Next spring we will begin another round of what we call Karma classes at both studios. The concept behind these classes came out of a desire to help new teachers get experience they need, give some support to a local charity, and provide great yoga for very little money (just $8a class!). I do not use the word karma lightly. In fact, I believe that the concept of karma is really more about the way we live our lives than the way we do yoga.
First of all, the teachers of these classes are doing them for free. They have busy lives just like you and I, but have chosen to teach yoga as a gift to others. They are volunteering their time and energy in order to make themselves better teachers but also to help support a local charity. And, I will say from experience that they are all already excellent!
I also do not use the words local or charity lightly. These terms have weight to me. When I say, “I am raising money for something local,” it means that I will personally be placing the money into the hands of the people who are doing the work. And by charity, I don’t mean some giant organization. I mean in this case Maple Farm Sanctuary: 2 people who have dedicated their lives to defending and caring for those who can not defend or care for themselves. Not only have I volunteered at Maple Farm, but I have seen for myself the hard work that these people do and the results it has produced. Charity to me does not have to be “over there.” In fact, I believe that local is better because the money/volunteer time/actions are direct. Maple Farm isn’t better or worse than other organizations doing good work. In fact there are too many to count. However, Sherri and Jim are two farmers who work hard at what they do. They don’t have time to fundraise and market. They are too busy caring for animals. I hope to help give them some support simply by making this information available to others. Another reason I focus on one place is that these people and more importantly, the animals, need to rely on a steady source of funding. It is lovely to send money here and there but I want one of more worry lifted by being a reliable source of income. This is why we donate all of our towel and mat rental money to MFS as well as focus our Karma class program on them. www.maplefarmsanctuary.org/
When I think karma, I don’t think of it in the traditional sense, one life leading to the next carrying it’s karmic baggage. I like to think more in the sense of constant thoughtful conscious attention to what is happening around and in front of me. Karma to me is about helping to create some balance in this world of darkness and light, love and hate, and especially action and inaction right now not later.
We are constantly bombarded with words like karma, charity, green, local, eco. Why not really put all that energy into just making things a little brighter, more loving, and nicer for whoever and whatever you care about. Animals, kids, the earth, whatever. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it is something, anything!
Many of you have asked: “Do I have to pay for this Karma class? I am a member (or on the staff, or whatever). Do you have to?” If you go to the class then I would say: yes. It is a small gesture towards the hard work that many people are doing for something other than themselves. Please give these new teachers and Maple Farm a little support through participating in the Karma classes. You will not only be supporting them but you will have a great practice as well.
Below is one of my favorite quotes by Mark Morford. This was given to me by another graduate of the O2 Yoga Teacher Training Program Jeanette Richelson.
“Stop thinking this is all there is…Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental devastation, there are a thousand counter-balancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral…Resist the temptation to drown in fatalism, to shake your head and sigh and just throw in the karmic towel…Realize that this is the perfect moment to change the energy of the world, to step right up and crank your personal volume, right when it all seems dark and bitter and offensive and acrimonious and conflicted and bilious; there’s your opening. Remember magic. And, finally believe you are part of a groundswell, a resistance, a seemingly small but actually very,very large impending karmic overhaul, a great shift, the beginning of something important and potent, and unstoppable.”