Agastya – An initiative to reach Yoga to the Underprivileged in a Sustainable Way
It’s been 5 months since we first taught these kids (at Anatha Ashram) Isha yoga with support from Boddhisatva Foundation and ever since then they have been practising daily twice a day — morning around 6.30am and evening around 6pm!
Their commitment is simply heart warming! ? We’ve been having refresher sessions once in about 2-3 months and yesterday we taught them Yoga Namaskar as well in addition to other yogic practices.
Usually whenever it comes to doing something with the underprivileged sections of society, a lot of work and energy goes wasted because it’s a one time effort which is not continued.
If we had just done a one-off yoga workshop for the kids and afterwards left them on their own, the chances of them continuing with it would be very slim! Add to that, if there are no sponsors, then usually for Yoga Teachers it’s not sustainable since they may agree to do it once but post that it would be difficult for them to continue on. So what we did even before teaching the first class was to find sponsors and also discuss with the management on how to integrate yoga in to their daily schedule and fix up a daily schedule for them. Once they agreed, we also appointed a few Yoga Champions among the children who took up the responsibility of ensuring that it happens everyday. Then we followed up with the management for the first few days to ensure that everything is going well as planned! And then we land up once in 2-3 months to meet with all of them and review their practices. So with minimal time commitment from the trainers we’re still managing to make it work for everyone concerned.
I believe that this experiment to come up with a model which is sustainable and impactful has borne fruit and it’s time to see if this can be replicated. Towards that end, this Sankranthi, we decided to experiment and launch a new initiative — ‘Agastya’. I decided to name it Agastya since as a tribute to Agastya Muni who was one of the Saptarishis and his work has had a lasting impact on this world and its still reverberating so strongly?
To get this started, we are looking for help with the following:
1. Sponsors – who could take up the initiative to sustain as many kids as they can. I’m sure the kids would be thankful to you for the rest of their lives for bringing yoga into their lives ? There is no dearth of people who want to learn — we just need hands who can make it happen for them. Sponsors can choose to make a general contribution to support this and get updates about the same or else suggest and introduce us to a particular organization they would like to support and contribute for the same. We have to work out the financial structure to support this – an approx sponsorship estimate could be ₹500/- per child for a year.
2. Volunteers – who could take up the initiative to follow up and track progress of at least one such center for a year. This would hardly take 2-3 hours a month and would involve following up with the management to see if the practices are happening regularly and maybe visiting the center at least once a month to check on the progress. Once again, volunteers could choose to contribute their time in general or else choose to support any center they wish to.
3. Organizers – Underprivileged Centers/NGOs – If you are running or involved with an NGO or similar center and would be eager to have the kids/adults learn and make Yoga a part of their daily lives, then please reach out to us. If we are able to find a sponsor, volunteer and a teacher, we’d like to get started at the earliest!
We would first like to launch this in Bengaluru and once the model is fine tuned, we’d love to do this anywhere else since there are trained Isha teachers spread across the world who would love to be part of something like this.
I would request all of you to support this endeavor to reach the underprivileged sections of the society in whichever ways you can and take ‘Agastya’ forward! ?
If you are keen to be a part of this initiative, either as a sponsor/volunteer or any other ways, or have a feedback in general, then please do fill out this short form: https://goo.gl/forms/rbP7U4f8m7kb45QK2