• The Difference Between Intent and Impact

    Why Knowing the Difference Between Intent and Impact are Important on the Yogic Path.

    An important part of the yogic principle of Ahimsa, non-violence, is understanding that intent and impact are not the same.  There is a lot of wisdom to unpack in the old Christian saying, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. Even if our intentions are good, if our actions result in negative outcomes, we still have to pay the piper.  As the saying suggests, if we don’t atone for our behavior, the results will be the same as someone who had bad intentions; both are going to Hell. For you, this Hell may not be a lake of fire and brimstone, but instead a world full of pain and suffering.  If we are to call ourselves yogis, we must own up to how our actions, even when we didn’t mean anything by them, cause harm.

    There is no way to live on this earth and never harm anyone. Ahimsa is the practice of doing the least amount of harm possible; emphasis on “least”. Ahimsa is a part of the Yamas or Great Vow, that a yogi on the 8 limbed path of Patanjali or Raja yoga, takes.  When a yogi takes this vow, she cannot break it regardless of class, time, place or circumstance.  She is always asking herself, “is this the least amount of harm I can cause in this situation?” Nonviolence is the most talked about Yama in yoga because it is pretty easy to grasp and apply and it is palatable to most humans. Most of us can agree that we don’t want to be hurt.  Ahimsa, when things are going our way, is simple.   However, are we also using it when things become uncomfortable?

    The easiest way to shut down (attempt to anyway) an uncomfortable topic in the yoga world is to belabor positive intent.  The yoga world is seeing the rise of people speaking up against the commercialization and commodification of yoga, the erasure of the culture it came from, the worship of able bodies, inaccessibility, privilege, appropriation, spiritual bypassing and corruption.  If you are being accused of any of these, stop, breathe, then ask yourself, “Does my intent actually match the impact?” Understand that, as a yogi who has taken the great vow of Ahimsa, it is your duty to consider the impact your actions have on the world and to seek to do as little harm as possible. It not only means that you must change your words but you also have to change your actions. At the very least, own up to it and apologize.

    If you look back in your memory, you will probably see that you have been hurt by someone who had good intentions. Someone who had no idea how deeply their actions impacted your life but they did. Is it unreasonable that you may be guilty of the same? Can you give someone else the apology that you yourself have always wanted? Can you exemplify the changed behavior that was not exemplified for you? Can you give the kindness and understanding you craved to someone who is also seeking kindness and understanding? As a yogi, I should hope so. This may be uncomfortable but without examples, it is easy to purport innocence.  It is easy to act the saint of  the yoga world. These examples are meant to get you thinking. They are meant to empower you with higher levels of discernment that increase your capacity to apply Ahimsa and contribute to the reduction of harm.

    Anybody can do yoga

    The intent of is to present an open and welcoming environment for people who are new to Yoga. However, what happens when they actually cannot do your class? Maybe the class is moving so fast that you cannot stop and help them. The class might be so busy that you cannot spend time helping them. Do you truly know options that anyone can do and can you give the student those options as they practice? What is the possible impact to a student who cannot do the practice you just presented? They could leave feeling not only that yoga is not for them but also feel there is something wrong with them because they cannot do a class that, according to you, everyone is supposed to be able to do.

    Classes in exchange for cleaning

    The intent is to provide a means for students who cannot afford yoga, to be able to practice. What are some possible negative impacts? Instead of feeling like they are a part of the community, they feel like “the help.”  Most people have an unconscious bias towards people like waiters, handymen, or house cleaners. They are expected to be in the background.  They move around doing their work and are largely ignored. This student could easily spend their time at your studio on the fringes feeling isolated and alone.

    Not having anyone of color represented on your staff, on your list of presenters, your book or magazine.

    The intention is simply to hire good teachers and present the best information.  In this case, they all just happened to be White. What are some of the possible negative impacts? POC feel excluded, unwanted and that their expertise is subpar. Another negative impact is that you have a staff or panel of people who have an implicit bias toward the experience of being White. This results in a very skewed, and often times unrealistic and untrue view of the information presented.

    Thrust me, being White in the yoga world is a different experience from being Black or Brown in the yoga world.  You may say, “information is information”. Take a breath and really think about it. It is well known that historical information is always skewed towards the people talking about it.  Take this excerpt from History.com on the Civil War, “Northerners have also called the Civil War the War to Preserve the Union, the War of the Rebellion (War of the Southern Rebellion), and the War to Make Men Free.

    Southerners may refer to it as the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression. In the decades following the conflict, those who did not wish to upset adherents of either side simply called it The Late Unpleasantness. It is also known as Mr. Lincoln’s War and, less commonly, as Mr. Davis’ War.” This same thing happens with yogic information. Trust me. All good teachers can acknowledge their own implicit bias towards the information they are presenting.

    For instance, I absolutely have an implicit bias towards Ashtanga and I totally view all yogic information through the lens of Ashtanga. I absolutely know and acknowledge that I have a filter that looks for information to support my Ashtanga practice and, that If I am not careful, I will throw out or not acknowledge anything that goes against it.  If I were to put together a panel to talk about Ahimsa in the broader context of yoga, to offset my bias, I would need to invite non-Ashtangis to speak. Does this make sense?

    If you just work hard enough, you can do any yoga pose your heart desires.

    The intent is to uplift and motivate. Some negative impacts are people hurting themselves doing poses that are not meant for their bodies, people quitting yoga because, since they cannot do the poses, it is obviously not for them and a feeling of being a complete failure and worthless.

    We are all one

    This statement is dependent on the situation. The intent is to create unity and inclusiveness however the impact can be the opposite. To someone who is communicating that they don’t feel comfortable and accepted, to say, “we are all one” does not address the reason why they don’t feel comfortable or accepted. In this example, “We are all one” is spiritual bypassing at it’s finest. Dr. Robert Augustus Masters, PhD defines spiritual bypassing as, “the use of spiritual practices/beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds and developmental needs”.

    Saying “we are all one” when someone is hurting because they feel otherwise, shuts the discussion down and stops all positive possible solutions. For instance, if a South Asian practitioner is saying that they don’t feel represented by a panel of White people, “saying we are all one” does not change the fact the they are not represented. I can go on and on with these examples and I am sure that you have many you can add as well. Were you able to see how impact and intent are not the same? In each of the examples, could you see how more Ahimsa or less harm could be done? As a yogi, who has taken the vow of decreasing suffering in this world, do you understand how the question of impact vs Intent must be a part of your spiritual practice? I hope so.

    By Shanna Small

    Shanna Small is the mind behind, The Ashtanga Yoga Project, a website and home for information on how to use the wisdom of Ashtanga Yoga in Modern life. Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC.  She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch.


    Photo credit: Wanda Koch Photography. 

  • Redefining the Role of a Yoga Teacher

    Looking back in time, I realized that I’ve been a yoga teacher for part of my twenties, my entire thirties, and now into my forties. Most of my teaching career developed in New York City and Miami. From learning yoga in a studio that didn’t have yoga mats or blocks, to taking my first group classes in a gym that looked like a dance studio from the 80’s, to teaching yoga classes during the early 2000’s carrying my hundreds of CDs all over town.  It has been a journey.

    But I always come back to that day when after finishing a yoga class in the old Crunch Fitness in South Beach, while crossing Washington Avenue, I realized I was experiencing a heightened sense of awareness, colors were brighter, breaths were deeper. At a somatic level, I began to understand a deeper layer of the work that yoga does on bodies and minds. Recently my job as a full time yoga teacher has shifted, as I’ve become more interested in aspects of yoga that are less explored.

    How many more articles about the proper Chaturanga or the right stance in Warrior 1 or 2 can one read in a lifetime? How many more tutorials about how to do a handstand do I want to watch? To what extent is spending so much of my time trying to learn the latest alignment tip actually taking me away from making a real difference in my life and in my community? How many more scrolls through Facebook or Instagram do I have to take to understand that there’s work that needs to be done now?

    My own life experiences took me to different roads when the yoga offered in the studios, books, and social media was not enough to help me reconnect to myself during life’s difficult times. I experienced unbearable loss, grief, and depression of the greatest kind — and during those stages the yoga I had known wasn’t enough. My mat was buried in my closet. And I simply didn’t have the strength to get up and practice. I shifted my focus and began to learn about what I was experiencing. I learned about mental health, depression, trauma, PTSD, anxiety. And naturally I began to teach in a way that is more inclusive, accessible, and sustainable.

    I understood from the inside out what I was experiencing and by learning more about my own struggles I was able to put a practice together that supported the stage of my life that I was living. And gradually I got back on my feet. The beautiful thing about hitting rock bottom is that you come up stronger, but also you know that you are not the only one suffering. There’s a solace in knowing that you’re not alone, that everyone goes through difficult times. And it brings a sense of responsibility, and urgency towards making yoga available for those who aren’t as privileged.

    Practice with Adrian on Omstars

    I learned about the challenges that my community was facing, and I made my yoga available to those who were marginalized. I became curious about why there are only certain segments of the population in my classes. I began to ask why yoga is not reaching everyone, although we see it everywhere online. I began to learn about trauma, the trauma that we all go through in our lives, and the trauma of entire communities. I began to understand that I am in a very privileged place as a yoga teacher who can afford to take yoga classes , but there are many who can’t and in their minds they associate yoga with the privilege of an elite few.

    I realized that all the wonderful yoga philosophy I learned over the years didn’t mean anything unless the practice makes a real difference in myself and my community. I began to leave behind, one at a time, many postures that no longer served me in the path of using yoga as a bridge to unite the community. I began to move away from an extremely physical approach to the practice, or promoting the practice through postures, and instead using my experience, and the experiences of those who practice with me, as the message of the practice.

    A message of conscious movement, a message of community, and understanding that there is power in the practice, especially when we practice together, and the yoga that we do, can always and must always help others. I began to understand my place in the future of yoga.

    Why it is important to have a voice on Instagram and Facebook to educate people about a different way of approaching the practice. Why it is important to share our experiences, and advocate for those who have no voice. Why it is important to be a disruptor when all the yoga you see looks very vanilla.
    I currently teach yoga at schools, hospitals and I work full time at Lotus House, the largest shelter in Florida for homeless women and their children. I empower my students — whether they are members at a luxury fitness center or homeless people — with the tools of yoga, meditation, relaxation, and knowledge about science and research.

    Join Adrian’s LIVE classes on Omstars

    All my classes have shifted to an all-inclusive way of teaching. Teaching postures for their own sake is no longer exciting for me. But empowering people to reconnect to their bodies and create a positive connection — that is what is important. Offering tools to my students to be able to manage their level of stress, to learn when they are not feeling great and how to use the practice in a therapeutic way. This is what excites me these days. As I continue to explore yoga I can only think, what a wonderful thing it is, that yoga keeps growing and sharing its gifts.

    But this doesn’t happen alone, it doesn’t happen through posts, likes or followers or fancy inversions or arm balances. It happens when each of us yoga teachers and students learn about the practice, embody it, distill the teachings, peel away the outer layers, and use this core of wisdom as fuel to help those who need it the most.

    By Adrian Molina

    Adrian Molina has been teaching yoga continuously since 2004. He is a well-known and respected instructor in Miami and New York, with an extensive worldwide following through his platform and school of yoga, Warrior Flow. Adrian teaches online for Omstars and works for the non-profit Lotus House. Adrian is also a writer, massage therapist, Reiki healer, meditation teacher, sound therapist, and a Kriya yoga practitioner in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda. Adrian is recognized for the community-building work he does in Miami and beyond.

  • I Felt the Power of Yoga

    Yika’al. It is possible. I decided to be more creative with my English activities.  One of the activities I came up with was teaching English through yoga.

    Sometime after graduating college, I decided I wanted to serve in the United States Peace Corps (pronounced “core” not “corpse”). Please note: Omstars is not affiliated with the United States Peace Corps or the United States Government. Serving in the Peace Corps means committing yourself to living two years in a community abroad, typically a developing country, building capacity and exchanging ideas and experiences. And of course, promoting peace.

    You integrate as best as you can by immersing yourself in the language and culture and make lifelong friends.  In May 2011, I stepped off the plane in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After studying the northern language, Tigrinya, for several months and living with a host family, I was sent to a rural town of about 16,000 people to teach English and pedagogy at a college of teacher education.

    Over the course of my first year there, I ran around in so many directions trying to make things happen. There were times I held workshops and no one came. There were times I asked for colleagues to support me and no one did. There were times I put things on the schedule, only to learn there was a holiday I didn’t know about. It was hard, but with every failure, I learned how to improve. I learned how best to communicate to the students. I learned which people to work with. I learned which customs were most respected. Finally, the most important thing I learned was that, not everyone wants your help, and that’s completely fine.

    As I started my second year, I decided to be more creative with my English activities.  One of the activities I came up with was teaching English through yoga. I had dabbled in some yoga classes before I joined the Peace Corps, and felt confident I could at least talk about the shapes. I was still nervous to do the presentation, but one phrase that kept me going. Yichalal, spoken by the famous marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie, means, “It is possible.” There’s a sense of optimism among Ethiopians that’s contagious. The day I gave the presentation, we didn’t have yoga mats and I didn’t know how to really instruct students to flow, but it was fun to make the poses and laugh together. The presentation was so successful that my colleague Yikuno and I agreed we should repeat the yoga classes. He suggested we take it outside to the soccer field.

    I will never forget the day I led our students through the poses with the backdrop of the mighty mountains behind us. I think this is the first moment I felt the power of yoga. I realized it was greater than all of us. Suddenly the female students felt like they had a place among the male students. All students could make poses, let their breath guide them, and be a part of the beautiful practice of yoga. Yoga transcends language, geography, culture, and identity.

    By Ally Born

    Ally is a yogi, runner, Ironman triathlete, and a former competitive swimmer and water polo player. She started running after earning her bachelor’s degree and has now completed five marathons. She served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Ethiopia for two years and returned to the states to complete her master’s degree in international educational development. While job-hunting, she dabbled in yoga challenges on Instagram with Kino MacGregor and fell in love with the practice of Ashtanga yoga. During the following year, she earned her 200-hour level yoga teaching certification. Over the last couple years, she has been fortunate to have trained with several authorized Ashtanga instructors, including Kino and Harmony Slater. She truly believes that yoga is for everyone and loves teaching it. When she’s not on her mat, she can be found training for triathlons, traveling, and researching. Keep in touch with Ally on Instagram.

  • Everyday Joy of Yoga Challenge

    Sometimes it feels like you ask yourself a million questions. “Is there anything I could have done?” You would drive yourself crazy if you asked yourself that because what ifs, should haves, and could haves, don’t matter. What does matter is that you are still here, living, breathing, and you have a purpose. The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to live. Live so fully for them. Find happiness again even if it takes a long time. Live each and every day trying to find some sort of light even if it’s a small joy that you feel or a fleeting smile. Find a way to bring happiness back into your life and live for them. I like to think of all the joy they brought to my life and allow that to spark a fire within me to move forward, one day at a time.

    TRIGGER WARNING

    When I was little, I was told my grandfather died before I was born but I never knew how. I didn’t really understand death when I was little, and I never thought anything of asking about how he died. My grandma lived with me my whole life and she never brought it up until I was older. She would occasionally tell a funny story about him or show me their wedding photos but I never thought to ask. I knew he died when my mom was 13 and that is about all I knew.

    As I got older, my grandma decided to tell me what had happened. My grandma had the softest, wrinkly, veiny, little hands and she pulled me onto her lap on her big comfy blue chair, held me with those cute little hands of hers and told me the truth about my grandfather. My grandfather, whom I never met, took his own life in his own house while my mom was home. He had suffered from depression. I remember feeling extremely confused and I wondered how he could leave them behind. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I was still pretty young and didn’t really understand depression. As I got older, I knew so many people who suffered from depression and I also knew so many people who lost loved ones to suicide.

    Growing up, my grandma watched the movie “It’s a wonderful life” every Christmas and she always told me how it was her favorite movie. I had never cared at the time to watch it as it was black and white and I always wanted to watch the Grinch. It wasn’t until after my grandma passed away, in my senior year of high school, that I finally watched the movie and I cried. I understood why it was her favorite and why she chose to watch that movie over and over. If you haven’t seen the movie, (spoiler alert) it’s about a guy who thinks his family would be better off without him and he thinks about taking his own life. Before he does, an angel shows up and shows him how many lives he has impacted by living, how many people he has helped, and all the good he has done and he chooses not to go through with it. I believe she watched it over and over because she had always felt that she wished her husband could have known all the lives he impacted, all the good he had done.

    Suicide, has changed the way I speak around my mother about death. She was affected so deeply at such a young age that I am always careful of the words I choose. When my mother and all her siblings lost my grandfather, a lot of their community turned them away. They abandoned them because there was such a stigma around mental health. My mom had a boyfriend at that time. His mother, even banned her son from seeing my mom out of fear “she would have a disease too.” When I first heard about this I felt such disappointment. How could their community turn around on them when they needed it the most? My grandma was left to feed 5 kids alone while working three jobs and no one wanted to help because of fear.

    A few years ago, I lost another loved one to suicide. My brother introduced me to this amazing man that he would call his fiancé. He had this incredible energy that lit up every room. He really taught me to live life to the fullest. He had an amazing support system as well. There were tons of people that loved him. I remember getting that phone call and completely falling apart. I couldn’t grasp as to why these things happen. I couldn’t understand the pain that the people I loved would have to feel. I cherish all of the moments we had together and look back now with a smile at how he lived while he was here.

    Sometimes it feels like you ask yourself a million questions. “Is there anything I could have done?” You would drive yourself crazy if you asked yourself that because what ifs, should haves, and could haves, don’t matter. What does matter is that you are still here, living, breathing, and you have a purpose. The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to live. Live so fully for them. Find happiness again even if it takes a long time. Live each and every day trying to find some sort of light even if it’s a small joy that you feel or a fleeting smile. Find a way to bring happiness back into your life and live for them. I like to think of all the joy they brought to my life and allow that to spark a fire within me to move forward, one day at a time.

    I know so many people who have also lost so many to suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2017, there were 47,173 Americans that died by suicide. We put such a stigma on mental health that sometimes people are afraid to ask for help. We have to change the way we look at mental health issues and raise awareness about how common it is and how it is ok to ask for help. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be reduced with the proper mental health support and treatment. We should encourage those around us to ask for help when they need it.

    This members only challenge that we are having on Omstars starting on May 1st is to raise money and awareness for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Please join us in raising money and awareness for this amazing foundation whose mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. For every person who signs up to join the challenge, Omstars will be donating $1 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, up to $1000. Plus, you can win some amazing prizes from our generous sponsors, Omstars and In The Moment magazine, while spreading awareness for Suicide Prevention.

    During this 9 day challenge, each class is designed to target a different part of the body, or a different style of practice. These classes range from a warm-up/morning yoga class, to a core-focused class, and even to a restorative practice. Practice along each day for 9 days and share your pose of the day on Instagram with the hashtag #EverydayJoyOfYoga and help us spread awareness for Suicide Prevention. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a list of Warning signs and Risk factors. https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/

    If you or a loved one is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or text the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741

    By Kaitlyn Kreitzman

    Kaitlyn started practicing yoga in high school to combat the high demands of school work, sports, and life in New York. It was an on and off practice until college where she really became dedicated to making time on her mat daily. After realizing the amazing benefits of a yoga practice, and watching them become a reality in her life, Kaitlyn wanted to share this practice with others. She received her 200-hour RYT in 2015 from Urban Bliss Yoga In North Carolina. She taught on her college campus and in studios around the area of Fairfield Connecticut. After she graduated with a B.A. in Graphic Design and Illustration, she wanted to expand her knowledge of teaching and received her 500-hour RYT at Simplicity Yoga Studio in Long Island, New York. Kaitlyn now teaches and lives in Northwestern Colorado. She draws her inspiration for her classes from her everyday life. Kaitlyn’s classes focus on alignment, breath work, meditation, and yoga philosophy. She loves to help others take what they learn on the mat and incorporate it into their everyday lives. Kaitlyn works as the Social Media Manager, and Graphic Designer for Omstars. When she’s not teaching or practicing yoga, she enjoys camping, hiking, rock climbing, reading, and painting.

  • Challenge Update: Supporting Young Families in India

    Last year, Omstars teamed up with Sahara Rose and Bhakti Chai for the #EatLikeAYogi challenge. Through this challenge, we had a goal to raise funds for the non-profit organization, OneProsper, in effort to help them support young girls living in the Thar Desert of India. We are pleased to announce that through this incredible challenge, we were able to raise a total of $5,000 for OneProsper, which enabled them to sponsor 10 girls living in the Thar Desert of India.

    By March 2019, these girls will start attending school rather than walking 5-7 hours per day to collect water. This is an amazing feat, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our amazing community of yogis. Thank you so much for your helping us achieve this goal!

    One of the girls sponsored by OneProper is called Gita. At the beginning of the program, back in August of 2017, Gita would accompany her mother in walking hours each day in the searing desert heat to collect water.  Gita and her siblings frequently faced stomach pains as a result of drinking dirty water.  Together, this family lived in a basic shelter made from tree branches and four poles.  Most importantly, Gita was not able to attend school because she was busy helping her mother to collect water and complete chores.

    Thanks to your support, OneProsper has built a rainwater harvesting tank with a bio sand filter for Gita’s family.  Gita received a bicycle, school supplies and tuition to attend school. OneProsper provided Gita’s mother with seeds and training to grow crops for nutrition and income.

    Today, Gita’s life is filled with books.  She attends school on a daily basis thanks to a brand-new rainwater harvesting tank and bio sand filter. Free from walking hours to collect water, Gita’s mother has found work and is building a new home made of bricks. What a wonderful accomplishment for this beautiful family. We are so honored to have had the opportunity to support Gita and her family, plus the 9 others just like them.

    Unfortunately, this work is not over yet. There are countless other families out there, just like Gita’s, who need our support. Knowing this, Omstars has plans to team up with OneProsper for another challenge at some point this year. Stay tuned.

     

    By Alex Wilson &  Raju Agarwal

  • Clean Water for Over 300 Kids in Kolkata, India

    Thanks to Omstars, MiiR, and the 8,823 compassionate yogis who participated in the July 2018 #HandstandMechanicsChallenge, Splash will ensure clean water, hands and toilets for over 300 kids at two schools in Kolkata, India.

    It was during a trip to Seattle, Washington, that Kino first came across the flagship location of MiiR, a registered B-corporation that gives a portion of all sales to organizations with sustainable methods of empowerment, like Splash! Thus, the 3-way partnership between Omstars, MiiR and Splash was born!

    The two schools, Bastuhara Vidyapith Primary School and Jnanendu Siksha Niketan High School share a campus in Kolkata’s Tangra neighborhood, which is being rapidly transformed by population growth and construction. As a result, the property prices in this area are quite high, resulting in pockets of slums in between high-rise towers where many of the students live.

    The schools are not only situated close to the Dhapa landfill – the biggest dump in the city, which operates at unsustainable rates today – they also lack adequate infrastructure to provide their students with clean water. While water is widely available at school, it is typically contaminated with E. Coli and other water-borne illnesses. With 94% of schools in Kolkata lacking soap for handwashing and over 30% of toilets with no water for flushing or doors or locks for privacy it can be difficult for kids to stay healthy.

    This is where Splash comes in with its innovative WASH-in-Schools model that includes:

    1. Installing the enabling infrastructure, including water filtration systems, water storage to ensure access, handwashing and drinking water stations, and child-friendly sanitation facilities.
    2. Delivering behaviour change programs for children and adults. This includes training focal teachers through an engaging, activity-based curriculum and supporting them to instruct student hygiene clubs on how to engage their peers in positive behaviours, such as handwashing.
    3. Creating a WASH ecosystem to ensure programme sustainability. This includes co-investment from schools and government, operations and maintenance training for school janitorial staff, school incentives through recognition programs, engaging parents through soap drives, and building local supply chains to ensure availability of spare parts and repair services.
    4. Conducting routine monitoring and evaluationof project sites. To ensure continuous learning and program improvement, Splash conducts pre and post-intervention assessments at each school, followed by five years of routine monitoring, twice per year.

    Because of companies like MiiR and all of you caring, kind, and motivated yogis out there, together, we will be able to help hundreds of more kids stay healthy, excel in school, and unlock their full potential. With your support, kids at schools like Bastuhara Vidyapith and Jnanendu Siksha Niketan can thrive!

    Who is Splash?

    Splash believes that every child deserves to have clean water, clean hands, and clean toilets. Our goal is to improve the health and development of children living in urban poverty by implementing integrated water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs in high-density, child-serving institutions, like schools and orphanages. This work supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, and to reduce WASH inequalities between and within countries. 

    We target 100% of a child population—every orphanage in China and every public school in major cities like Kolkata, Addis Ababa, and Kathmandu—to demonstrate our WASH programs are adaptable, scalable, and sustainable. We work closely with local communities, encouraging governments and NGOs to replicate our model.  Splash turns philanthropy into a catalyst for long-term systemic change. The impact has been significant. Founded in 2007, Splash has already completed over 1,730 projects serving more than 428,000 kids in eight countries: China, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. We are on track to help one million kids have clean water, hands, and toilets by 2023. Follow Splash at: FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM You Tube

    Who is MiiR?

    MiiR is a drinkware company that designs modest products built on function and simplicity for daily use.  Every product is paired with a trackable give code that gives back 3% of revenue to clean water and health projects. MiiR exists to empower people with access to a better future

  • Be Brave and Bloom Your Worth

    “When we plant a rose seed in the Earth, we notice it is small, but we do not criticize it as rootless and stemless. We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the Earth we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped, nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand at wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change yet at each stage, at each moment it is whole as it is.”                        – W. Timothy Gallwey

    What does it mean to be mentally healthy? We know that it’s good to care for our physical health, but we hardly take notice to care for our mental well-being. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to see how I wasn’t an exception either. Anger, shame, and doubt overwhelmed me with anxiety and panic attacks affected my day to day life. Tired of the drain, I began to ask why I felt like this as the stories forgotten began to unravel.

    In a time where computer and smartphones virtually connect us something is missing. This aspect of our modern society is the silence of a seemingly total connection. What I’m talking about here is loneliness. Loneliness is at an all-time high amongst post-millennials. It’s such a problem that in England, there’s even an appointed Minister of Loneliness. The real connection is something that is missing. We’re relational beings, we need to be understood, and we can’t do that for ourselves. Contact is a necessity for a human being to heal so we need to be with other people.

    Social media is one of the primary ways people of our generation are connecting. Know that you have the freedom to choose your life. One should enjoy what they create, share, or post despite it getting out to the public. What if you posted something and no one took note of it, or no one watched it? Yes, it would suck, but the question is how much? Could you step back and say, “That was a great post even though the world doesn’t get it.” There may be some sadness, and that is normal. What’s not is letting your happiness depend on it. The need for validation is like a reflex we have to learn to undo.

    All self-worth issues stem from one thought, “I am not enough.” I am not enough without the things that I do to justify my existence here on this planet. I am not enough is the reason that most people who are alive today are running this endless rat race for achievement, trying to become more than they already are. Even people who in the field of spiritual endeavors, yoga, etc., has a motive for why they do it and may find themselves for chasing enlightenment. The pursuit of self-actualization stems from the belief that we aren’t enough as we are. You can’t look to anyone else to create it for you; it’s something you develop. Some of us may have been luckier than others; many may have had parents that reflected true self-worth to us, but it’s always an individual process.

    So how can we go about discovering our self-worth which will move us into self-esteem and the vibration of self-love?

    Ask yourself, “How am I enough?” So often we focus on what we aren’t instead of what we are.  If you focus on the lack you get nothing more than lack, so you have to take your attention off of your deficiencies. You have to shift into thoughts of appreciation for yourself.

    These qualities cannot develop if you’re still devaluing your own life. If you’re filling your life up with alcohol, no sleep, bad diets or contributing physically to feeling bad about yourself and your life, then you can’t step into the vibration of self-love, which is where self-worth resides. See where you may be creating a contradiction to self-esteem and self-love and work to incrementally release those habits and patterns so that your life can become a real reflection of someone who might love themselves or someone that might have value in their own identity.

    See what you think about your worth, not what you’ve been taught to believe. All that a belief is a thought that’s been thought over again and again so much so that it takes no effort to think that thought. That thought becomes a neuropathway, and the neuropathway takes charge to bring that thought forth into reality. That is the realm of the subconscious. When you find these limiting beliefs, you have to figure out where they came from. Chase them back to their origin, the circumstance, or an adult in your life when you were a child. You’ve got to be able to leave that belief to whom it belongs too. It’s not your belief; it’s something you adopted. Once you leave it there, you have to replace it with new thoughts. Use your mind and send it on a scavenger hunt for what you’d like to believe better and look for proof of your worth. Create a situation where you tell your brain to look for the aspects it can appreciate, which add to the idea of self-worth and reinforce any belief that you are trying to replace. New neuropathways will begin to form to those new thoughts and pretty soon it will take no effort to think them. By choosing an original idea to feel, a better feeling thought, your overall vibration will change.

    Another technique you can use is meditating on core affirming thoughts. Pick something that is relative to you and repeat it as a mantra and you sink into the vibration of the words. Choose something relative to where you are. To go from “I hate myself” to the opposite ” I love myself” would be a personal assault on your intelligence because instead of making you feel good it’s pointing out to you all the places you don’t love yourself. So it’s imperative to choose an affirmation which you do line up with, meaning you do believe.

    You might instead think, “I value myself because I care.” That thought may feel good to think and something that all of you resonates. The more you keep choosing better feelings and thoughts, pretty soon down the line you can say, “I love myself,” and mean it. There won’t be any hesitation when you repeat that affirmation.

    Water molecules change based on what it’s around and we, being human, are 70+ percent H2O. Good practice for when you’re going to drink or eat something. For example with a glass of water, hold the glass and focus true appreciation to that water. Generate the emotion of love into that water. The longer, the better and yes drink that water! By making this a daily practice, you will be restructuring the water of your own body. Your internal water, which has been poisoned with thoughts of self-depreciation and criticism, diminish your sense of self-worth. This powerful practice as you may notice the considerable discordance of vibration from what you’ve been feeding to your body over years and years. After a few months of this, you may then be ready to take on core affirming thought without feeling guilty about saying them. This practice can be one of the most life changing things that you can interject into your day to day life.

    I desire that you talk your way into your own beliefs about worth. I desire that those beliefs are of a benefit to you and never a limit to you.

    Now I’m going to share with you about value concerning how the Universe sees it.

    Worth is inherent.

    You are an extension of Source

    You are born with worth and die with worth

    All anything in this life is, either an obscurer or an allower of that light which is inherently yours.

    Your worth is like a light. Anything you do in your life is nothing but a showcase of that light. If it’s a beneficial thing you are doing or some success which you have achieved, all that is, is like a stained glass, which is allowing that light to express itself in beautiful ways. And anything you’ve done, anybody you’ve hurt in this life, anything you don’t feel proud of is nothing but filament in front of that light. The light is always there. At your core, you are unique, eternal, infinite, precious, valuable and kind person. You are in other words, an endless sea of potential, which is entirely unchanging, you can’t add to it, and you cannot take away from it. You have as much worth and potential today as you did when you were born, and you will have as much worth and potential the day you die as when you were born. Your worth didn’t go anywhere, and you can’t get rid of or lose something that’s eternal. Talent is not worth. It’s not worth in and of itself. An ability is an expression of worth, which is inherent in all beings, no matter how small, no matter how large, no matter how much good or evil that they’ve done in their life. The reality is that worth is eternal. There is no way you can get rid of it. There is no way you can even add to it. You can either showcase it or hide it.

    Remember that you are lovely. You would be of infinite worth also if all you did for the rest of your life were to sit in a vegetable state. You do not need to justify your life. You don’t need to defend yourself to yourself or anyone. You are precisely enough as you are, at this very moment, and every moment.

    This subject is a relatively emotional one for me, I’m saying as how I’ve struggled with self-worth so much, and I understand what can come from really finding it. When you focus towards yourself and others with an attitude of searching what to appreciate, instead of what to condemn, you will come to know this worth that is inherently yours. You will come to know joy for the first time. And this is my desire for all of you. This is my desire for all people on this Earth.

    If you relate to this anyway I invite you to join me and my co-hosts for #ThisismybraveYogis, a FREE, 7-day exciting yoga challenge.

    This Is My Brave is a is a mental health non-profit organization. Their mission is to end the stigma of mental health issues. They share personal stories of individuals living successful, full lives despite mental illness. (more info here)

    We will explore a variety of topics through postures and open the dialogue to finding our purpose in stressful situations. Be supported in a community with other like-minded individuals. Share it with friends and family, so we can all join together in support of connection, openness, and understanding.

    Sign up now and join the challenge today!

    By Danielle Hicks

    Find Danielle on Instagram @el.feather.yoga, Facebook, or online.

    Join The Challenge Now

     

  • Providing Clean Water To Children Around The World

    You may have noticed that so far, throughout 2018, OMstars has been supporting several causes that we believe will help make our world a better place. When Kino first dreamed OMstars up, she wanted it to be so much more than just an online yoga channel with videos we could all enjoy. Kino’s vision for OMStars was to create a platform that would give students the opportunity to practice yoga and do more good for the world. That’s why each of the challenges we host are associated with carefully chosen causes that are all focused on making the world a better place. We recently partnered with MiiR in an effort to support an organization called Splash and their mission to bring clean water to children around the world. Get to know a little more about these two organizations, their relationship, and how they work to make a difference in the world every day.

    MiiR was founded in 2010 with the idea that philanthropy could be integrated into the daily course of business, a concept novel for its time. Founder and CEO Bryan Papé sought to innovate a drinkware line that would contribute to solving the clean water crisis in addition to providing a sustainable alternative to bottled water consumption.

    Today, MiiR gives 3% of revenue to established, best in class nonprofits with an aim to empower people with access to a better future. Our partner organizations create sustainable giving projects in the clean water, health and food sectors that address both domestic and international issues. In total we have granted close to $650,000 and empowered the lives of 100,000+ people worldwide, and invite our customers to follow along in our journey of generosity by registering the Give Code™ associated with their MiiR product.

    MiiR and Splash first partnered in November 2016 with a $40,000 grant to benefit 1,200 students (and thousands more in future years) across nine schools in Kathmandu, Nepal. Splash achieved full WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) intervention at all nine schools with water filtration systems and increased water access points, sanitation improvements and hygiene education for lasting behavioral change. So quickly and efficiently was Splash able to accomplish this work that we issued a second grant for $15,000 in February 2017 to benefit another 350 students in four schools.

    MiiR’s clean water footprint with Splash has since expanded beyond Nepal to Ethiopia, China and India. After a year and a half of working together, we consider Splash to be one of our core partners, sharing in a symbiotic relationship with deep organizational alignment around integrity, transparency and innovation. In an ongoing collaborative capacity, both companies do what we do best, spanning the for-profit and non-profit sectors, to achieve a greater social and environmental impact.

    Splash is in the “business” of clean water, clean hands and clean toilets for kids living in urban poverty. With a greater than 99% success rate and a commitment to transparency by making their project results available to the public, Splash’s story is one MiiR easily and readily shares, and with good reason. Today, Splash serves those most vulnerable to death by water-borne illness to the tune of more than 400,000 children in eight countries, and is on track to reach one million by 2023!

    Splash doesn’t shy away from setting lofty goals, one of them being to reach every public school in Kolkata, India with the trifecta of clean water, clean hands and clean toilets. With the urban density of the city having exceeded more than three times that of New York City, this is by no means easy work. Yet progress is being made, with Splash serving 40,113 children in India daily.  

    MiiR and Splash were so excited to be part of the OMstars Challenge and to partner with Kino.  It will take all of us working together to move the needle on clean water.

    Share by our friends at MiiR

    Photo Credit @GavinGough

    Explore Products from MiiR

    Learn More About Splash

     

  • Make A Donation & Download Your Free Class

     Together we rise Ashtanga Yoga Dispatch

     Because ONE doesn’t mean the same. Uniformity is not COMMUNITY. And LOVE does not come with rules and borders.

    Oh, the irony! 
     
    Last Monday, I wrote about the dangers of tribalism. And now, this week the moon has been full and I’m back with an opposite message – of the powerful difference a tribe can make when we unite, for good.
     
    You see, it all started last week when I woke up to yet more distressing images of frightened children, being torn from their parents at our border. Thousands of them. My heart hurt. 
     
    But by the next morning, my despair was replaced with an idea. What if I put together … 
     
    Well, within 24 hours of putting out an all-call to the community, I had more teachers volunteering to participate than there are poses in primary series! And by Saturday, I had the voices of 39 different teachers, from around the world, each leading their own small part. Only when put together, the result is anything but small! In fact, this class is a beautiful example of a tribe coming together in a powerful way – uniting our voices and practice – to create the good that we crave.
     
    Of course, I knew there would be variances. And not just in voice, but in style and pace. I even knew that, based on when they learned the series and from who they learned it from – there would be other noticeable differences. To which, I thought – Good!
     
    Because ONE doesn’t mean the same.
    Uniformity is not COMMUNITY.
    And LOVE does not come with rules and borders.
     
    Quite frankly, you and I don’t practice yoga to build walls. Just the opposite. And yet, division – even within our own yoga community – runs deep. But not this time. Not in this class. And not for this cause. Because the bigger irony turns out to be this: In reaching out to help heal others, it becomes US we end up helping to heal.
     
    And so I hope you will join the 39 teachers and me – along with students around the world – as we rise together, in practice. In healing. And in love.
     
     
    Thank you for caring and for your generosity. And thank you to the teachers below, for being our guiding, shining light.
     
    For the children.
    P.S. You can also help by sharing this message on Facebook and Instagram, or forwarding to friends. Thank you again

    By Peg Mulqueen

    Peg Mulqueen is the founder of Ashtanga Dispatch, a global and inclusive community, bringing together teachers and students devoted to the eight-limbed practice of yoga.
    Peg Mulqueen from Ashtanga Yoga Dispatch
    FUNDAMENTAL POSTURES:
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