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I was recently contacted by a journalist in NYC who was working on an article about Yoga To the People and donation-based yoga. I teach several weekly “pay-what-you-wish” hatha yoga classes in Montréal, on a volunteer basis, and I have a strong belief in the practice. I responded with an enthusiastic email, and here are the pieces that made it into the final article:

Donation-based yoga sits within a mesh of cultural movements such as slow-food and simple living that emphasize community over pseudo-individualistic brand-identification, simplicity over complication, and frugality over excess. Canadian yoga writer and instructor Roseanne Harvey started teaching a donation-based yoga class at a local community mission in 2007. “I saw that yoga was presented with very little diversity: the predominant images were of white, fit women between the ages of 25 and 35. So I wanted to offer an alternative to the dominant cultural story.”

Harvey, who writes a yoga blog, says a second, pay-what-you-wish class attracts more students and artists. “I was just responding to something that I saw around me. I follow and am familiar with the slow food and simple living movements, though I’m more influenced by the anti-consumerism and DIY movements.” [via Otherground NY]

As I told the journalist, I love the idea of donation-based yoga tying in with cultural movements such as slow food and simple living. It’s clear that donation-based yoga is not in line with the way that yoga is marketed and presented in our culture, and it may not have appeal to mainstream yoga practitioners (especially since yoga seems to have become almost a status symbol associated with an affluent, white demographic). I also feel that yoga has a lot to offer people who are trying to live more simple and conscious lives ~ it has a subtle awareness-enhancing effect on people. Practicing yoga also provides a common experience for people and encourages communities to grow. Read the rest of this entry »

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