It seems that in the media lately, Yoga is getting a rap for being injurious, scandalous and self-serving. I wanted to share two experiences of yoga this weekend that served the Denver community in a safe and inspiring way.
This weekend I hosted two events for my local yoga community. One was my first ever workshop. I taught seven students how to get into arm balance poses Saturday afternoon in a two-hour class I entitled, “Fly to Freedom.” The second was a screening of the film Yogawoman with a suggested donation benefitting a Colorado nonprofit that brings yoga classes to urban youth grades K-12, The Wellness Initiative. I co-hosted this event with a great local yoga teacher for adults and kids, Allyson Levine.
On Saturday we flew with freedom in an arm balance workshop. It takes a radical courage to go just beyond the ‘tipping point’ and put your weight on your hands-just like it takes radical courage to keep an open heart when life’s circumstances are less than favorable. A sweet group of seven students got to safely experience Ekapada Galavasana, Bakasana, Ekapada Koundinyasana I and II, Parsva Bakasana, Eka Hasta Bujasana and Ashtavakrasana under my instruction. The students and I both left more connected to our hearts and empowered than when we started.
On Sunday, a group of 15 Denver and Boulder folks watched the film Yogawoman, which describes women Yoga leaders across the globe and their dedication to bringing the healing practices of yoga to local and global communities, including incarcerated women, Ugandan women with HIV and women with cancer. The film featured Yogis such as Patricia Walton, Desiree Rhumbaugh, Seane Corne, Elena Bower, Sally Kempton, Shiva Rae and many others.
Together, the men and women in the audience raised $314 in donations to Yoga for urban youth! This amount of money buys one student 40 yoga classes, or ten children four yoga classes each. Mara Rose, Executive Director of The Wellness Initiative attended the event as did Annie Freedom, Owner and Founder of Samadhi Center for Yoga & Meditation. The two community leaders connected in person for the first time at this event and had the opportunity to thank one another and speak of further collaboration.
My first two community offerings at my local studio were modest in numbers but rewarding because they built social capital, raised money for communities that can’t afford the luxury of yoga and most importantly raised awareness.
Yoga helps empower people to courageously face difficult life circumstances. That headline may not sell in the mainstream media, but it’s the real story and it is happening in a community near you!