July 23, 2012

Yoga Votes.

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 YogaVotes.org 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 YogaVotes.org 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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