“One of the main pillars in which Bhakti Fest was build is seva. Seva, meaning selfless service, is incorporated in every part of Bhakti Fest — from the non-profits we support, to the service work we do while on our India pilgrimages, to our Work Exchange program at each of our festivals.” 

– Vanessa Harris, Associate Producer of Bhakti Fest


Give Back Yoga Foundation is honored to be a seva partner of Bhakti Fest 2014, with a portion of all proceeds from this year’s three Bhakti Fest events supportingd our work of bringing yoga to underserved populations like veterans, those struggling with food and body image issues, prisoners and at-risk youth. Because we know that organizing a major yoga and music festival – let alone three !- can be an all-consuming task, we asked Bhakti Fest’s organizers to tell us why the festival is committed to sharing its time and resources.

“Bhakti Fest encourages the spirit of service because it is eye-opening, humbling, sometimes grueling – but at the end of the day, always rewarding,” says festival Associate Producer Vanessa Harris. “It’s been said if you love something you must take care of it, which is why it is so important for Bhakti Fest to give back to the people, places, and causes we love.”

To honor our community’s support of yoga service, Bhakti Fest is generously offering Give Back Yoga community members $50 off three-day festival passes for any of their three sister events. The next event is coming up soon:  Bhakti Fest Midwest, a heart-opening solstice celebration of yoga and music hosted in Madison, WI on June 20-22. We hope you’ll join us to chant along with award-winning kirtan artist Krishna Das, practice with world-renowned yoga teachers like Saul David Raye, and dance, sing, camp and play with fellow yogis and yoginis! Enter code GBY14 at checkout to save $50 off three-day festival passes.

Are you a veteran? Bhakti Fest shares our commitment to making yoga freely accessible to those who have served our country. Vets and active duty service members can get free admission to any Bhakti Fest event by visiting the festival website, printing out a free ticket, and showing proof of military ID at the gate. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Bhakti Fest Gives Back: Celebrate With A GBYF Discount For Shakti Fest

Big news: we’re thrilled to announce that Bhakti Fest has selected Give Back Yoga Foundation as a seva partner for 2014! For every five tickets sold, Bhakti Fest will donate a dollar to support our work of bringing yoga to underserved populations like veterans, at-risk youth, prisoners and more.

Bhakti Fest is also extending a special welcome to the Give Back Yoga service community with a coupon code for $50 off your ticket to Shakti Fest, Bhakti Fest Midwest or Bhakti Fest West. Enter coupon code GBY14 at checkout and save $50 on a 3-day festival pass or senior/student pass. *Offer good on full event and senior tickets only; cannot be combined with any other offer.

Our gratitude to Bhakti Fest for sharing the healing power of yoga, meditation and music with our community, and with the world! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store at Shakti Fest, just a few short weeks away:

Shakti Fest: A Celebration of the Divine Feminine

May 16-18
Joshua Tree Retreat Center
Joshua Tree, CA

Shakti Fest is a celebration of the divine feminine in us all – the ultimate Yogic destination retreat and gathering place for the collective consciousness, where we can discover the pure Bhakti residing in us all. Join internationally renowned yoga teachers, kirtan artists, and workshop leaders including Jai Uttal, Shiva Rea, Saul David Raye, Sara Ivanhoe, Tim Miller, Larissa Stowe, Wah! Donna De Lory, Mark Whitwell and many more. Chant your heart out to over 40 hours of kirtan, practice asanas in any of the 50 unique yoga classes, and deepen your awareness through 36 innovative workshops offered throughout the weekend. Hungry for more? The natural, organic marketplace will offer great goods to fulfill every person’s health needs and taste buds, with an abundant selection of delicious vegetarian and vegan foods.

Not to be missed: the new mystical Awareness Village, an oasis for man, women, and the meeting of the two. The Awareness Village will be filled with workshops, healing sessions, drum circles, tantra exploration, oracles and more. Don’t miss this chance to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul and explore deeper within one’s own—and the universal—Divine Shakti!


Szymon Jaroslawski: Sharing the Art of Self-Study With the Blind

In a new installment for our yoga service series on The Huffington Post Blog, Executive Director Rob Schware talks with yoga teacher Szymon Jarosławski about his seva work: sharing free yoga classes with blind students at a vocational training center in India.

“During a decade of volunteering I have had an opportunity to understand that it is not about ‘doing a service’. I like to feel that there is no giver and receiver, but rather a partnership.”

– Szymon Jarosławski, PhD, a certified yoga teacher and Thai massage therapist based in Bangalore, India

To read about the standout moments of working with visually impaired students in Bangalore, check out Szymon’s full interview on The Huffington Post Blog.


You can help Syzmon to cover the costs of his seva work by visiting his blog, Find Your Yoga, and making a $10 donation to sponsor a class. Learn more about this work in this video:

Yoga Rocks the Park Names GBYF As National Seva Partner For 2014

We’re honored to announce that Yoga Rocks the Park™ has named the Give Back Yoga Foundation as its National Seva Partner for 2014.

Yoga Rocks the Park™ brings outdoor yoga and music events to more than 20 cities nationwide, bringing together people of all ages in a celebration of community, joy and giving back. Through this 2014 National Seva partnership, YRP will donate 5% of its net profits from national ticket sales to GBYF. This funding will help our organization to bring yoga and meditation to thousands of people who might not not otherwise experience the benefits of these transformational practices – including veterans, at-risk youth, prisoners and those who are recovering from eating disorders.

YRP will donate another 5% of net profits to local causes in each city where it operates.

“Yoga as a path to peace should be available to all people,” says Erik Vienneau, CEO and Founder of Yoga Rocks the Park™ – an organization that serves more than 20,000 yogis each year. “Together we can touch so many beings. I’m thrilled about the incredible potential of our partnership.”

Rob Schware, Executive Director of GBYF, notes that the seva partnership with Yoga Rocks the Park™ and their parent company, Open Sky Event Marketing, is a catalyst that can fuel the growth of grassroots social change and community cooperation.

“(This) is a way to join forces in fueling the growth of community-minded yoga events throughout the country,” says Schware.

To learn more about Yoga Rocks the Park™ and find an event near you, visit

Download the press release: Yoga Rocks the Park Announces Partnership with Give Back Yoga Foundation


Hanuman Festival & Denver Chant Fest: Honoring Community By Giving Back

We’re grateful to have seva partnerships with Denver Chant Fest and Hanuman Festival, organizations that help to fuel our mission of sharing yoga with those who might not otherwise experience this transformational practice.

Learn how you can connect with the yoga community and celebrate your practice through these festivals, while helping us to bring yoga to the underserved:

Hanuman Festival: Making a Difference By Giving Back To The Community

Hanuman Festival – June 12-15, 2014
Boulder High School
1604 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80302
Learn more and get tickets – reserve mat space at early registration prices through March 1st.

Denver Chant Fest: Retreat To A Moment You Want To Be In

Denver Chant Fest 2014 – February 14-16
Sherman Street Event Center
1770 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80203
Learn more and get tickets 


Stay in the loop about upcoming events and other ways to help Give Back Yoga to those in need of true change: join our mailing list.


Rob Schware: The State of Yoga Service

As Executive Director of the Give Back Yoga Foundation and President of the Yoga Service Council, Rob Schware is proud to be part of a growing movement of yoga service providers who are helping to address societal problems such as school dropout rates, substance abuse, PTSD and high rates of re-imprisonment through therapeutic yoga outreach. Today, yoga service providers are reaching an estimated  200,000 individuals each year – including abused women, veterans, at-risk youth, cancer patients, prisoners and the homeless.

In “The State of Yoga Service,” Rob weighs in on:

  • the science behind yoga’s ability to change neurobiology
  • why the true experience of yoga inspires service
  • the progress of yoga service to date
  • how yoga outreach can benefit society
  • two important conversations that will take place in 2014
  • the impact of donations to Give Back Yoga
  • how to be inspired by stories of service, and how to contribute your own talents


If you believe in the power of yoga to plant the seeds of grassroots social change and healing, you won’t want to miss this special report on the state of yoga service in 2014.


Download “The State of Yoga Service.”


Join us in giving back from your mat! By donating the equivalent cost of one yoga class – just $15 per month – you can bring yoga to a veteran, prisoner, at-risk teen or another person in need. Your contribution could transform a life.

Give Back With Sedona Yoga Festival & Denver Chant Fest

Coming together for yoga, music and love…while helping to change the world. What could be better?

Community seva projects sponsored through yoga festivals are becoming a key way to fuel our work. Yogis who support these initiatives are bringing the healing power of yoga to those in need – like prisoners, at-risk teens, veterans and those with eating disorders.

Help us to Give Back Yoga at two vibrant festivals this winter, and enjoy a special discount for being a member of our service community. Here’s how:


Sedona Yoga Festival: February 6-10, 2014

Sedona Yoga FestivalHeld in a town renowned for its healing energy, this “consciousness evolution conference”both educates and inspires. Featuring over 250 workshops, 108 presenters and 16 musical artists, you’ll hear from authors, speakers and energy healers from around the world; experience meditation, dance and kirtan; and learn from master teachers who will help you bring your practice and service to a new level.

Community Seva: Help Sedona Yoga Festival raise $50,000 to fund Yoga for Veterans Toolkits by making a donation to SYF Gives Back, or by signing up to host a team or individual fundraiser on Crowdrise.

FESTIVAL TICKET OFFER: Save 20% on a SYF2014 All-Access Pass by entering code “GBYF20” at checkout.

Pre-Conference Teacher Training: Join GBYF at the Mindful Therapeutic Yoga Practices for Veterans two-day intensive training to learn clinically proven techniques for working with students who have experienced trauma. You’ll hear from expert teachers like Give Back Yoga co-founder Beryl Bender Birch, Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans founder Suzanne Manafort, Prison Yoga Project founder James Fox, Give Back Yoga board member Ann Richardson Stevens and more.

TEACHER TRAINING TICKET OFFER: Through December 31st, your service can go twice as far. Donate $500 to our crowd fund campaign to bring yoga toolkits to veterans, and we’ll say “thank you” with a SYF Gives Back 2014 Access Pass that includes complimentary access to the Sedona Yoga Festival. (Offer limited to five donors. Miss the deal? Click here to purchase a SYF Gives Back 2014 Access Pass.)


Denver Chant Fest: February 14-16, 2014

Denver Chant Fest 2014The second annual Denver Chant Fest gathers the nation’s top Bhakti (spiritual song) musicians and beloved yoga instructors for a weekend of soul-stirring music, top-notch yoga instruction and offerings from wellness vendors from across the country. The 2014 line-up includes Give Back Yoga’s own Shanti Medina, performing Universal Kirtan with Scott Medina; Jai Uttal; Donna Delory; Rusty Wells; Jason Crandell; Dave Stringer; MC Yogi; C.C. White; Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band; Govindas and Radha; Pete Guinosso; Deepak and the Breath of Life Tribe; Tricia Heimbach; Tina Porter; Patrick Harrington; Dawnelle Arthur; Mike and Robin Konard; Arjun Verma; and many more.

Community Seva: Denver Chant Fest is collecting donations for Give Back Yoga, the festival’s designated non-profit partner. To make a donation, visit Denver Chant Fest.

FESTIVAL TICKET OFFER: Save 10% on a three-day weekend pass by entering code “GBYF” at checkout. Offer available for the first 100 GBYF community members. Stay tuned for a special ticket giveaway for GBYF supporters by joining our mailing list.

Mark Stefanowski of Outlaw Yoga: Hear The Rumble Coming

Executive Director Rob Schware talks with Give Back Yoga supporter and Outlaw Yoga co-founder Mark Stefanowki for The Huffington Post Blog about his goal of bringing yoga to all people, “hardcore bikers and hard charging cyclists, gals and dudes, fighters and lovers, soldiers and tree huggers…everyone.”

“I was that guy who thought yoga was some kind of ‘hippy-dippy’ bullshit – that it was for bendy, thin, vegan women who wanted to chant and ‘Om’ all day long. I’m so grateful I found out that was wrong. As soon as I began the practice, I was hit by the power that lies in it. Yoga has an ability to change your entire life if you just open up to it….my mission became to share what I learned with people who had no idea what yoga can do.”

– Mark Stefanowski, co-founder of Outlaw Yoga, a Community Initiative partner with Give Back Yoga

Click here to read more of Mark’s thoughts on why it’s critical to be who you really are when teaching students, and why a seva commitment should be an integral part of the core business model for yoga professionals.

Outlaw Yoga donates a portion of the proceeds from any gear they sell or events they host to Give Back Yoga, in support of Yoga For Veterans and Prison Yoga programs. To support Outlaw Yoga, visit their website at