Yoga service, defined as the act of giving yoga to underserved populations, is increasing exponentially as yogis are experiencing the healing effects of yoga and wishing to pass the miracle on.
There are a variety of nonprofit organizations around the nation created in the name of yoga service. Whether you want to bring yoga to schools, prisons, hospitals, or homeless shelters, there is not only a teacher training, but also at least a half a dozen organizations dedicated to helping you. The research backing the benefits of yoga to these special populations are becoming mainstream and conferences like Yoga Service Council conference help bring voice to serving yogis. There is no better time to start participating in this yoga seva movement.
But in case you need more incentives, here are the top five reasons you should do yoga service
1) It feels good: Giving back to the community is by far the best yoga high you can get. Your service can be as small as teaching a donation based class once a week and giving the money to the charity of choice. Do what you can and as often as you can and you will see your mood lift, your life revitalize, and your sense of purpose strengthen.
2) People need yoga: There is no doubt about it, this country is in desperate need of more mat time. And who better to bring that to your community than YOU? The research is starting to trickle in that yoga does in fact help reduce stress, alleviate pain, and lift mood. With science to back us up, yogis are starting to voice their mission in the universal language of numbers.
3) Accessible trainings: Organizations like Off the Mat Into the World, Yoga Activist, and Give Back Yoga are all here to support you get the money and the training you need to bring yoga to your community. Regular 200hr teacher trainings definitely are not enough to teach underserved populations, there's often special language and things to look out for that you may not be aware of. With the plethora of trainings available now, you can easily find one that fits your budget, your needs, and your time.
4) There's an abundance of opportunities: Mainstreaming yoga may cause a stirring in our community of whether we are losing the integrity of the practice but there is one thing at least that is very positive about it all, the word yoga entering the American household. Here is our opportunity to show the world that yoga is more than just showy asanas. It's more than a scandal. What better way to make yoga a household name than by giving kids tools to help with anger management, disabled people a little more movement, and decrease likelihood of disease?
5) Develop good karma: If none of the other reasons entice you, then this should definitely do it. Good actions come back ten fold. Many in yoga service say that the gift they receive from serving others is much greater than anything they give. You do good things, good things come back to you. It's just that simple.
So what are you waiting for? The time to act is now!