10 Ways You Can Use Yoga to Support Yourself and Your Community
I spent a lot of time researching and reflecting on local environmental non-profits since April is also considered Earth month. I felt inspired to share a variety of easy ways that you can incorporate more yoga into your life and also support non-profit organizations.
Most of us think of yoga as the physical or asana part of practice but there are actually many ways to practice multiple forms of yoga beyond your mat!
The 4 Paths of Yoga
The practice of yoga can be divided into 4 different types or paths. These paths are not separate, but are interrelated like an outdoor trail system with multiple paths to explore. Sometimes these paths cross or intersect or merge together during your own unique journey journey.
Karma Yoga = Action. Every action we take has a corresponding reaction on the world around us. Basically, good intentioned actions are likely to equal good reactions in return. You get back what you give!
Jñana Yoga = Knowledge. This is the most philosophical path in which you learn and ponder new perspectives, practices and theories. The more you know, the more you grow!
Bhakti Yoga = Devotion. This is gratitude and love for creation, the universe, God, whatever you want to call it. This includes humans, animals and all of nature. It’s all good!
Raja Yoga = Self-Discipline. Also called The Royal Path, this a personal practice that includes self-awareness, self-love, self-reflection, asana (physical practice of poses), meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises). How and what you practice will shift over time and that’s totally ok. You do you!
These paths are not separate, but are interrelated like an outdoor trail system with multiple paths. Sometimes these paths cross or intersect or merge together during your journey.
10 Ways to Support Yourself, Your Community & Conservation
Attend Meetings, Gatherings & Events (Jñana Yoga)
Learn new things that will increase your awareness of challenges in your community and what you can do to solve them. Learning is a lifelong practice and is important for our mental longevity and social needs. It also increases empathy and compassion when you interact with real people and hear real stories instead of just reading about statistics.
Make donations (Karma Yoga)
If you’re super busy with work, kids and life in general, non-profits always appreciate monetary donations. Certain organizations also appreciate donations of food, clothing and other items. I prefer supporting smaller, local organizations comprised of people in my community vs. behemoth organizations with lots of overhead and less transparency.
Become a member (Bhakti Yoga)
Do some research and then pick one or two local organizations that you feel you are able to dedicate time and energy to support. Sometimes it’s free to join but often there is a small investment of time, money or special training to become a member. This is a great way to connect with others that are passionate about the same causes and you have some accountability from others to help you follow through.
Subscribe to newsletters (Bhakti/Jñana Yoga)
Email lists are a critical way for organizations to communicate with their constituents and grow their community. The size of a group’s email list may contribute to acquiring government or grant funding. This is the best and most efficient way to find out what’s going on with your charitable groups.
Volunteer (Karma Yoga)
Create and share some good vibes and give you that warm fuzzy feeling for selflessly helping other people, animals and the environment. Another great way to meet and interact with people with common interests outside of work.
Fundraise (Karma Yoga)
There are so many ways to participate in local fundraisers or start your own. Sign up for a 5K, sell or buy goods at a local market, contribute to an online campaign or attend fundraising classes or events. You can utilize your own skills to teach a class or host an event and donate the proceeds. There are also tons of websites where you can set up or support fundraising initiatives including: Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and many more.
Sign petitions (Bhakti/Karma)
It is easier than ever to show your support for important causes by taking a few seconds to sign a petition or send an email online. You can search for existing things you are passionate about or start your own! Some of the most popular petition websites are The Petition Site, Go Petition, Change.org and Causes
Follow/share/participate in social media content (Karma Yoga)
Like and follow your favorite organizations on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This will help you and others discover and share their events and increase public awareness about what they do.
Mindfulness of your own actions (Raja Yoga)
Use what you learn from local non-profits and apply it to your own daily life. Reduce, reuse, recycle, consume less, give more.
Meditation/Journaling/Self-Reflection (Raja Yoga)
After you attend an event or volunteer, write about any insights you had and how it made you feel and ways it can positively impact your life in a journal. Or you can dedicate your asana (physical) yoga practice or meditation practice to the cause.
Which path or yoga or technique listed here appeals most to you? Let me know in the comments below.
Namaste & Have A Great Day!