“It is action (karma) that makes a person great.
Be great by your sadhana (spiritual practice), by your service, and by your sacrifice."
~ Shrii Shrii Anandamurti ~
Some of the
most powerful experiences that I have had during my life, have come
through times of giving selflessly to those less fortunate than
myself. The act of going through physical discomfort and mental
hardship for the sake of others can be a very healing and cleansing
I hold the loving spirit of yoga dear, and when you hold something dear, you want to share it. This page is intended to help inspire and direct those who may be interested in supporting less fortunate populations of the world, through international volunteer opportunities and/or donations.
Below are descriptions, pictures and links of the non-profit organizations that I have spent time volunteering with while in Asia. If you are interested in learning more about the listed projects, I would be happy to make recommendations to help you find what it is that you are looking for through this type of experience, and would be happy to help set you out on your way.
This October of 2012, we will be going on a service retreat to Nepal, where we will work with the Children of the Universe project, and support the Citta Nepal women's center. If you are interested in learning more about this seva opportunity and how you can become involved, please inquire through the contact page.
A School, Children’s Home & Women’s Center that is located in Sunglakburi Thailand, near the boarder of Myanmar.
During my time at Baan Unrak, I was fortunate enough to both partake in and assist with a meditation retreat hosted by Didi Devamala, who is the founder and project manager. Most of my time after the retreat was spent with children at the home, where I led their morning asanas practices each day, taught devotional songs in English and Sanskrit, and led enriching organized"ish" games for children wanting to play. During my visit to the high school, I taught Native American chants to the students, and helped them make up songs about pollution. My off time was spent supporting the women's weaving co-op, supporting Didi's vegan bakery, or wandering through the quiet village of Sunglakburi with a freshly opened coconut in hand. Website.
A Women’s Co-op Center that is located in Bhaktapur Nepal, in the Kathmandu Valley.
My time with the women of Citta Nepal, was spent teaching English, asanas, kiirtan, color blending and style ideas for their Fair Trade exports. They taught me how to speak a little Nepali, to knit mittens, and to tell the difference between high quality and low quality pashmina. My time helping the center manager, was through marketing ideas and assistance with refinement and enhancement of promotional materials. Prakahsh, the centers manager, and Binod, the projects president, introduced me to many wonderful towns & ancient sights within the Kathmandu Valley, as well as brilliant traditional foods and inspiring devotional communities. Website.
A School & Children’s Home that is located in Nagarkot Nepal, in the
foothills of the Himalayas overlooking the Kathmandu Valley.
During my time volunteering with the Children of the Universe, I was able to help Yenneke, their founding president, refine the programs educational mission, and build curriculum for the school. I helped create lesson plans for, and lead her teachers through, a week long training, that was based upon the educational philosophy of Rudolph Steiner, which she hopes to introduce to all of her teachers. While preparing materials, or taking time off, I would usually find myself lazily wandering the hills looking up at the Himalayas, or lounging around the Hotel at the End of the Universe, sipping on a warm cup of Nepali tea while watching the eagles soar over the valley at sunset. Website.
The Tea Garden
A Boarding & Primary School that is located in Catchakali India, in West Bengal near the boarder of Bangladesh.
The Tea Garden completely enchanted me during my visit, and I ended up staying on longer than I had expected to. During my time there, I was able to share in kiirtan and meditation practices with the boys staying at the boarding school. I spent a lot of time playing games, sharing songs, and watched pure silliness unfold around me at every turn. I helped create an enjoyable field race event for the kids that involved the entire school, and a lot of team work. The Tea Garden is home to a homeopathic clinic that serves the local community, and is working towards sustainability. I loved bike riding around the tea gardens and surrounding villages, and sharing in cultural exchange with the yogi families who help support the school.
An Orphanage, Boarding, Primary & High School that is located in the Purulia district of West Bengal.
During my stay at Uma Nivas, I tried to help figure out how the extreme environmental challenges they are facing can be overcome and transformed into a functional, prosperous and fully self sustainable community. I assisted in permaculture workshops for the teachers and students, on how to correctly sculpt the land to allow each plant and tree to fully absorb the little amount of water that they receive yearly, and educated them on how to prevent land erosion through their farming efforts. I assisted the development team with ideas of how this land can be used to help further along their efforts of providing women and children in this poor rural area with opportunities for proper education and healthcare. Website.
A Hospital & Public Primary & High School that are located in Orissa India, near Konark.
My work at the Citta schools in India, involved leading the girls at the high school through daily yoga asana practices, with the assistance of their English speaking teachers. My time spent teaching them yoga focused on building inner power and strength, self esteem and confidence, understanding the power of and exploring the strength of their voice, and cultivating awareness of their sacred feminine self. I led the children at the primary school through educational games that helped with developing motor skills and created unique opportunities for hearing and speaking English. The surrounding land is rich, with some of the oldest banyan trees in India, and a culture that is steeped in effortless beauty and peaceful simplicity. Website.
"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others."
~ Mahatma Gandhi ~