Indiana & Yoga Magazine Summer 2016 Issue 1 - Page 32

CONSCIENTIOUS LIFE INDYoga Votes Taking Yoga off the Mat, into the Voting Booth By Lauren Kay Roberts If you’ve ever stepped into a yoga studio, you may have heard a teacher talk about taking the practice “off the mat.” As we awaken to our true, interconnected nature on the mat, we find ourselves a little less judgmental, a little more patient, and generally more aware of how our actions impact those around us. INDYoga Votes—a nonpartisan organization I cofounded with Shannon Brasovan (Practice Indie), Candy Irven (Tree House), and Josh Driver (Open for Service) last year—takes this “off the mat" concept a step further. Our movement empowers yogis to extend their values into civic life by registering to vote and turning out on Election Day. We believe the higher consciousness community has a responsibility to raise our voices in the current political conversation; by participating in the process, we hope to transform a political culture that seems more toxic than ever. During 2014’s midterm elections, Indiana had historically (read: depressingly) low voter turnout. We want to change that in 2016, especially as we see unprecedented energy from all parties around issues like equality, health, education, the environment, campaign finance, and national security. If you aren’t in love with any of the candidates, don’t be discouraged, and don’t just sit on the sidelines. Get informed and support those who most closely align with your values. As INDYoga Votes prepares for a busy summer of registering voters, leading community yoga classes, and planning an outdoor yoga celebration in September (stay tuned!), we asked local yogis about voting, their personal practice, and how the two intersect. Here’s what they had to say: “It is an honor to work for elected officials[,] but it often demands putting your job before your own needs and taking work with you wherever you go. When I'm on my mat I'm able to set an intention for myself that ultimately makes me feel more confident and grounded in the way I do my job.” “Yoga attempts to lift the veil of unconsciousness. It is my effort to do this in my own community by voting in a more conscious, informed way.” “My practice helps me to vote, but to also practice not judging others on their values [and] to be grateful [that] we are all expressing our rights.” “Yoga teaches us oneness… There are candidates I support [who] also believe that[,] so I will be voting for them.” “As yogis, it is our duty to attempt to wake ourselves up and [inspire] others to do so as well.” “Yoga brings more open-mindedness to the world. I am glad [that] this election has gotten so much attention, but it is the non-presidential years that we need to be paying more attention to if we really want the revolution [that] everyone (on both sides) seems to be so interested in this year.” “Yogis are some of the most caring, cause-driven, and community-minded people I know, yet so often I hear fellow yogis dismiss politics and participating in elections because they ‘just can't take the contention’ or they ‘don't have space for that kind of negativity’ in their lives. You wouldn’t quit your whole practice because pigeon pose is really uncomfortable and totally un-fun (personal opinion here), would you? Just as in your yoga practice, find your soft edge and participate in your government. You will learn, grow, and be better for it.” Thank you to the yogis who participated in our questionnaire for this piece. Do you take your practice off the mat and into civic life? Does voting matter to you? Share your feedback with INDYoga Votes on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and find us at Monumental Yoga! ■ LAUREN KAY ROBERTS Lauren Kay Roberts is a freelance communication optimizer, yoga teacher, and ritualist based in Indianapolis. Learn more about her #freelancemystic work at www. laurenkayroberts.com. 30 INDIANA & YOGA MAGAZINE ISSUE I CONSCIENTIOUS LIFE INDYoga Votes Taking Yoga off the Mat, into the Voting Booth By Lauren Kay Roberts If you’ve ever stepped into a yoga studio, you may have heard a teacher talk about taking the practice “off the mat.” As we awaken to our true, interconnected nature on the mat, we find ourselves a little less judgmental, a little more patient, and generally more aware of how our actions impact those around us. INDYoga Votes—a nonpartisan organization I cofounded with Shannon Brasovan (Practice Indie), Candy Irven (Tree House), and Josh Driver (Open for Service) last year—takes this “off the mat" concept a step further. Our movement empowers yogis to extend their values into civic life by registering to vote and turning out on Election Day. We believe the higher consciousness community has a responsibility to raise our voices in the current political conversation; by participating in the process, we hope to transform a political culture that seems more toxic than ever. During 2014’s midterm elections, Indiana had historically (read: depressingly) low voter turnout. We want to change that in 2016, especially as we see unprecedented energy from all parties around issues like equality, health, education, the environment, campaign finance, and national security. If you aren’t in love with any of the candidates, don’t be discouraged, and don’t just sit on the sidelines. Get informed and support those who most closely align with your values. As INDYoga Votes prepares for a busy summer of registering voters, leading community yoga classes, and planning an outdoor yoga celebration in September (stay tuned!), we asked local yogis about voting, their personal practice, and how the two intersect. Here’s what they had to say: “It is an honor to work for elected officials[,] but it often demands putting your job before your own needs and taking work with you wherever you go. 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