Open Yoga Outreach is a project to give back to the world. It grew out of a desire to assist our neighbours in Japan to recover from the emotional damage caused by the triple disasters of 2011. We view this as an opportunity to bring the healing benefits of yoga to a community that is in need. The effects of the March 2011 events will continue to affect the entire world for years, and perhaps generations to come. Yoga gives us some useful tools that can be used to overcome the emotional scars that traumatic events leave with us. Apart from the well documented physical benefits, most people who have experienced yoga have probably also experienced the emotional and pyschological benefits. Many people speak of how yoga gave them a certain calmness and peace of mind that they were only able to achieve through yoga practices. Others have discovered that yoga can bring a greater sense of life purpose, or a feeling of connectedness with others. It is this connectedness that has prompted us to begin this project. It is our sincere desire to share this powerful, life changing practice with as many people as are willing to receive it.
Open Yoga is a new project. It was founded by Robert McGuinness (whose blog you are reading). I have been an enthusiastic yogi for over 10 years, an instructor for around 1 year and have been coordinating yoga classes for more than 2 years (as of November 2012). I have many connections within the yoga world in Japan, and am developing this project in conjunction with some of them. We are very fortunate to have support from many yogis all around the world, including some famous teachers and of course many non yogis.
We have in the past, held charity yoga classes and other events (under the name 'Prana Yoga') in order to raise money for other charities working in the Tohoku area. These activities added to the positive efforts of other people, and while we are proud of this, we were a little frustrated that our actions did not provide direct hands on support. Wanting to do something more proactive we began looking at ways that we could help. Yoga seemed perfect, but posed several obstacles.
The first obstacle was that yoga was seen by many as not being a necessity, and therefore might be more of a hinderance than a help. After speaking with government and community groups in the areas affected, we found that this was not in fact the case and that our concept was received with greater enthusiasm than we had anticipated. We are continuing to work with these groups to ensure that our efforts are a best fit for the needs of the people we aim to service.
Our next obstacle was how to implement our project. There are a number of yoga schools and teachers who are actively travelling to the Tohoku area and providing free yoga classes. Wanting to focus on the benefits of a long term, committed practice, and not wanting to double up, we decided to look at ways to create a more sustainable project.
Wanting to create a sustainable yoga project for the Tohoku area of Japan, we decided to create a series of classes and materials that could be taught to aspiring instructors currently based in the affected areas. These classes can then be taught on a weekly or daily basis, directly in the target areas, and supported by materials such as DVDs, lesson and pose guides and Internet posts. We are currently at the stage of completing these materials. Once complete, we plan to deliver and teach the materials directly, thereby implementing a sustainable course that can be added to over time.
We are in need of support for this project. The more outside support we get, the greater our outreach. It is our plan to continue this project in other areas of the world that can benefit from it. If you would like to contribute something towards this project, feel free to contact us. We are currently working on a webpage, so at this stage the best way to contact us is via our founder, Robert McGuinness. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org