I invite you to
And be the change
You wish to see.
In Yoga, āhimsa – non harm – is active.
It is not merely the absence of doing harm.
It is the active interruption of harm when it occurs.
And active harm interruption is the work of Yoga Outreach. This non-profit organization partners with volunteer yoga instructors, community organizations, social service agencies, and prisons to provide interoceptive-centered, strengths-based and trauma-informed yoga programming to often overlooked adults and at-risk youth.
Today is the first day of the 25 Day Yoga Challenge, Yoga Outreach’s largest annual fundraiser.
The registration cost for this challenge is on a sliding scale from $25 – $100. This amount in itself is enough to allow one vulnerable person to attend a weekly class in a service facility where Yoga Outreach operates!
I took Yoga Outreach’s Teacher Training program earlier this year, and it wasn’t until then that I realized how much I needed a trauma-informed space to breathe and move my own body in.
Through this training I learned not only how to hold safer space for others, but also for myself.
The following photos are a celebration of an important teaching that I took away from this training which is emphasized in the Yoga Sūtra and the work that Yoga Outreach does: diversity is key.
Āhimsa is the first step of the pre-practice of Yoga (the Yama-s) and its natural result is a protection of diversity.
To understand this, it can be helpful to contrast yogic āhimsa with an opposing force like imperialism.
While imperialism will seek to inflict harm in order to achieve homogeny, yoga will seek to preserve people in order to protect diversity.
Here are a diversity of expressions of a shape that I randomly found in my body one day.
It is shape of peace that grew out of my physical practice..
a practice which is only blossoming as a result of trauma-informed harm interruption within my body..
harm interruption that I only knew how to do because of the work of Yoga Outreach.
The first variation (pictured at the very top of this post) has no physical supports,
The second is achieved from a seated position on a chair,
The third uses the support of a wall/fence/structure, and
The fourth (pictured below) employs a block to raise the floor to the practitioner.
You might choose to practice this shape of peace in your body in one of these expressions, or in any other expression that you imagine! (You could get curious about how you could create this shape lying down!)
The spaces that Yoga Outreach creates are those which value diversity. And I am very grateful for the work that they do, and for the opportunity to be part of it.
If you’d like to support Yoga Outreach, please consider:
- sharing this blog post with people you know by using the icon links below,
- sharing this fundraising event with people you know (you can find more details here),
- joining the event yourself (just your registration alone provides a donation!), and/or
- donating through Facebook or Canada Helps.
There is more to come on this over the next 25 days!
In the meantime, I wish you peace-full practice,