Why do you practice yoga?
I ask myself that on a regular basis. Often the answer is egocentric. I practice yoga to be healthier, to be fit and flexible, or to work towards a personal spiritual goal. These are all good and valid reasons to practice yoga, and the personal benefits of a yoga practice are well understood by anyone who has sweated through a vinyasa class.
So how much more awesome is it that a deeply personal practice can also benefit the wider community, can benefit youth of widely varying and often unimaginably difficult backgrounds?
That is the benefit of the Amala Foundation. Every time you practice yoga at Sanctuary Yoga, or rent their event space, you benefit this amazing organization, a foundation that supports the “social emotional learning” of refugees, immigrants and at-risk youth through a variety of programs. Many of us have practiced yoga at Sanctuary without knowing of the breadth of the organization we are supporting. Thus, it’s important to take note of just how wonderful The Amala Foundation really is.
The Amala Foundation runs Camp Indigo, which supports youth aged 4-12 in developing mutual respect for each other as well as promoting increased confidence in a creative environment, through yoga, gardening, self-portraits, and other creative and communal pursuits.
The Amala Foundation also holds The Global Youth Peace Summit, which brings together older children to cultivate a spirit of peace, but most of all to “be real”. Come as you are is the motto, and they do. Young people, our future, coming from war-torn countries, or poorer countries, or from a variety of difficult backgrounds. Look through the testimonials of youth who have benefited from these summits (the 10th Annual is coming up in August!). You will be struck by the compassion and thoughtfulness of the youth who participated.
“Amala” has numerous meanings, including “hope”, “work”, and “pure”. The next time you are in a yoga class at Sanctuary Yoga, remember these meanings, and remember that you are benefiting a future generation, giving hope to children now so that they may work to build a future that is more pure than the present.