’tis the season for giving and karma yoga

Did you know that two-thirds of the 45 million blind people in the world are female, yet women receive less than half of eye care services?

The Kilimanjaro Center for Community Ophthalmology in Moshi, Tanzania (KCCO), supported by the Seva Foundation, was to be the recipient of the money I was going to collect from each western participant in my Yoga Adventure in Africa in February. KCCO’s programs are improving eye care services throughout eastern Africa, a region with 210 million people in 18 countries spanning from Egypt to South Africa.

The cost of the retreat was $1,108.00 and I was taking $108 from each westerner for the Seva Foundation. It was hoped that the founders of the clinic, Dr. Paul Courtright and Dr. Susan Lewallen, would be able to give us a tour of the facility. I thought it was a win-win situation for everyone involved…yoga + meditation + buddhadharma + seva under the African sky.

But no one signed up.

At least no one from the West. I sent my announcement to over 100 people around the United States, advertised it on Facebook and Twitter, and put an ad in a Chicagoland yoga magazine that has a circulation of over 20,000. The Seva Foundation put an announcement on their website’s home page. But not one person showed any interest in spite of the charitable component of the retreat. Fortunately my retreat was filled by Arusha yoga students within two days. I think it filled so quickly because they thought it would be filled by Americans because of my heavy advertising and they wouldn’t be able to get in. But the donations were going to come from American yogis.

Seane Corn’s organization Off the Mat and Into the World has a Global Seva Project in Uganda and Seane’s seva challenge fundraiding total to date is $493,531.15. That’s almost half a million dollars.

I would have been very happy to be able to donate a mere $1,080 if 10 Americans had signed up for my retreat. That amount would have meant a lot for the Moshi clinic. I tried taking my yoga off the mat and into the world, but I’m neither a famous yogini nor do I have celebrity endorsements. I guess that’s what people pay attention to nowadays even in the yoga world. Hey, Paris and Lindsay! I have a yoga cause you can endorse!

I would be a liar if I said I was not disappointed with the lack of response. It was not the lack of registrants that disappointed me because believe me, I get it about not being able to afford something (I’ve curtailed my yoga spending this year in order to be away for two months), but the fact that not one person donated one thin dime.

So I am giving people one last chance up until December 31, 2009. My yoga sister Svasti suggested that I ask my global blog readers to donate. This is what she told me:

“There’s a couple of reasons I’ve been thinking about this. First, the consumerism of Christmas always sickens me, even as I play my small part in the game. Second, I’ve been thinking about hobbits. Not sure if you’ve read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, but hobbits have a tradition of giving presents to their friends for their birthday. Which I’ve always thought was kinda cool. Then finally, I just got my copy of Yoga of the Heart. I’ve only watched a little bit of it so far, but I’ve heard enough. Swami Satyananda talking about how if we can take care of the people who need it most, it will solve a lot of problems in society.

And there’s no reason for anyone in the western world who can afford to house, clothe and feed themselves, not to support a charity that helps other people.”

Maybe those of you who are thinking about buying those yoga pants that cost almost $100 could forego them and donate that money to the Moshi eye clinic. We’re talking karma yoga here. Talking the talk and walking the walk.

Svasti is right. There is absolutely no reason in the world for any western yogi who can afford $100 for yoga pants not to support an organization that gives the gift of sight to an African.

This is how it will work:

There is a Paypal button in the sidebar. In the description you will type “KCCO Moshi, Tanzania” and donate an appropriate amount…let’s say, the price of those hand painted yoga pants you’ve had your eye on. Then you will trust me enough to send all that money to the Seva Foundation before I leave on January 6. I will also take a photo of my check made out to the Seva Foundation and upload it to a blog post thanking you for your donations.

OR…

You can donate directly to the Seva Foundation. You will email Julie Nestingen, the Development Manager, at jnestingen AT seva DOT org, and tell her that you want your money to specifically go to the Kilimanjaro Center for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO). Tell her that in lieu of going on my yoga adventure, you are donating money instead. I am sure she will be happy to take your money and send you a receipt for your taxes.

It’s called compassion in action. And it begins with you.

(NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT DONATE MONEY TO MY PAYPAL ACCOUNT AFTER DECEMBER 31 BECAUSE I WILL OUT OF THE COUNTRY FOR TWO MONTHS. PLEASE DONATE DIRECTLY TO THE SEVA FOUNDATION AFTER DECEMBER 31. THANK YOU!)

Seva Foundation banner

Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

(Thank you and metta to you! Also a big thanks to the yoga bloggers who helped advertise this retreat — you know who you are!)

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decisions, decisions….

Hmmmm….should I blog about teaching in Tanzania to global yogis….

…or totally disappear once I hit India…no blogging, no Facebook updates, no tweets (which I’m beginning to think tweeting is a huge waste of time anyway.)

The Yoga Adventure in Africa is sold out — but no one from here (USA) is going. Too outside the box and (I’m assuming) too expensive to get to Africa. That is too bad because that means no money whatsoever for the eye clinic in Moshi, Tanzania (except my donation.) I had hoped that enough people from here would have signed up to give Seva $1,080.00. I sent my business newsletter announcing the trip to over 100 people all over the country. YogaChicago magazine (where I placed my ad) has a circulation of over 25,000 readers. A few bloggers (you know who you are! thank you again!) wrote about the trip. In spite of all that, no American takers.

However, within two days of an email announcement, a dozen people from the Tanzanian yoga community signed up. We only have room for 15, so that’s 12, my friend who organized it, her friend who owns the property where I will teach, and me. Full…and me bringing yin yoga to Africa. Paul Grilley told me, “you go, girl!” I’m global, baby.

A friend told me I might fall in love with Africa the way I did with India. I’m not ruling it out…because I’ve asked Maithri if I could teach yoga to HIV/AIDS patients in Swaziland.

Hmmmmm….I like going off the grid….

I step onto the plane in 60 days.


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karma yoga in Tanzania, Africa

I borrowed this fabulous photo of Mt. Meru from Miss S and her blog Yoga, Dogs, and Chocolate. Miss S was kind enough to help spread the word about my Yoga Adventure in Africa. I was overwhelmed that someone who has never met me could write these words: “Linda is an old soul, peaceful and living in the light. She really has a way of making you feel good and know that no matter what is going on everything is going to be OK.”

Thank you and much metta to you, Miss S. I will say again that it overwhelms me to receive the support from global yogis ever since I started writing this blog (and you know who you are!) I am blessed.

Much more important to me is that if you attend this yoga experience of a lifetime, YOU WILL ALSO LITERALLY HELP PEOPLE TO SEE because $108 of your yoga payment will be donated to the Seva Foundation for their eye clinic in Moshi, Tanzania.

YOU WILL GIVE PEOPLE
THE GIFT OF VISION

That’s compassion in action. That’s karma yoga. If 10 people attend this yoga camp, that’s $1,080.00 donated to the eye clinic. Do you know how far $1,080.00 will go in Africa?

What are you waiting for?

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selling myself

As per Svasti’s suggestion that I should ask people to spread the word about my Yoga Adventure in Africa…I am asking you to spread the word. All of you who are regular readers of this blog and the yoga bloggers on my blogroll, please help spread the word about my yin-yang yoga weekend in Arusha, Tanzania. This yogini of a certain age is bustin’ out of Middle America and going global, baby.

Dear Svasti was the first one to help advertise this on her blog and on Twitter.

Yes, I know in this global economy that yoga funds are limited but they say if you’re going to dream, dream big, so I’m dreaming big. The fact is that there are always people with disposable income even in crunch times, they just have to find me.

The genesis of this trip is thus: I was asked to teach there. I met Pat at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in 2005 when we both did the month-long intensive. She said that traveling yoga teachers are few and far between in Arusha so could I come teach to the ex-pat yoga community. We kept in touch but the timing was never right for me. Now it is and all things happen for a reason. Here is what I’m offering:

SCHEDULE:

Friday afternoon: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation

Saturday morning: Yin + Yang practice + meditation (2.5 hours)

Saturday afternoon: Yin practice + meditation (2 hours)

Saturday evening dharma talk:

Buddha’s Four Foundations of Mindfulness as they apply to your yoga practice

Sunday: same schedule as Saturday

YOGA DESCRIPTION:

We will explore both practices of passive (yin) and active (yang) yoga. Yin yoga consists of long-held poses (3-5 minutes) focusing on the connective tissue of the hips, pelvis, and spine. We will passively stretch the tendons and ligaments in order to unblock and distribute chi (prana) throughout the meridians (nadis), clearing blockages, and helping to balance our organ and meridian systems for our general health. This powerful practice opens your body and enlivens your mind for meditation. A slow flow vinyasa class follows the yin practice visiting the poses that you already love. You will relish the extra space cultivated in the yin poses as you discover a new sense of freedom and grace in yang movement. Recommended for students of all levels with a “beginner’s mind”, and is especially recommended for athletes and all “stiff” yogis! An open mind, rather than an open body, will deepen the experience of this profound and powerful practice.

This is truly a yoga experience of a lifetime because after the yoga weekend there will be two safari options available for you. If a safari is not your thing, book five days at the Blue Oyster Hotel on Zanzibar (and who does not want to say that they chilled out on Zanzibar?) BEFORE the yoga weekend and you’ll get a 10% discount off 2010 prices (proof of retreat participation must be shown at check-in.) Complete details and safari prices are available here.

Most importantly, this trip involves seva. $108 of your yoga payment will be donated to the Seva Foundation to help support their eye clinic in Moshi, Tanzania. If you come on this yoga adventure you will literally HELP PEOPLE TO SEE.

It’s always been extremely difficult for me to market myself (I need an agent!) When I did my first website it took me 6 months to just write about me. The bottom line is that yoga in the west is big business and I need to get my name out there. Look at any of your favorite big-time yogis and they are not shy about marketing themselves and putting what they offer out there. They also have people who are more than willing to help spread their words.

It’s my time after all these years. According to Wikipedia, Arusha is also the Hindi word for the rising sun. There are no coincidences.

So if you want to help a yoga gal out, spread the word. I’ve already spent $512 on a half-page ad in a local yoga magazine, I need to make back some dough!

(thanks!)

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stay in paradise before your yoga adventure

I have exciting news to sweeten the yoga adventure in Africa pot!

To chill out after the craziness of the Kumbh Mela and before Tanzania, I will engage in some island time on Zanzibar.

The Blue Oyster Hotel will graciously give Yoga Adventure in Africa participants a 10% discount off 2010 prices when you book for a minimum of 5 nights BEFORE the retreat. The Blue Oyster is a small family-style hotel directly adjacent to the white sandy beach of Jambiani, picturesquely surrounded by coconut palms…

Mention “METTA YOGA” and you get the discount. There are only three or four sea view rooms and two courtyard rooms available for this time period so act fast! This discount is available to Yoga Adventure in Africa participants ONLY — proof of retreat participation must be shown at Blue Oyster check-in.

There ya have it, yoga peeps — you have their choice of a beach paradise BEFORE and/or a safari AFTER.

This is a yoga experience of a life-time…a yoga camp with international yogis, visit a Masai village, and help support an eye clinic. For complete details, visit Metta Yoga: Mind-Body Education.

See you in paradise.


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no turning back now

There’s no turning back now from METTA YOGA’S YOGA ADVENTURE IN AFRICA, February 26-27-28, 2010.

This is the ad that will appear in the September-October issue of Yoga Chicago magazine.

For complete details about the yoga camp and two safari options, see here.

A Midwest winter can be rather brutal, at least it can be in the Chicago area. So you have your choice: a Chicago winter or OMing in a private acacia forest under the African sky.

YOGA + MEDITATION + BUDDHADHARMA + SEVA UNDER THE AFRICAN SKY

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your yoga adventure in Africa!

It’s not too early to start planning for your YOGA ADVENTURE IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA, February 26-27-28, 2010!

SCHEDULE:

Friday night: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation (90 minutes)

Saturday morning: Yin + Yang practice + meditation (2.5 hours)

Saturday late afternoon/evening: Yin practice + meditation (2 hours)

Saturday night dharma talk:

Buddha’s Four Foundations of Mindfulness as they apply to your yoga practice

Sunday: same schedule as Saturday

YOGA DESCRIPTION:

We will explore both practices of passive (yin) and active (yang) yoga. Yin yoga consists of long-held poses (3-5 minutes) focusing on the connective tissue of the hips, pelvis, and spine. We will passively stretch the tendons and ligaments in order to unblock and distribute chi (prana) throughout the meridians (nadis), clearing blockages, and helping to balance our organ and meridian systems for our general health. This powerful practice opens your body and enlivens your mind for meditation. A slow flow vinyasa class follows the yin practice visiting the poses that you already love. You will relish the extra space cultivated in the yin poses as you discover a new sense of freedom and grace in yang movement. Recommended for students of all levels with a “beginner’s mind”, and is especially recommended for athletes and all “stiff” yogis! An open mind, rather than an open body, will deepen the experience of this profound and powerful practice.

COST: $1,108.00 (USD)

$108 from every participant will be donated to the SEVA FOUNDATION in Berkeley, California to help support the Kilimanjaro Center for Community Ophthalmology in Moshi, Tanzania. Please read about Improving Eye Care in Africa. The Seva Foundation will make a hospital tour available on Monday for all interested participants.

The yoga camp will be set up by Mike Peterson of Dorobo Safaris. Dorobo Safaris are considered by many to be the best ecotourism outfit in the safari circuit. Your yoga adventure will take place at Dorobo’s campsite on their land and they will provide tents, shower and toilet facilities and all meals, tea/coffee, beer and wine in the evening. Yoga will be conducted in an open sided shelter in a beautiful Acacia forest. Massage and reiki sessions will also be available at extra cost. Your $1,108.00 covers food, lodging, yoga teaching, and donation to Seva Foundation. Participants will arrive in Arusha and transfer to the Olasiti Camp on Thursday, February 25, 2010. Camp will break the morning of March 1 when two safari options will be available for you on March 2.

Go to Metta Yoga: Mind-Body Education to see complete details about the safari options available and prices, my yoga bio, and testimonials.

Prices listed DO NOT include airfare to Tanzania, Africa.

THIS EVENT IS LIMITED TO 15 PARTICIPANTS

This is a once in a lifetime yoga experience! Don’t miss it!

Can I get the help of my blogger friends to pass this information along to all interested yoga peeps?

Yoga + meditation + buddhadharma + seva: what more could anyone want?




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