A DAY OF INSPIRATION, MINDFULNESS & YOGA
Our Annual Global Gala is like no other, an exciting opportunity for all Yoga Gives Back (YGB) global supporters to come together to give back with a full day of inspiring programs led by YGB’s Global Ambassadors and Supporters. This Gala is the flagship event of our global campaign #OneMillionYogis engaging yoga communities from around the world.
Byron Bay, Australia
Dena is a devoted practitioner of Ashtanga yoga and a senior student of the late Sri K Patabhi Jois. With 30 years of unwavering practice she holds the highest recognized qualification in this method. Dena and her husband Jack live in the hills of Goonengerry with their 2 children Zoli and Izac.
They teach both internationally and from their simple shala in Byron Bay.
Life is full and sweet.
“We should give back. We are so blessed to be able to practice yoga. Then what? We should take this positive energy and find a way to use it in some way. There are a lot of ways to do that. Yoga Gives Back is a very targeted, exact method. When you support this organization, you know exactly what’s happening. You can see them on the website, photos, etc. Get involved, even a small amount of money goes a long way. It’s a wonderful organization. Just give back in a way you can.”
C.C. White Soul Kirtan
Los Angeles, CA
MA, 500-ERYT, YACEP, Founder of Tantra Flow Yoga™, was introduced to yoga as a dancer and actress. Facing ongoing pain from scoliosis, yoga allows her tools for physical realignment and acceptance of difficulties. In her quest for a deep and meaningful connection to all that yoga has to offer, she has studied extensively. Jeanne brings together more than 36 years of yoga study with over 25 years of teaching into a style of yoga inclusive of asana, Ayurveda, Pranayama, meditation, and the added focus of cultivating energy. She has held the certificate of ParaYoga Level II for 8 years, and also studied extensively in Ashtanga, Iyengar, Anusara, ParaYoga, Vini and Tantra Yoga with many masters in each tradition. Jeanne teaches with sensitivity, generosity of spirit and a lot of humor. She specializes in discovering the needs of an individual and gently guiding students to their own grace and balance. Based in Los Angeles, Jeanne is often traveling the globe with her teacher trainings, workshops and master classes.
I have known Kayoko for years and have been so impressed with her drive to build an organization that is directed to people in India. As a former fundraiser I knew I wanted to be part of her vision. As a devoted student who travels to India for deep study often, I see the needs of its people and know that even the smallest effort makes a difference. When we give of our funds, our time or our talents, we create a circle of abundant energy that can only continue flowing. I am honored to be part of the abundance that yoga provides for all people.
“I support YGB because they are placing money into the hands of responsible women who are able to turn their lives around and support their families and create employment in their communities. I am a huge fan of mico-loans and have seen how a little can go a long way to creating a sustainable business. It is empowering for women to take charge of their lives, to earn a good living and provide education for their children, in particular their daughters who otherwise are married off at a very young age.”
Deva Premal and Miten
“I support the mission of Yoga Gives Back wholeheartedly. The practice of yoga has carried me through so many times in my life, so it makes complete sense to give back to the women and children of the motherland of a practice that has quite literally been a life saver to me and so many of my students. Service and philanthropy is a core value of mine and my family, and I am thrilled to become a part of YBG.”
Pranidhi Varshney is a devoted ashtanga yoga practitioner and teacher, and the founder of Yoga Shala West, a community-supported ashtanga yoga studio in West Los Angeles. She teaches to share the deep love she has for ashtanga yoga and for all students who follow this path. She aims to cultivate, for herself and for her students, a sense of balance on and off the mat- simultaneous strength and surrender. Her goal is to inspire her students to build a regular practice, for committing to practice is the surest way she’s found to live an authentic, compassionate life.
She also has a deep passion for the arts, and has released an album of Sanskrit chanting. Pranidhi is active in the global yoga community, working as a Yoga Gives Back ambassador and sitting on the advisory board of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. Through all her work, she aims to inspire, provoke, build community, and ultimately touch the heart.
“Yoga has given me a profound connection to my roots and a method for living well. This gift carries with it a responsibility to be of service to the world. YGB has given the yoga community a way to do that, and to share the fruits of our work. The organization is opening the eyes of yoga practitioners around the world and inspiring us to contribute energy and resources to help those in need. India is the birthplace of many of our practices, and by helping to uplift its people, we honor yoga’s roots. I look forward to supporting YGB and expanding the reach of our community. “
San Diego, California
Kyona is a Board Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Certified Yoga Therapist, Auriculotherapy Practitioner, Vibrational Sound Therapist, and Pelvic Steam Facilitator. With a holistic practice that spans over two decades specializing in conscious self-care and longevity practices, Kyona empowers individuals to take an active role in their health by elevating awareness of their unique constitution and restoring balance through dietary guidance and lifestyle management designed to meet and often exceed personal wellness goals.
Kyona is located in San Diego, CA and is a professional member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, National Ayurvedic Medical Association, California Massage Therapy Council, and American Cannabis Nurses Association.
I have truly benefited from the wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga in my personal and professional lives, and supporting Yoga Gives Back is my way of expressing gratitude and honoring the rich culture in which these self-care disciplines emerged.
Long Beach, California
When she was just 4 years old, Gopi Ona-Ali was blessed with the holy water of the Ganges; since then she has walked closely with Krishna, and held a special place for the children she played with in the land of her second birth.
Today, Gopi Ona-Ali is a yogini, artist, writer, lecturer and teacher based in Long Beach, California, where she is one of four women who run an intentional community. She learned the Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita from her Guru, Sri Donato; it has become a focus of her ongoing study and teaching. Gopi Ona-Ali is a student of Srivatsa Ramaswami of the Krishnamacharya lineage; she teaches traditional Vinyasa Krama asana style with pranayama and chanting.
“I am honored to work with Yoga Gives Back to help express gratitude for how Yoga has shaped her life; and specifically to provide direct opportunities for women and children in her cherished India. I am inspired by the commitment of Kayoko Mitsumatsu to provide the opportunity for Yoga teachers around the world to express their gratitude for all that Yoga has given us.”
Vikram Jeet Singh
Vikram has been actively teaching at various Modo locations in North America since 2008. Over the course of the years he has accumulated over 11,000 hours of teaching experience and has continued his Ashtanga studies with Sharath Jois in Mysore, India. His passion for all things yoga led to pursue studies in Ayurveda as well and is an Ayurvedic practitioner. A strong advocate of the Ayurvedic lifestyle Vikram shares his knowledge and passion in various workshops and yoga teacher training. Vikram is part of the YTT faculty with Modo Yoga where he teaches yoga history and philosophy.
Having grown up in India Vikram is no stranger to the impoverished conditions the majority of the country live in. He strongly believes that the future lies in education and employment for women in rural and developing India.
I am passionate about being a yoga teacher because of the difference I am able to facilitate in someone’s life by sharing the wisdom of the yogic teachings and lifestyle. I am very proud of my ethnicity and the role that India has played in the history and development of Yoga. YGB is the bridge that helps me use my passion and express my gratitude. Yoga is so much more than asana and this opportunity to provide selfless service is a great way to live your yoga off the mat.
www.karenavirginia.com New Jersey, USA
Karena is an internationally celebrated yoga instructor, author, spiritual mentor and speaker known for her open heart, gentle spirit and accessible teaching style. You can see your writings online with Yoga Journal, Sounds True, Mind Body Green and Huffington post along with her own personal blog. Karena is featured in many online courses, podcasts and wellness TV shows. She is the co-author of “Essential Kundalini Yoga” which has been a bestseller on amazon. Karena dedicates her free time to helping children all over the world with her family’s nonprofit organization and various fundraisers. She lives in the suburbs of New York City with her husband, daughter and son as well as their princess puppy, Gracie.
Karena has had a passion for helping children since she was a child herself. She is an advocate for equality and an activist for justice for mothers and children around the world. Karena is so grateful to be a part of Yoga gives back because she feels the world needs our support and service now more than ever, and she knows that when the world comes together with love or above, heaven will come to earth. We are the change. God is the doer and is calling on us to share our gifts with all.
Los Angeles, CA
Ashley Rideaux is a Los Angeles–based, 500 E-RYT YogaWorks Certified Teacher Trainer, lover of life, and professional giggler who rocks big hair, a big smile, and an even bigger heart. In addition to the strong following she has built in LA, she also leads trainings, workshops, and retreats all over the world. Ashley’s classes are challenging and playful, ranging from therapeutic work to advanced vinyasa flow. She has experience working with seniors with neurological disorders, clients with eating disorders, and was also the featured yoga instructor for NBA player, Jordan Farmar’s, Hoop Farm basketball camp for 4 years, where she worked with kids from ages 7-16. All of her classes are a balance of the physical and the philosophical, inviting the body and mind to unfold through her detail to alignment, breath, and meditation.
“The very first thing I saw on the Yoga Gives Back website was the message, “India gave us the gift of yoga. We invite you to join one million yogis giving back,” and my immediate thought was, “Yes, invitation accepted!” The practice of yoga has enriched my life in so many ways, and I’ve seen it do the same for so many others, that supporting an organization that is giving back to the birthplace of yoga, feels like one small way that I can show my gratitude for all that the practice has gifted me with. And, any work that empowers women and children to create sustainable lives is a great honor, and joy, to be a part of.”
“As an individual who lives with a certain amount of abundance I believe it is my responsibility to give back to the community. I choose to give my time and energy to Yoga Gives Back because by supporting micro credit programs the organization grants women and children in India the opportunity to not only have a good life, but also to contribute to their local community.”
Mina is the founder of the Yoga One Studio in the Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. and For past 10 years, Mina has dedicated herself to learning and practicing yoga. Her practice has brought greater depth, clarity and joy to her everyday experiences. She loves sharing this with her yoga community through her teaching. Her teaching is disciplined in alignment due to her study and deep knowledge of anatomy. She strives to make her classes nurturing to the soul and to leave her students feeling reconnected to themselves.
“I feel truly humbled to be part of Yoga Gives Back. YGB’s work inspires me to help and serve others. Having first participated in YGB’s activities while living in Asia, I’m now committed to bringing YGB’s message and programs to my new home in the U.A.E. I’m particularly interested in creating sustainable programs that empower woman and give underprivileged children a chance for quality education. Through gift of yoga we can make a difference.”
“I support YGB because I think love is the goal of life. Being a yoga teacher gives me the opportunity to do what I love and give back at the same time.”
“There are a lot of requests out there, for our support. I have, and do, support organizations that help animals, the environment, human rights. We can get overwhelmed, and want to zip our pockets. I decided to help YGB, because it started with one person wanting to help a few people. It has grown organically by many people donating. You can readily see how your donations are helping people. I feel confident my money and the money of my friends, will go to the people who need it, and will not be mishandled. “
Surrounded by melodic kirtans, devotional mantras, and the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita since his early childhood in Canada, Maneesh found his passion for yoga rekindled as an adult. Escaping the frenzied rat race of the corporate world in Japan, Maneesh made his way back to India to deepen his studies. Over the following years, his understanding of yoga expanded through his studies and friendship with renowned teachers Chuck Miller, Maty Ezraty, and Chad Hamrin. Maneesh has been teaching yoga, offering retreats, and hosting yoga-related events in Japan for over a decade including over five years of hosting a variety of YGB fundraisers. Through his work, Maneesh endeavors to bring back the true message of yoga and make these teachings more accessible and understandable to the modern practitioner.
“I was introduced to Yoga Gives Back when an old yoga friend sent me the Sister Aid: Part 3-NISHTHA video. For those who may not have yet seen it, well, you must see it. It takes place in West Bengal, the region where my mother was raised and a place I spent a number of summer and winter vacations as a child. So I felt an instant connection to the video, the young mothers trying to make a better life for their children and the message that there IS something we can do. In a short 7 minutes, this powerful video reveals how easily we can help our fellow human beings who suffer far away, out of sight. Distance becomes no barrier. Yoga Gives Back has made it easy. And the message is clear: let’s take a bit of time out of our lives, to give thanks and to share with the country that has brought us immense joy through this body of knowledge and practice called yoga. I am honored to have this opportunity to help, to spread the word, to raise some donations, and to combine my love for yoga with my passion for contributing to the welfare of the Motherland. As my teachers often remind us, it is all too easy to forget how blessed we are just to have the means, the time, and the ability to practice Yoga. I would like to thank Yoga Gives Back for providing me this platform to add my drop or two to the ocean of charity, and to give back.”
Julie Choi Trepkau
Julie Choi Trepkau is a teacher and mother living in Encinitas, California. Julie started teaching yoga over 18 years ago, unexpectedly stepping upon this path after completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in Art History, Anthropology, and Development Studies, and then working in the art and corporate marketing communications fields in New York, London and Hong Kong. Julie has been a student of yoga since 1995, and began the daily practice of Ashtanga yoga in 2000. She became a mother for the first time in 2008, a yoga teacher in 2003, and a teacher of elementary age children in 2013. She made her first visit to India to study Ashtanga yoga in 2006, and continues to return to study yoga in the place where it was born. Julie is grateful to her teachers and fellow students and seekers she’s been enriched by on this path.
“Yoga Gives Back is a truly inspiring organization, both visionary and effective in delivering its mission and making a real difference in the day-to-day lives of women and children. It is an honor to represent YGB as an Ambassador, and it feels like a full circle moment: over two decades ago, as a student of Development Studies researching the dire challenges of women surviving poverty, I learned about the ways in which women could overcome poverty and thrive by by utilizing their knowledge, skills and talents to create their own businesses. As such, micro-financing is a powerful way to offer life-changing entrepreneurial opportunities to women. After sharing yoga for many years as a way to heal and thrive, collaborating with YGB feels deeply aligned with a cause that I have long been passionate about. India has given the world the gift of yoga, which has been transformative for so many people’s lives, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to give back by contributing to the empowerment of women, which in turn, empowers whole communities.”
Joseph Pepe Danza
SURESH K. KRISHNA
Mr. Suresh K. Krishna is the co-founder & CEO of Yunus Social Business Fund Bengaluru and co-founder & partner of Yunus Social Business India Initiatives.
He has studied MA in sociology and Management at IIMB, Bengaluru. Mr. Suresh is a regular speaker & presenter at various national & international forums.
“Yoga is an integral part of all of our lives. It is not about physical wellbeing but the emotional and spiritual wellness too. Yoga Gives Back has been thriving since long with a mission to mobilize the global yoga community to empower women and children in India to build sustainable livelihoods. As a social entrepreneur and managing Trustee of a Charitable Trust myself, I strongly feel that our missions are alike and that we together can achieve many things to bring a positive impact in the community, more importantly during this pandemic. I support YGB and respectfully stand with its mission and vision. “
Justin Timothy Temple
New York, USA
Lara Land is a yoga teacher and spiritual coach with 20 years experience guiding seekers to set and achieve their highest goals and potential and weave those personal missions into world betterment. She has worked all over the world teaching yoga and mindful living and developing programs to heal and empower. In 2008-2009 Lara spent three months in Rwanda bringing yoga as healing to survivors, and from there went to India where she worked with HIV positive children bringing yoga and meditation to their treatment room. In June 2011 Lara opened Land Yoga, a ground floor Yoga, Arts, & Wellness Center in the heart of Harlem. In 2014 she founded non-profit, Three and a Half Acres Yoga to inspire community healing and activism through yoga. Lara is the founder of SOULFest Revolution a wellness festival which highlights diversity in fitness. She leads retreats worldwide, is a public speaker, spiritual coach, and writer with contributions to the Health Magazine, Apartment Therapy and the Huffington Post. Lara is the author of My Bliss Book life-purpose planner and is currently working on her first book with Shabhala publications on trauma informed yoga. Lara has been recognized by and featured in The Wall Street Journal, the Daily News, Fox5, NY1, Yoga Journal, Health Magazine, Sirius Xm Radio and New York Magazine.
I support YGB because when women are supported, the whole community rises.
A Snap Shot of the Day
- “Namaste Award Presentation with Q&A” with Dr. Muhammad Yunus live from Bangladesh, 7 p.m. PST
- Yoga sessions by top teachers including Elena Brower, Kia Miller & Kino MacGregor
- Chanting and music from “A Global Gathering for India” (Replay) including Krishna Das, Deva Primal & Miten
- “Ambassadors of the Year” presentation
- LIVE Conferences:
- “How to practice YOGA beyond the mat” : Anouk Prop, David Swenson, Harmony Slater, Nadine McNeil, Vikram Jeet Singh
- “Power of Sound”: Belinda Carlisle, C.C.White, Nina Rao
- “Ayurveda Self-Care in Covid time”: Anjali, Aparna Khanolkar, Kyona, Mariko Hirakawa, Vivica Schwartz
- “Bhagavad Gita for Women”: Gopi Ona-Ali, Devorah Sacks,
Jaquelin Sonderling, Jeanne Heileman, Sarah Mata, Pranidhi Varshney
The YGB Namaste Award
is a tribute to visionaries who inspire the global yoga community and beyond with their vision. In addition, these individuals have committed themselves to humanitarian causes to make this world a better place.
LIVE Saturday, Nov. 13th @7:00 p.m. PST/ 10p.m. EST / 9 a.m. (14th) Bangladesh
We are truly proud to honor
Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus
as the recipient of the 2021 YGB Namaste Award, especially as Dr. Yunus inspired YGB’s birth fourteen years ago with his revolutionary microcredit.
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus is the father of both social business and microcredit, the founder of Grameen Bank, and of more than 50 other companies in Bangladesh. For his constant innovation and enterprise, Fortune Magazine named Professor Yunus in March 2012 as “one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time.”
In 2006, Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Today, Grameen Bank lends out over $2.5 billion a year to 9 million poor women on the basis of trust only, no collateral with a repayment of over 98%. The impact of microcredit in enabling millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty helped to expose the shortcomings of a traditional banking system that denied its services to those who needed them most—the world’s poorest people. Dr. Yunus has expanded his micro credit to a much broader concept as Social Business, a selfless business whose purpose is to bring and end to a social problem.
He is the recipient of 61 honorary degrees from universities across 24 countries. He has received 136 awards from 33 countries including state honors from 10 countries. He is one of only seven individuals to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the United States Congressional Gold Medal. Learn more about Dr. Yunus and the Yunus Center here.
Introduction by Suresh Krishna, CEO , Yunus Social Business Fund Bangaluru
Previous Namaste Award Recipients
Melissa Berton & The Pad Project
Jack Kornfield & Trudy Goodman
Previous Namaste Award Recipients
Previous Namaste Award Recipients
Ambassadors of the Year 2021
Daphne Tse and Jocelyn Solomon
Daphne Tse joined Yoga Gives Back as Ambassador in 2014 soon after we met at the Asia Yoga Conference in Hong Kong. Daphne has been a dedicated Ambassador, sharing YGB’s mission and fundraising on our behalf, while touring in Japan and many other international events. During the COVID-19 crisis in India in 2021, Daphne demonstrated incredible leadership by engaging more than 80 artists and teachers from over twenty countries to come together for a three-day, live streaming event – “A Global Gathering for India.” It was truly an epic event, raising nearly $50,000 to support our fund recipients in India with emergency relief and programs of empowerment.
Jocelyn Solomon joined Yoga Gives Back in 2019 and has been passionately advocating for YGB through her successful fundraising classes, subsequently joining the YGB Board of Directors in 2020. Jocelyn was instrumental in securing YogaWorks’ commitment to their long-term collaboration with YGB to reach out to their large national community with our mission. We are truly grateful, as well, for her creation of the YGB Ambassadors Forum with Ambassador Maneesh Kalra, to connect and grow this very powerful community of yoga teachers from around the world.
Your Donations Impact
The world has witnessed India’s struggle with the devastating impact of the second surge of COVID-19 this year with an increase concern for the third wave this fall. Your donations support more than 2400 women and children with YGB’s programs of empowerment in India.
Please check details on “OUR IMPACT.”
*Thanks to these Sponsors!
Platinum Sponsor ($10,000)
Gold Sponsor ($5,000)
Silver Sponsor ($2,500)
Bronze Sponsor ($1,000)
Carla & Darius Gagne
In Kind Sponsors
Question? Comment? Want to hold a fundraising event?