As yoga teachers, it’s common to think that our students have something to learn from us and that we’re the interesting ones with “the goods” to share. However, ultimately, we are all sitting on the same ground in the same circle. This equanimous “sitting” so to speak is in many ways symbolic of honoring the knowledge and potential, aka the “Buddha nature”, within everyone. There is knowledge in every “seat”, there is the potential for awakening in all experiences. Teaching is about learning what needs to be known. This learning is a reciprocal process.
As teachers, if we are really teaching something that relates to our students’ needs, then we are also simultaneously learning from and about our students. The only way to really serve as yoga teachers (as opposed to yoga performers who serve an audience or fan base, or even yoga professors who serve the agendas of books or ideologies) is to develop a healthy interest in our students, their knowledge, and the “goods” they have to offer in the present moment, too.
Today I want to give a shout out to the good work of Michael Sandrock and Ana Weir, two of my regular Restorative Yoga students at the North Boulder Recreation Center. They are the founder and director respectively of One World Running.
“Since 1986, One World Running has collected, washed, and sent athletic shoes, along with T-shirts, shorts, medicine, and school supplies to developing countries.
Originally called Shoes for Africa, the group was formed after sports journalist Michael Sandrock returned from a coaching and racing trip in Cameroon, West Africa, sponsored by the U.S. Information Agency. Many of the runners from Cameroon ran barefoot (and were still able to beat Sandrock).
Afterward, several Boulder elite runners including Lorraine Moller, Steve Jones, and Arturo Barrios began shipping shoes to West Africa. The project has grown since then under the directorship of Ana Weir, an ER nurse, who was named a 2005 Hero of Running by Runner’s World Magazine.” – www.oneworldrunning.com
If you would like to make a donation, your Shoes and other athletic gear can be sent to:
One World Running
PO BOX 2223, Boulder, CO 80306
6439 Arapahoe Rd Boulder, CO 80303
For more information call +1 720.295.0426 or 303.545.6147
And for additional ways to get involved, visit: www.oneworldrunning.com/how-can-i-help
I’m inspired by the way Michael and Ana are serving multiple planetary benefits, humanitarian and environmental, at the same time!
With One World Running, they are:
- providing running shoes and athletic gear for those who don’t have them
- preventing running shoes and athletic gear from showing up in landfills as more “waste” produced by consumers in wealthy over-developed countries who can financially afford to get the “newest” products all the time without realizing the environmental cost of discarding the old (but still usable) products
- connecting people of different nations, languages, and cultures through a common movement vocabulary and core value of health and human endurance
Do you know other organizations doing similar work, locally and/or globally? What other activities could benefit from this kind of engaged participation in the consumer cycle?
For example, who is rescuing used but still usable yoga mats before they end up in landfills, then cleaning and redistributing them to those in need?
I’ll have to do some more research in this regard and I hope you will too. Feel free to send me a message or leave a comment!
Meanwhile, if you’re in Boulder, join us on Friday nights at 6pm for Rest & Restore Yoga at the North Boulder Recreation Center. Class is free for Parks members. Parks day passes available for $11. Please contact the center directly for further information.