We all know that yoga is more than a bunch of poses put together while standing or laying on a mat.
This past year I got to go to India and spend two weeks in Rishikesh.
While in India, I didn’t get to practice much asana because I suffer from severe colon issues. I knew going into it that it was not going to be easy to go two weeks without a colonic. (My only way of going, well…you know what). Yes I am the only person that goes to India and is constipated. Go figure.
I also wanted time to walk around and talk to the locals and maybe do some shopping (and I am using the term “some” shopping very loosely).
I said to my friend Chandanni:
“When I’m in the states I practice yoga everyday and now I come to India and I barely practice.”
She looked at me and said in her fabulous British accent:
“Darling, yoga is what happens off the mat.”
Later on that day my friend Kasey Luber, founder of Big Happy Day, told me all about Off The Mat Into The World (Seane Corn‘s organization) while we were riding in a rickshaw on our way back from Hardiwar from an Aarti Ceremony.
I remember when we got back to Rishikesh later that night laying in my bed at the ashram and thinking how can I bring my yoga off the mat into the world.
I certainly can’t do it the way Seane is doing it—I have six kids, a husband and a full teaching schedule—but the idea was planted in my heart. Her strength and dedication to humanity are awe-inspiring.
I didn’t have to wait long for the universe to allow preparation to meet opportunity.
Shortly after I returned from India I found out I had breast cancer. And that’s how I decided to take my yoga off the mat into the world.
By sharing my experience about cancer, chemo and what comes with that whole process via YouTube, I had my opportunity to show the world how to be strong and graceful when life handed me lemons.
When I opened my heart to the world and shared my experience, the most amazing things happened. I thought less about myself and my own problems seemed to dissolve. Then I was given the opportunity to become involved with two amazing organizations:Ashrams for Autism and Yogis Heart.
Life sure is funny. Lemons are not just bitter fruit.
They can be used in many different and useful ways. I’m not bitter about cancer or colon problems. I was lucky enough to be inspired. I was blessed enough to have the strength and support to educate others about dealing with life. In the end, I was doubly lucky and doubly blessed to take my yoga off the mat and become involved with these two incredible organizations.
Watching Seane bring people together inspired me to bring my yoga off the mat into the world and for that I will always be thankful.
The mission of Ashrams for Autism is to create yoga programs and facilities where individuals with autism can live, work, play and contribute to their community. Utilizing the science of yoga and modern-day scientific advances, these faculties will seek to instill dignity and guide each individual towards peacefully achieving their highest potential.
Yogis Heart is a volunteer organization devoted to providing yearly unlimited yoga scholarships to young adults between the ages of 15-25 who are seeking a consistent yoga practice. At Yogis Heart, we believe that a year of regular yoga practice opens the practitioners’ body, mind, and spirit to alternative ways of facing the stresses of our every day modern world.
Ed: Lynn H.
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