Many of us across the country felt
shock and horror as Hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast two weeks ago. Though
news about the storm’s human impact was slowed by breakdowns in infrastructure
and communication, awareness of the East Coast’s halting recovery is
increasing. Yoga studios and individual practitioners are among those who have
reached out to Sandy’s survivors.
In New York City, Pure Yoga, one of the studios
that stayed open even as the storm hit, offered a vinyasa
class to raise funds supporting the efforts of the American Red Cross. The
Manhattan studio is joined by yoga studios and Buddhist centers from the East
Coast to San
Francisco who have focused on easing the suffering created by the storm’s
effects through asana classes, kirtans, mindfulness
meditation, and fundraising.
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Yoga and Buddhism recognize that
suffering is part of the human condition, and traditional practices encompass
many tools for easing suffering. Those who follow the path of Karma
Yoga, the “yoga of action,” perform deeds without being motivated by
personal gain. Instead, their actions become a process of awakening to yoga’s
ultimate meaning, union—the realization (or remembrance) of the oneness of all
creation. In practicing Karma Yoga, the action may be as ordinary as a
daily household task or as extraordinary as Seva—selfless service for the good
of the community.
efforts taken to alleviate Hurricane Sandy’s devastating effects have been
extraordinary. Volunteers have joined local parks departments, faith
organizations, Occupy Sandy,
York Cares, and other groups to get
resources to neighborhoods, families, and individuals in need. Even two
weeks post-Sandy, people continue to be impacted by the daily emotional ravages
of being without
electricity or adequate water, food, and shelter.
The actions of individuals and
groups from around the country remind us that each of us has the power to
alleviate suffering, our own as well as that of others. If there has been any
silver lining behind this horrible superstorm, it has been this reminder of our
shared humanity. Mahatma Gandhi,
who lived his life as Seva, said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose
yourself in the service of others.”
How can you help? The American
Red Cross, New York
City Cares, and other organizations accept material and monetary donations,
social apps to multiply aid. Check with your local yoga community to see if
classes or fundraisers are being organized to assist relief efforts. If not, suggest
an event, like these community yoga classes and yoga/music events in Illinois
What are some of the ways yoga
studios and practitioners in your area have contributed toward the effort to
help those affected by Hurricane Sandy?