Yoga still retains some of its mystique despite its increasing popularity. Many people are aware of its physical and mental benefits, but only a few yoga adherents truly believe that yoga can help bring different worlds together.
Angela R. Pashayan, founder of the Bhakti Studio, is one such believer. Angela practices Bhakti Yoga also called the Yoga of Devotion which she defines as “a practice that inspires and empowers the spirit to live fully with gratitude”. It is pure and unselfish, and these are qualities that Ms. Pashayan wishes to impart with her students and the rest of the world.
Bhakti is a Sanskrit term that relates to devotion to yourself, your practice, and a personal God based on human relationships such as those between lovers, friends, and family members. The bhakti movement renounces artificial boundaries of religion and unnecessary rituals.
The Bhakti Studio was founded in the Mission Disctrict of San Francisco as a means of teaching people about this tool for navigating life and for training more ambassadors for the Yoga of Devotion. Aside from learning how to perform Bhakti Asanas (yoga postures) and apply its principles to every
day life, interested participants may also study to become teachers themselves and spread the yoga of devotion to others.
Yoga of Devotion Ambassadors are also invited to go to Seva trips which are tied-in with Angela’s non-profit organization, the TWF Children’s Relief Fund. The idea of working with children through the relief fund was inspired by her mother, the late Billie M. Holmes, an educator who owned the Children’s University daycare in Compton, CA.
Based on the idea of selfless service, a seva trip allows one to give back to the community. Trips to locations like Tibet, Nepal, Peru and Africa, etc. are set throughout the year where participants can have a retreat and help out at orphanages and schools. They can also teach yoga or help locals learn about cooking and health. For an upcoming trip to Nepal, Ms. Pashayan has also arranged for visitors to see a new children’s hospital that is being built. Proceeds from the trip are donated to the TWF Children’s Relief Fund which will help build the facility.
Angela also uses yoga to bring greater social and cultural awareness to people through Kids/Teens Crossing Cultures. The program lets its young ambassadors learn all about Yoga of Devotion, literature and other cultures. Experiential trips, pen pal programs, and skype phone calls are used toster relationships among the children who come from different cultures.
Currently, the Bhakti Studio has a contract with the City of San Francisco Health Department to teach Yoga of Devotion to city employees during their lunch hour. Additionally, Angela is also offering restorative or healing classes to those with chronic illnesses such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and immune system deficiency. In light of the growing number of classes and students, the Bhakti Studio is currently looking for a larger space within the center of the city.
With all these activities, it is clear Angela is fully-dedicated to fulfilling the mission of her non-profit work to teach people to live in gratitude and “to provide basic humanitarian needs to children worldwide and give them the tools for empowerment through Yoga of Devotion.”
Angela makes sure she has marketing materials to promote her studio. To date, she’s had UPrinting produce greeting cards, postcards, brochures, business cards, and banners which have all met her satisfaction.
When asked about her experience with UPrinting, she replied “I am proud to have the UPrinting name & logo on my products…they support me and I support them. It’s a partnership in satisfying the needs of business. I’m hooked and for a good reason – they are a good company, honest, and hard working like me.”