Sacramento yogis – who is ready to be the change? I mean really, really be the change. Who is ready to put resources and action behind thoughts and prayers?
I am…and I have a feeling I’m not alone in seeking community with socially active yogis.
Next week, February 1, 2016, I’ll be launching a new series of pop-up yoga events called Yoga + Peace in Action. It’s a deeply personal, mission-driven project that I am thrilled to see come to life.
Here is the backstory – I share this because maybe you can relate to some of my experience:
On November 8, 2016, I sat on my couch unable to speak with tears in my eyes, stunned that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States with a GOP supermajority in the House and Senate. I felt it in my body, like cement had been poured into my heart and lungs. I was not surprised that a large population voted for the GOP candidate. I was shocked by the complacency of those who did not vote.
That complacency. It is a complacency that reaches back for decades. That complacency has allowed gerrymandering and erosion of voting rights. That complacency has allowed racism, bigotry, misogyny, and even fascism to be knit into the very fabric of our government. I asked myself a tough question, “Have I been complacent? Have I really been doing all I can do to be a good citizen?”
I allowed myself one day, November 9th, to be angry and sad.
On November 10th, I resolved to turn my grief and anger into action. My stream of consciousness went something like this: What can I do? I’m a stay-at-home mom. I teach yoga. I have fifteen years of experience in arts management, specifically in events logistics. I’m a stay-at-home mom. Wait, I teach yoga, what is that? That’s people coming together to practice living a life of purpose. Hey, I’ve managed events before. What can a group of people, like a yoga class of people, do together to address injustice and make a positive change in the world?
All those questions led to an answer: Yoga + Peace in Action.
Yoga: What Are We Really Practicing?
Yoga is a practice of clarity.
Yoga is a practice of moving deliberately and purposely with an intention (definition of vinyasa).
Yoga is a practice of walking a path of devotion.
Yoga is a practice of falling down and getting back up again.
Yoga is a practice of fierce love.
We go to the mat and meditation cushion to practice making peace with ourselves so that we may walk off our mat and make peace with the world around us.
Yoga is mindful action.
Yoga is peacemaking.
And yogis….we like getting together to breathe and connect in community.
And let’s be honest, yogis – we spend money on our yoga and lifestyle. According to a 2016 study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, American yogis spend an estimated $16B/year on on classes, gear, and equipment. (I know, I know, I know – we don’t usually like to talk about money, but we should. We really, really should.)
Yoga studios are where we connect with our practice. Yoga studios are also small businesses that can suffer a negative impact if it is seen as holding a political viewpoint.
Some people think yoga and politics should be separate. Some yogis think watching the news or paying attention to politics is unyogic. Fine. That’s their business (maybe it’s yours, okay), but not everyone feels that way.
Some yogis see yoga as a way of life that actively, mindfully engages with the world – a world that, like it or not, is managed by public servants working in government….aka politics.
What if politically savvy and civically engaged yogis organized and created a community of peacemakers?
Let’s find out!
Yoga + Peace in Action
Yoga + Peace in Action is a series of fundraising events in Sacramento designed to build community, support organizations, and instigate positive social change.
The goal of Yoga + Peace in Action is to create, organize, and mobilize a politically and civically active Sacramento yoga community to support organizations that defend and protect civil, human, and first-amendment rights and to actively engage with local, state, and federal government.
Events will be two hours. 90 minutes of yoga and meditation followed by 30 minutes of active peacemaking. Peacemaking will be contacting elected officials, developing an action plan for your activism, learning about the work of organizations working on the front lines of defending our democracy and the rights of fellow human beings, making connections with other peacemakers, and so much more.
And each event – the cost of class will go directly to a specific organization. You have the opportunity to make a tax-deductible donation (or join as a member, for the organizations that lobby) to and make a connection with a different organization every month. It’s like a cause-of-the-month club with yoga, community, and civic engagement.
Stay tuned. I’ll announce our first event on Wednesday, February 1st.
People get ready………