I recently started teaching an outreach class through Yoga Seed Collective a non-profit studio on the 1400 Block of E street in Midtown Sacramento. I teach at-risk teens one day a week at a charter school called Heritage Peaks in Oak Park. The Yoga Seed handled all the paperwork, got me in there teaching immediately and got me paid.
The first time I walked into the studio, I knew there was something unique about this place. The room is large with exposed beams, it feels old and solid, very peaceful. I attended a class called All Bodies, and it is exactly that. There were people recovering from injuries, obese people, young, old, all colors, shapes and sizes. The class was slow and methodical, but rigorous at the same time. It was also what you might call an open dialogue class, where people were free to ask questions or make observations. I loved it when ML, the teacher said something to the effect of “we are not trying to wrap our leg around our head, we are trying to prevent slipping in the shower.”
The thing is, most yoga studios are trying to turn a profit. So while they employ the gentlest form of capitalism, there is still a tension there between wanting to offer the community a service and making money. We all wish we could rise above the system but we all have to pay the rent.
The difference with Yoga Seed is that the money comes from donors, big or small, so whoever wants to practice, can. It’s kind of like, dare I say it, socialized healthcare, where those who can pay in, do, and those who can’t still get care.
The team of people who work there are not just good teachers, they are advocates. Yoga is the platform for a larger social awareness. They teach in the prison, at rehab centers, they even offer a class to the employees at the Department of Education.
I’m impressed by this approach because it loosens the financial grip that prohibits a lot of people from practicing. I’m also thrilled to be a part of the goal, in my small way.