The most pivotal point in any yogi’s journey is the moment we learn to take our practice with us when we leave the mat- to employ the many lessons learned through asana and meditation in our everyday lives. A step further than that is living our practice with the pure intention of sharing it with others.
Myself and two fellow members of Yogis In Service took a little road-trip to Nazareth college for a workshop presented by The Rochester Yoga Service Network entitled Yoga Service Immersion: Heart and Soul Seva. Leading this workshop was Carla Giambrone, an absolutely brilliant yogi and researcher who has a way of enrapturing her audience through her passion and enthusiasm. Upon arrival, we were greeted warmly as representatives of Yogis In Service and settled onto our mats to begin the workshop. The first thing Carla asked of attendees was to reflect in our journals- Why were we here? What did we hope to take away from this workshop? Word for word I wrote “ I will go to anything with the word ‘yoga’ in it, and I have no idea what I hope to take away from this workshop.” Insightful, right?
Carla led us through a vigorous Power Yoga flow, leaving us dripping in sweat, but also grounded and open. It was an effective way to bring everyone to the present moment, settled and ready to work. Carla shared a little about her research and findings regarding yoga as a tool to be shared in order to promote health, healing, and wellbeing, before splitting us into groups based on the populations we wished to serve. We were given the opportunity to share our stories- why we were drawn to particular populations (children, senior citizens, adult women, or trauma survivors), and how and why we felt yoga could serve them. Following this discussion, we were paired off and asked to perform a variety of partner activities that required strength, trust, balance, and compromise to be successful. A particularly powerful activity followed this; to me, it was the highlight of the session. We were asked to stand and face our partners, and spent the next twenty minutes learning the difference between being a “YES” and a “NO.” We practiced being in each, and observed our partner’s very physical reactions to the energy we presented them with. Carla utilized these activities along with her LEAN® Coaching Method to teach us the three most important themes of providing yoga as a service – “Be Clear. Be Centered and Grounded. Be Consistent.”
The afternoon ended with a moment of quiet reflection, just as it began. This time however, my words were very different- “I am here because I want to serve others through yoga. I am so grateful to be leaving this workshop with a sense of purpose.” Carla Giambrone, together with The Rochester Yoga Service Network, presented a powerful and educational workshop that clearly had an impact on every person in attendance. We learned how to show up for ourselves, as well as how to most effectively be in service to others by using our practice as a vehicle for spreading love and change.
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
Article by Marissa Bland