Keynote Speakers
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SYTAR 2018 welcomes:
Our esteemed keynote speakers


No Roots, No Fruits:
Where We Came From - Where We Are Now - How We Got Here - Where We Are Going

Gary Kraftsow

Gary Kraftsow, MA, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing and personal transformation in the U.S. for more than 30 years. He is the founder of the American Viniyoga Institute and author of Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation.  Gary's journey began over 40 years ago at Colgate University where he majored in religious studies. He traveled to Madras at 19 where he studied the mystical teaching and practices of Saiva Siddhanta privately with a well-known mystic and scholar of south India, V.A Devasenapathi. During this same time, he studied the very practical science of yoga as taught with T.K.V. Desikachar, son of T Krishnamacharya. Back in the United States, Gary studied with respected scholars, including Kenneth Morgan, a leading authority on the study of world religions, M. Holmes Hartshorne, one of the foremost scholars on Soren Kierkegaard, often described as the "Father of Christian Existentialism", Dr. Raimundo Panikkar, a scholar of world religions and a world leader in interfaith dialogue and the great Tibetan Buddhist master, Kalu Rinpoche. [Presenting Friday Afternoon Session - TF06]


Embedding Yoga into the Rehabilitation Team

Arlene Schmid

Arlene Schmid, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, RYT-200 has been an occupational therapist for over 20 years and began using yoga in her clinical practice with clients with various disabilities. She completed her doctoral work at the University of Florida in Rehabilitation Sciences with the intention of studying the benefits of yoga for people with disabilities. Dr. Schmid is now an associate professor at Colorado State University in the Department of Occupational Therapy. She has run multiple research studies assessing the impact of yoga after stroke, brain-injury, pain, and with other diagnostic populations. Dr. Schmid also studies the integration of yoga into occupational therapy, during both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, including the intensive care unit. Dr. Schmid is the author of nearly 70 publications, with the majority of papers related to yoga. Recently, she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training to better understand yogic philosophies and the underpinnings of yoga as therapy.  [Presenting Saturday Afternoon Session - TS07]


Are We Practicing Yoga Therapy or Yogopathy

Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani

Yogacharya Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, MBBS, ADY, DPC, DSM, PGDFH, PGDY, FIAY, MD (Alt Med), C-IAYT is Director of the Centre for Yoga Therapy Education and Research (CYTER), MGMCRI, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University, Pondicherry (

He is also Chairman of the International Centre for Yoga Education and Research at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India ( and Yoganjali Natyalayam, the premier institute of Yoga and Carnatic Music and Bharatanatyam in Pondicherry ( He is son and successor of the internationally acclaimed Yoga team of Yogamaharishi Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj and Yogacharini Kalaimamani Ammaji, Smt Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani.  Yogacharya has been appointed to the prestigious National Board for Yoga & Naturopathy in AYUSH.

He is a Gold Medalist in Medical Studies (MBBS) with postgraduate diplomas in both Family Health (PGDFH) as well as Yoga (PGDY) and the Advanced Diploma in Yoga under his illustrious parents in 1991-93. A Fellow of the Indian Academy of Yoga, he has authored 19 DVDs and 23 books on Yoga as well as published more than two hundred papers, compilations and abstracts on Yoga and Yoga research in National and International Journals. In addition, he is a Classical Indian Vocalist, Percussionist, Music Composer and Choreographer of Indian Classical Dance.

He is an Honorary International Advisor to the International Association of Yoga Therapists (, the Australasian Association of Yoga Therapists (, the World Yoga Foundation ( and Gitananda Yoga Associations worldwide  (

A recognized PhD guide for Yoga Therapy he was also recognized as an IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) by the International Association of Yoga Therapists, USA in September 2016. It is notable that he is the first Indian to receive this honour.

He is currently Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the CCRYN, Ministry of AYUSH, Govt of India as well as the Expert Committees of AYUSH for Celebration of International Yoga Day and the Yoga & Diabetes program. He is Consultant Resource Person for the WHO Collaborative Centre in Traditional Medicine (Yoga) at MDNIY, New Delhi. He is also member of the Executive Council of the Indian Yoga Association ( and Board of Directors of the Council for Yoga Accreditation International (

 [Presenting Friday Afternoon Session - TF01]



Yoga Nidra is  it - and now is the time to liberate the healing power of Nidra Shakti

Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, PhD & Diploma in Yoga Therapy

Uma Dinsmore-Tuli PhD met yoga in 1969 at the age of four, and fell in love. She’s been practicing ever since, and teaching yoga since 1994. A yoga therapist with special expertise in yoga therapy for women’s health, Uma is a mother of two sons and one daughter, all born at home in her yoga space, and she has written four books on yoga for women, including a guide to pranayama for pregnancy, birth and mothering, Mother’s Breath, and the massive women’s yoga bible Yoni Shakti: A Woman’s Guide to Power and Freedom through yoga and Tantra.

Uma works internationally, sharing yoga retreats, trainings and empowerments that support the natural arising of prana shakti: the power of life. Since 2001 she has trained a total of over one thousand specialist teachers in Total Yoga Nidra, Women’s Yoga (for all stages of women’s lives), and therapeutic yoga for pregnancy, birth, and postnatal recovery.

Uma’s PhD in Communications is from the University of London, her diploma in Yoga Therapy is from the Yoga Biomedical Trust, and her initial yoga studies were in Iyengar and Satyananda yoga. Her training in Ayurvedic and Structural Yoga Therapy was with the late Mukunda Stiles. She is co-founder of the Yoga Nidra Network and has developed Total Yoga Nidra, Wild Nidra and Nidra Shakti: radical creative and intuitive approaches to sharing yoga nidra.  [Presenting Saturday Afternoon Session - TS08]