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Yoga Gives Back honors David Lynch at Malibu fundraiser

Yoga Gives Back Founder Kayoko Mitsumatsu (left) awards famed director David Lynch with the Namaste Award during the foundation’s fundraiser event in Malibu Sept. 25. Photos by Kaori Suzuki
Bollywood performers entertain guests during Yoga Gives Back’s fifth annual Thank You Mother India fundraiser, held in Malibu late last month.
Jessica Lucas, Freelance Reporter
12:40 pm PDT October 4, 2016

The Yoga Gives Back Foundation hosted its fifth annual Thank You Mother India fundraiser on Sept. 25, at the estate of philanthropist Dr. Amarjit Marwah in Malibu. 

Three-time Oscar-nominated director David Lynch was honored at the event with the presentation of the Namaste Award, awarded for his work with the David Lynch Foundation, which seeks to reduce trauma and stress among at-risk populations by implementing transcendental meditation.

“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,” said Yoga Gives Back Founder Kiyoko Mitsumatsu. “We believe Mr. Lynch exemplifies this through his acts of kindness and desire to help others reach enlightenment.”

Mitsumatsu founded Yoga Gives Back after realizing the extreme poverty that many women and children in India face on a regular basis. She was moved to help create microfinance loans to help women in India fund small businesses and education.

“I realized, wait a minute, we’re paying $15 a class for a yoga class, if you put that into a pot globally, we can make a huge microfinancing program for the poorest people in India, where yoga comes from,” said Mitsumatsu. 

The nonprofit organization has grown 35 percent every year since 2009. It now provides funding for nearly 900 mothers and children in West Bengal, India and Karnataka.

The event welcomed over 200 attendees, and featured guests from over 17 different countries. 

The evening began with a cocktail reception, where guests were served appetizers provided by restaurants Kye’s and Necco. A team of four Bollywood dancers performed as guests arrived.

The event also included a silent auction, where guests bid on items such as vacation rentals and yoga classes donated by local yoga studios. 

At 6 p.m., attendees were ushered into the dining area, where they were treated to a live auction, dinner and a short film about the charitable work accomplished by Yoga Gives Back.  

After the short film was shown, Mitsumatsu presented Lynch with the Namaste Award. 

Lynch spoke about his first experience with meditation and how it has benefited him throughout his life.

“I started transcendental meditation on July 1, 1973 at about 10:30 in the morning,” Lynch said. “It was as if I was in an elevator and someone cut the cables. I felt big, big rushes of bliss. Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual happiness just washed over me, and I said to myself: ‘Where has this experience been?’ I’ve been meditating twice a day ever since and I’ve never missed a meditation. I recommend it very highly.”

The event ended with a poem recitation from Lynch: 

“May everyone be happy. May everyone be free of disease. May auspiciousness be seen everywhere. May suffering belong to no one.”

For more information on Yoga Gives Back, contact info@yogagivesback.org.