It is common for the heart to be referred to in almost any yoga class. We heart-opening yoga poses, we breathe into and around the heart, we may have a heart-centered sequence.
With so much focus on this area, it becomes difficult to live a life that isn’t inclusive. Yoga can be used as a tool for radical self-acceptance. Also, it can be a tool to grow within our communities.
You can recognize what your place is in the world once you have felt the fullness of your heart (kind of like when the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes).
These 5 yogis know the value of yoga and take it out of the studio and into the world:
1. Linda Malone
Linda Malone is Known for her lively spirit and compassionate nature. She’s a fitness guru, yoga teacher, Lululemon ambassador, and owner of IAM yoga studio.
On top of all this, she is the director of the Blu Matter Project. In 2012, when Linda Malone lost her brother to suicide after a long, silent battle with Bipolar Depression, she vowed to act. The Blu Matter project is an initiative to offer a new and holistic approach to help people with Depression and/or Bipolar disorder…one sweaty mat at a time.
The project connects partnering studios with individuals and provides the opportunity to practice yoga for a year, free of charge. The project aims to de-stigmatize mental illness and grow a global support network. Pretty incredible, right?
We thought so, too! Linda Malone took her grief, her passion, and her entrepreneurial spirit and made something truly remarkable. Linda connects people and communities both on the mat and off. Go, Linda!
2. Paige Elenson
Paige is a Baptiste Power Vinyasa, Acroyoga, and Jivamukti teacher. She is also the co-founder of the Africa Yoga Project.
The Africa Yoga Project works to educate and empower the youth in Africa through the practice of yoga and SO much more. AYP hosts over 6,000 participants in more than 360 community yoga classes lead by Africa Yoga Project teachers from 19 different African countries.
Additionally, they’ve trained more than 380 young teachers. The AYP teachers attend school, prisons, HIV/AIDS support groups, and more. There they provide meditation, health education, performing arts, relationship building, community activism, and (of course) yoga!
Co-Founder and Director, Paige Elenson fell in love with Africa during a family trip in 2006 and right then was when the AYP seed was planted. Paige is a deeply inspiring yogi who will stop at nothing to positively impact the lives of others through yoga and mindfulness. We’re so proud of you, Paige.
3. Angel Kyodo Williams
This author, spiritual teacher, Zen priest, master trainer, and founder of the Centre of Transformative Change apparently wasn’t busy enough. She also designed fearlessYOGA, the first yoga practice designed specifically for activists.
The social framework behind the series believes that how we engage on the mat directly relates to how we behave in the world.
Angel is widely recognized for countless reasons. For starters, she has led, facilitated, trained, taught, and coached thousands of people to “find the sweet spot of alignment between head, heard, and action.”
Similarly, this inspirational zen goddess places a focus on the practice of being human and helps others do the same. Angel is simply creating the shared experience, raising awareness, and helping others uncover their liberated lives. If you haven’t heard of Angel, you should probably check her out like yesterday. You won’t regret it!
4. Seane Corn
This famous vinyasa teacher says, “How dare we not speak our truth?” Her truth is declared in her organization Off The Mat Into The World, a nonprofit dedicated to utilizing the tools of yoga within a justice framework to inspire people to be conscious leaders of change.
They believe that grassroots social change is possible everywhere and with everyone. Moreover, Seane herself has been featured countless magazines and TV shows including The Today Show, Oprah, NPR, and more. Beyond that, she’s used her notoriety for the greater good through projects such as Off the Mat and so much more.
Additionally, she has worked to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and sex trafficking and helped raised millions of dollars for communities in need. Seane has been awarded the “conscious Humanitarian” and “Global Green Millennium” awards (and for good reason!). The world is a better place because of brave, selfless souls like Seane!
5. Jardana Peacock
Jardana Peacock uses yoga as a healing tool for those working through emotional trauma and physical injury. Also, she has spearheaded anti-racism and anti-oppressive teaching and encouraged teachers authentic outreach. Emphasis on the word authentic. Jardana is a writer, spiritual activist, and the co-cooridnator of the Liberation School South.
Liberation School South is a healing and spirituality school. It is the first of its kind in the southern US. Furthermore, Jardana has helped found seven social justice organizations such as the U.S. based network, Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). Through her writings, talks, and interactions she spreads awareness and facilitates social change around the globe. Jardana truly remarkable and oh how inspiring is she!?
Poet Gloria E. Anzaldúa said: “I change myself, I change the world.” These yoginis are living that quote.