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  • Pamela Froman

Yoga Gives Back


Yoga is more than just a physical form of exercise. It's a spiritual process as well. The philosophy of yoga is that your body is a temple – this idea has passed through practitioners for thousands of years. The goal of yoga is to unite within the Divine Self. “Namaste,” when translated, means “the divinity in me salutes the divinity in you.”

10 years ago documentary filmmaker Kayoko Mitsumatsu founded Yoga Gives Back. She loved the physicality of yoga, and the art of the exercise allowed her to feel blessed both physically and mentally. However the poverty in India, where yoga originated from, deeply affected her. “While benefitting so much from regular yoga practice and teachings, it hit me hard that 75 percent of India's population still lives on under two dollars a day,” she says. “It became very clear that if everyone worldwide who appreciates yoga contributed even the cost of one yoga class to help those less fortunate, we could effect real change.”

Yoga is a vast tradition, both physical and spiritual, both disciplined and deep. 300 million people practice today and everyday more and more people are drawn to it. Meditation – simply taking a deep breath every day – will awaken your body and mind. Yoga unites, both to your real self and to other people.

“For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life.” This statement is Yoga Gives Back's mantra, and they fund more than 1,000 mothers and children in Karnataka and West Bengal, India with micro-loans and educational scholarships.

From September 2017 through January 2018, more than 150 Yoga Gives Back events will take place in over 18 countries heightening awareness of the realities faced by the poor in India. Yoga studios and communities will host classes and fundraisers whose proceeds will benefit Yoga Gives Back’s programs. This year’s goal is to raise over $150,000.

Yoga Gives Back’s 10th Anniversary “Thank You Mother India” Fundraiser will take place on Sept. 24, 2017 in the newly renovated YogaGlo Studio in Santa Monica. This fundraiser is a gathering place where over 200 members of the Southern California yoga community come together to express gratitude to “Mother India” and help her people.

This year Yoga Gives Back will be presenting the Namaste Award to eight-time Grammy Award Winner Alanis Morissette. Alanis practices meditation and yoga, and is an avid outspoken supporter and advocate for multiple charities. “I’m thrilled to present the 2017 Namaste Award to Alanis Morissette, whose passion for human spirituality, health, and well-being led to the creation of a popular Podcast on the subjects that help to showcase the spirituality of every human condition, from every walk of life,” says Kayoko. “Alanis is very involved in wellness and was deeply touched by the people of India.”

Yoga Gives Back created the Namaste award to share their mission – and to be socially conscious and offer a spiritual connection to India. The Namaste Award recognizes special people who have gone beyond the practice and teaching of yoga to incorporate noble humanitarian service, which helps make the world a better place.

At the fundraiser, the evening will begin with a welcome reception. Following there will be a seated dinner featuring the Namaste Award ceremony, a short YGB FILMS presentation, silent and live auctions, raffle, and live entertainment. Each event attendee will receive a generous gift bag from the event sponsors. Early Bird Tickets (regular price $275 each) are available at https://yoga-gives-back.networkforgood.com/events/2942-thank-you-mother-india-fundraiser

For more information on Yoga Gives Back and their fundraising programs, please log onto www.yogagivesback.org

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