Day 18 Session 03: Dialogue: Yoga & Human Unity

A Dialogue on Yoga Human Unity

Yoga has become an increasingly popular practice across the globe, serving to unite people to their higher selves and to each other.  The word “yoga” literally means to unite. It is becoming increasingly clear that this unity is needed now, more than ever before for the global community. This panel session, moderated by Diane Berke of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, will explore what yoga in its essence, as well as other spiritual traditions teach us about unity, and how to apply these teachings towards a deeper and more profound awakening and healing for the global community. GPIW has curated this dialogue for the Global Festival of Yoga with the following panelists.


Rev. Diane Berke

Diane Berke is the Founder and Spiritual Director of One Spirit Learning Alliance, an interspiritual educational organization training interspiritual ministers, spiritual counselors, and leaders. She is a core team member of Transformation 365, an online resource to help people develop or deepen their contemplative practice.

Swamini Pramananda

Swamini Pramananda (affectionately known as Ammaji) is the Spiritual Leader and Visionary behind the organization, Purna Vidya, based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. While still a teenager, Ammaji lived in a traditional gurukulam and studied Advaita Vedanta (the Non-dual teaching tradition of India) for three years with her first teacher, Swami Dayananda Sarawati. As a result of this intense study, Ammaji eventually became a monk and spiritual teacher herself. For the past 30 years, she has been sharing the vision of Oneness and Harmony with seekers around the world.

Father Michael Holleran

Fr. Michael was raised Roman Catholic and joined the Jesuits at 18.  After five years, he joined the contemplative hermit Order of Carthusians, where he remained for 22 years, in the US, France & England.  Since 1994, he has worked as a parish priest in the RC Archdiocese of NY.   He studied Arhatic Yoga for 8 years, and also became a Sensei in the White Plum Asanga of the Zen tradition via his mentor Fr. Robert Jinsen Kennedy, SJ, Roshi.  He is now formally a priest of the Archdiocese of NY and works at the parish of Notre Dame near Columbia University in Manhattan.

Professor Suheyl Umar

Muhammad Suheyl Umar has been the Director of Pakistan’s Iqbal Academy for the last thirty years. He also worked as the Academic Director, Institute of Islamic Culture, Chief Editor, Al-Ma‘arif and later on as Visiting Scholar to International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and remained associated with the National University of Computers and Emerging Sciences, Lahore and the Lahore University of Management Sciences as an Adjunct Faculty Member. Umar is the Founder-Editor of Riwayat, a scholarly Urdu journal; Editor, Iqbal Review, a quarterly journal, published alternately in Urdu and English, focusing on Iqbal Studies in addition to Islamic Studies, Comparative Religion, Philosophy, Literature, History, Arts and Sociology.

Juan Pablo Restrepo

I was born in Colombia and studied philosophy. I started to practice yoga 15 years ago. I am also a buddhist practitioner. My area of interest is the intersection between yoga philosophy, buddhism and environmentalism.