Exploring yoga for change

‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’
Gandhi

This is a saying I hold close. And deep. In my heart.

Gandhi led a revolution, using peaceful means to free his country. My aspirations are a quite revolution, but he is a huge influence for me.

You don’t need to be leading a revolution to find this phrase useful. You can use it to change your own circumstances for the better.

If you want the world to be different, you need to embody that and be part of that change in the world around you.
So if you want to feel loved, behave in a loving way. If you want to be loved unconditionally, you’re going to have to be prepared to give that out to others. Which I know some people find very difficult, because I hear it all the time…

Why aren’t my children more grateful?
Why does my husband have to leave the lid off the toothpaste/toilet seat up/toast crumbs in the bed?
Why can’t my mother admit when she’s wrong?

People are flawed. They just are. Get over it. And if their experience of being with you is that you scold them, hold back from them, flash micro-expressions of irritation at them when they displease you; don’t imagine they won’t pick up on that.

We see more than we realise.

Communication isn’t just about words. It’s about flashes of movement. Shifts of tone. Sudden silences. 

Author and inspirational speaker. Danielle La Porte, very astutely reminds us that when we behave in the way we want to feel, we become that. Change is an inside out job, not an outside in.

If you want to feel amazing, consider what that would feel like. What would that look like? How would you eat, exercise, think? What would your home look like? What would you be reading? What would your best friend be like?

Have you noticed how some people are very good at telling you what they don’t want? They spend all that energy thinking about that they want to reject, but put no energy into thinking about what they want to create.

Interesting. There’s an irony in that without a plan you don’t move; there’s no risk. Except you stagnate, of course, and which is worst?

Accessible Yoga for All

Here’s something I want to see: accessible yoga for all.

I know what it’s like to be unemployed; it can be limiting in many ways. You have time, but little money. I remember being unemployed and that unsettled feeling of instability I carried. Which is ironic when I think about the jobs in which I earned a lot of money; I had no time and my self care was woeful anyway.

That’s why I created a yoga programme for employees to enjoy in their lunch break. It started when I worked in a university and I taught it there for two years. It’s an on-site delivered, easy to fit in option that gives an oasis of stress recovery for people who spend too much time sitting.

But what if you’re not working?

Now I strongly suspect a lot of yoga teachers will overlook a student’s inability to pay for classes during periods of unemployment, because we know if there’s one thing that’s going to help them it’s regularly getting away from their worries and spending time in a calm environment.

But being unwaged happens when we retire, when we’re students, when we’re running the house, bring up children… if you want to start an activity and lack on money is an issue, how can you access what you, of all people, could benefit most from? And how disempowering is it, to be ‘given’ when you can give and make a choice about how much

So here’s my little Be the Change solution. I’m not sure if it’ll work for me and it’s not original, but this was what I came up with – and I strongly suspect the Universe lent a hand…

Yoga by donation

I teach one class a week where if you’re unwaged, the price of a place is by donation. There’s a minimum donation of £1 (so I can cover the room costs) and if you’re waged a mat is £6 (still pretty good value for where I live). If you want to read more about my classes, the details are here and there’s a Yoga with Deana Facebook group too.

Where I’m teaching classes is subsidised through the philanthropic legacy of the man whose building it once was. That means, if every space goes I’ll cover the cost of the room hire anyway. I’m looking at grant applications to extend this too.

But as far as I can see, when I give of my time the energy I put into that doesn’t have to come back to me as money.

I’m helping people in my location, in a small way. I’m helping feel better and hopefully live better. I’m pushing positive energy into the world in a different way which means positive energy should return.

Maybe not so altruistic of me; but I’m enjoying the journey there. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

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