Board Member, IAYT
Congratulations on a wonderful Conference, you put together an insightful and inspiring event filled up with the deep spirit of Yoga! Thanks also specially for having invited me to present my work on grief, I felt honored and grateful to have had this opportunity and look forward to future ways in which we can collaborate to bring the knowledge of Yoga to those who want it.
SatYoga, San Anselmo
It was a wonderful display of dedicated team work and a valuable lesson for others in karma yoga. I have no hesitation in saying that the seminar was a resounding success. Congratulations! I flew from New Hampshire on Friday for the program and returned to New York on Monday itself. For a change this time I was from the side lines watching you all happily doing the things you were supposed to do. That was my fulfillment.
- Swami Bodhananda
Sambodh Society, USA
This is to congratulate you for the success of the Yoga Sangam conference 2012. I am sorry I could not be there for the whole program, but I was able to witness and feel the eagerness in service, the Joy and Light expressed in all staff, devotees and teachers as well as invited teachers during the conference. It is truly an elevating experience which will enrich many now and in future generations.
I sincerely congratulate you for your leadership in the Yoga world, bridging East and West and highlighting the depth of the traditions of Yoga.
May Swami Vivekananda 's spirit and blessings be always guiding your efforts to uplift humanity,
In the Lord's Service,
Shivananda Ashram, Grass Valley
Thanks to the entire team of Yogabharathi from Bay area and other chapters. It was a pleasure for all of us to be with such a motivated team. Thanks for getting us all there to witness and be a part of a great and significant initiative in Yoga in the West. You demonstrated:
- Winning heart is as important as academic excellence
- The spirit of karma yoga can be best explored for all technical and academic pursuits of Not-for-Profit institutes
- The youth needs to be and can effectively be involved in all initiatives
A good work can be done with best of the planning and least of the stress....and of course many more....
- Dr. Naveen Vishweshwaraiah
Wonderful event, organized very well. I loved the food. Great effort in bringing out our treasures and sharing with others. We were very happy to share our booth with Lulla Ji who was Marketing Swami Vivekananda literature. My motivation in life comes from Swami Vivekaknda and when Rajeev Chamraj proposed the big vision of Vision 20/20 by 2020 12 years ago for SEF, I was quite hesitant to accept it but then I remembered Swami Ji's quote "Think big. Even if you are a thief, don't be a petty thief, be a big thief" and accepted the challenge immediately and motivated Sankara USA and Sankara India to accept that.
I always wanted to go and hug Swami Vivekananda. What a great soul!
I am very happy that you celebrated Swamiji's 150th Birth Anniversary in style and I wish you all the best in all your work.
Thanks for the opportunity to present SEF at this grand event for Swami Ji.
- Murali Krishnamurthy
Sankara Eye Foundation, California
Spent a wonderful weekend and missed it very badly when it was over. Thank you for keeping the weekend as green as possible. Wide variety of booths, made some new friends, met many old friends. Dr. Shirley Telles, and Dr. Nagarathna were stellar!!
Swami Vivekananda will be very proud of your efforts and success.
May YB celebrate his 200th b’day with even more enthusiasm and larger participation.
Yoga Bharati Donor and supporter
It was an honor, and an inspiration, to participate in your Yoga Bharati Conference. Your stellar team of volunteers did a wonderful job. I am delighted that we met and look forward to other opportunities to collaborate with you.
Many seeds of inspiration were planted at the conference that will flower and bear the fruit of peace and well-being for all.
- Ellen Grace O'Brian
Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, San Jose