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Yoga Bharati, a Bay Area non-profit, in collaboration with Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA—a yoga research foundation in India), is celebrating its 10th anniversary and Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birthday with an international conference on yoga.

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Fittingly named “Yoga Sangam,” or a confluence of people and topics related to yoga, the two-day event will see a number of experts from around the world congregate to present papers, pour over the latest research on health benefits, and provide a deeper insight into the philosophy of yoga.

The event is composed of three parallel symposium tracks focusing on three main areas, namely, Philosophy of yoga (includes texts like Patanjali yoga sutras and the Bhagavad Gita); Health (yoga practices, ayurveda, naturopathy); Research (developments in yoga therapy and applications, research methodologies for yoga, and yoga education).
Sessions will include panel discussions conducted by experts in each of those areas. Prominent researchers and yoga practitioners from around the world are expected to attend. Some of the speakers and attendees are N.V. Raghuram (Chairman, Yoga Bharati), H.R. Nagendra (Vice Chancellor, SVYASA), Dr. Nagarathna (Dean of Health Science, SVYASA), Shirley Telles (Director of Research at Patanjali Yogapeeth, Haridwar), Christoph Garner (Director of KWA-Klinik Stift Rottal, Germany), Prabodh Chaitanya  (Chinmaya Mission, San Jose), Philip Goldberg (author and spiritual coach), Shunya Pratichi Mathur (Founder, Vedika Global), to name a few. A gala event, on-going cultural celebrations, yoga demonstrations, and many other activities will accompany the symposium.

Of the two primary organizers, SVYASA, is a yoga university and research institute located near the picturesque Bannerghatta National Park in Karnataka. With a sprawling green campus spread over a 100 acres, it offers a one of a kind yoga therapy home with a 250-bed inpatient treatment facility called Arogyadhama. It has been envisioned as a place for prevention and treatment of diseases, and promotion of good health.

The other organizer is Yoga Bharati, established by N.V. Raghuram, an engineer turned yoga practitioner. Raghuram, who is also on the faculty of SVYASA, founded the organization with the objective that yoga be taught in its purest form. It is often observed that yoga studios ignore the underlying philosophy and a holistic approach to yoga when teaching students. However, true practitioners of yoga see it as a complete lifestyle, rather than just an exercise routine focused solely on physical fitness.

The Bay Area chapter was founded to teach yoga in a way wherein all paths of the discipline, namely Raja, Karma, Bhakti and Jnana yoga, are addressed. Yoga Bharati’s classes offer an integrated and natural (Sahaja) approach to yoga.

The Bay Area chapter organizes a teacher training program annually and has trained over 250 instructors. For those just aspiring to make a lifestyle change based on principles of yoga, Yoga Bharati conducts free classes at numerous locations around the bay area such as temples, apartment complexes, and community centers. Classes for kids, pregnant women, postnatal recovery, back pain, arthritis, diabetes or psychosomatic ailments are also offered. With “Yoga Sangam,” Yoga Bharati aims to establish itself as a catalyst in bringing together and building a community of like-minded organizations involved in promoting global health and peace.

As more people begin to see the value in this gift of wellness and well-being, it is clear that yoga is here to stay.

Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9. Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto.  (408) 681-9642. http://yogabharati.org/conference. conference2012@yogabharati.org.

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