Off the Mat

One of the things that has been on my mind an awful lot lately is what I want to be when I grow up and how I can be of service to the world. How can I, as one tiny part of the massive population on earth, make a difference to my community and the world at large? What skills do I have to offer and what do I like to do? And how do I figure that out?

Since mid-January, I have been fortunate enough to be part of a Wellington pilot programme of the worldwide Off the Mat (OTM) initiative. This programme is meant to help yogis to figure out how to be of service to the world using the innate talents and gifts that have been uncovered or accentuated by their yoga practice.

The process has been an interesting one for me. In the capable hands of our amazing facilitator, Marianne Elliott, we have been exploring that which is meaningful to us, things that help us stay centered, our talents and abilities and our vision for our lives. There are still a couple of weeks to go and I’m keen to see how we tie all of that together for the group project we will do.

One part of the process so far that was particularly confronting for me was the assignment to watch “The Story of Stuff”. This wee film explores how our “stuff” is manufactured, distributed and eventually, disposed of. It’s quite jaw-dropping to realise just how rampant consumerism is and what a massive toll it takes on the planet and the people of the planet.

After watching it, I felt really discouraged and overwhelmed. I wondered how I could make any appreciable difference given the pervasive nature of the disconnection from Source, from Self, from nature and the level of oraganised corruption that exists.

Then I remembered that it was not so long ago that I was every bit as disconnected as the people who continue to contribute to the “problems”. I thought nature was best viewed on TV and had no concept of the how precious our natural resources really are. The thing that made me wake up, to remember myself and to appreciate the planet was the practice of yoga (and eventually meditation).

So I’ve decided that my activism, the way that I know that I can change the world is to teach yoga. If even a handful of my students remember themselves the way that I did, they too will be moved to contribute positively to the world. And so on.

Every class I offer is intended to help the beautiful people who choose to spend that time with me to connect with themselves in such a way that they remember their innate goodness. When we as humans remember our light, we can celebrate together, enjoying our lives and enriching the lives of the people around us. We all become activists in an authentic way as we express our talents and our gifts confidently.

Yes, I know it seems that I had already figured that out given my current job and the fact that I had started a yoga studio. But it’s been quite powerful for me to shift my view ever so slightly to realise that concious activism doesn’t have to be hard. If you align with your true nature and your skill set, service can be easy and enjoyable.

If you’re keen to figure out how you can take your yogic values “off the mat, into the world”, stay tuned. The pilot programme of OTM is almost finished and there is a very good chance that the first public offering of this amazing course will happen as early as late March!

~Kelly Fisher

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