Yoga Votes.

Via Hayley Hobson
on Jul 23, 2012
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The outside world often sees the yoga community as just that—only a community.

However, it should be apparent that we are much more—we are a constituency that can make a difference in the country we live in today. Most yogis find that yoga changes the way our bodies behave, the products we buy and the way we see our surroundings—so why not broaden our horizons to also envelop legislation, schools, community and the country as a whole.

Did you know there are over 20 million yogis across the states? If we rally together, we can make a big difference in the voting scene.

Off the Mat Into the World, a program of the nonprofit The Engage Network, is in the wake making this happen. Its mission is to use yoga to inspire activism and invoke change through grassroots organizing.

The founders of the organization—Seane Corn, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling—came together to help yogis make a difference in their country and all over the world. One of their new programs is YogaVotes, which aims to get yogis to register to vote.

YogaVotes initiated a non-partisan campaign, gathering yogis from state to state to inspire them to take action and form a constituency that politicians can no longer ignore. YogaVotes poses this question:

“What if we all helped bring the practices of inclusivity, compassionate action, collaboration and unity to our country’s hyper-partisan politics?”

This question is difficult to ignore for those infused into a life of yoga for years (or even months for newcomers). We can help shape the politics, laws and leaders of this country away from the hyper-partisan, cutthroat nature that has emerged.

We, as yogis, can come together and show that compassion—not money or fame—should be the most important forerunner for making decisions about schools, communities and justice. 20 million is a large number and it is time that we are recognized as not just a community, but as a powerful constituency that can change the way things work in America.

Visit to learn more. The organization has various ways to get involved, such as becoming a leader and informing others, becoming a studio partner and supporting your students’ knowledge of how to vote and attending a YogaVotes event.

I am spearheading an campaign in Boulder, CO to host a free yoga class at every local studio each week leading up to the election. Each class can then be used as a platform to educate students about the impact they can make by just pledging to vote. You can pledge to vote as well. Go to and simply promise to vote in the 2012 upcoming election.

Remember that we are more than just a group of people; we are a group of voters that can truly make a difference for the better.



Editor: Lara C.

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About Hayley Hobson

Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Hayley creates lifestyle transformations by coaching her clients to strengthen, nourish and evolve through the cycles and shifts in life. Combining cutting edge understanding in all three disciplines due to years of anatomical study and dietary theory, Hayley’s approach leverages their blended benefits and results. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening–empowering her client’s to heal not only their physical bodies, but their hearts and minds as well. Hayley studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, continues her studies with David Wolfe, raw food expert and is an essential oil expert in her own right.  Her insights and articles can also be found on her blog, Mindbodygreen and Islaorganics. She has also been featured in Pilates Style magazine, Natural Health magazine and Triathlete Magazine.  She has fun running and playing in the mountains with her husband, former world-ranked triathlete, Wes Hobson and their two beautiful daughters, Makenna and Madeline. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events she's hosting and custom programs go to her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest.


6 Responses to “Yoga Votes.”

  1. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Yes, compassion is the starting point. But compassionate politics? I'm skeptical. I suspect a cover for liberal politics when I hear that. Liberals are very good at identifying problems but very bad at solving them due to an anti-money anti-commerce mind-set.

    But we should be able to engage in compassionate politics if we can ditch our liberal prejudices. How about these three areas as a beginning?

    1. Be anti-war, anti-military-industrial complex. Liberals and yoga types are sorta kinda anti-war in a lukewarm sort of way, if you ask them, but it's way down their list of priorities.

    2. Be anti-American Gulag. I.e., advocate for the release of millions of mostly minority men incarcerated for victimless crimes. Most liberals don't even recognize this problem, huge though it is.

    3. Advocate for unborn generations, the ones who WILL have to pay the price for what passes as compassionate politics to the average liberal. Turning America into Greece is not a compassionate choice for our children and grandchildren. Radical slashing of government spending NOW, however, is.

  2. cathy says:

    glad you wrote this.. it does however open many doors.. not everyone who practices yoga agrees.. check out EJ´s many articles.. so this may bring dissension into some studios who solely wish calmness
    good luck and thank you again

  3. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Yes, Cathy, in a sense you could say I was warning Hayley of that.

    Most western Yoga-ists and Buddhists, certainly most at Ele, probably support compassionate politics through government programs. But a perusal of the commentary here at Ele makes it clear that a significant minority sees government-enforced compassion as authoritarian in the extreme. We of the significant minority would say that authoritarianism and yoga/Buddhism are incompatible. If you want yogic compassion, it has to be non-political, or so we would argue. But of course most here would argue that compassion MUST be expressed through government programs. That puts us at loggerheads. Thus, we political westerners will have no choice but to dispute politics, even in the quietude of our yoga settings, if we try to marry politics and yoga.

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  5. homeo_stace_is says:

    Politics is one of the last things I would like to mix with my yoga practice. I appreciate the sentiment of getting involved, but trying to politicize yoga seems like a really bad, and misguided idea.

  6. hayley says:

    I'm not here to preach politics to anyone. I am just encouraging those of us with like minds to get out there and vote because each and every vote means something. And I'm assuming those of us with like minds will choose candidates that are compassionate about change.