Service is a cornerstone of Catholicism, the first religion which was introduced to me. It is how I was raised as a child and how my children are now raised. While I'm grateful for that foundation in my life and support it for my family, I've been less personally connected to it's messages as I've grown older.
I've really enjoyed the spiritual quality that's come with a devout asana practice. The basic definition of "yoga" is "union" or "connection". Unity between mind and body, connection to all beings, doesn't get much more spiritual than that. This weekend I found my spirituality on the mat connect to my life off of it.
On Saturday, Synergy Hot Yoga (a studio where I joyfully teach and practice) held the first annual "Synergy Day" where there was a number of vendors, giveaways, special pricing on class packages and FREE YOGA all day! Undoubtedly offering free yoga classes all day is something that will hopefully encourage and result in new business for the studio, but the real inspiration for me as both teacher and student was the number of people I saw and met who were brand new to the practice of studio yoga, let alone a hot studio. Best of all, proceeds from Synergy Day and generous donations went to support Oasis tlc, a local non-profit started by a Synergy student, whose mission is to establish local farming centers for autistic adults to work, volunteer and live. Please check them out at www.oasistlc.org.
On Sunday, I represented Synergy and taught a free community class at my local lulu lemon store. This was a first for me and a challenge on a few different levels. Vinyasa sequencing has not been my primary teaching focus to date, but it is an area I'd like to grow. I never turn down an opportunity to teach vinyasa, although the opportunities are few and far between. Teaching in a foreign environment, without mirrors or heat, to a multi-level population, would make for added layers of difficulty. I came up with a class I am proud of, complete with modifications for those new to yoga, and felt it was a success and growth experience for me.
Just as there is a marketing angle and potential for gain and growth for a studio or a retail store to offer free classes, the honor and privilege for me to be part of both of these events (in the same weekend!) lies in the spread of yoga to members of the public who otherwise might not find it. I see these gestures as a show of thanks for the community that has supported them, as well as a service for the community at large.
The Bible itself calls us to serve others with the gifts we have received. This small way of serving others through my passion for yoga, and the large reward of gratitude not only humble me, but bring me back to my Catholic roots. While I'll still take my yoga mat over a church pew for my daily dose of spirituality, I have two children who will receive sacraments in the Catholic church next year. As they are encouraged to serve their community, I am grateful for my weekend of service and hope to feel that greater call to action not only in my own life, but as I guide my children too.