Photo: Lululemon Athletica“Yoga” and “angry” go together like taffy and dentures … or at least they used to. But maybe D.C. politicians should start looking out for flying vials of essential oil. L.A.-based organization “Off the Mat and Into the World” is turning yogis into activists next week, following International Women’s Day (March 8). Off the Mat will be training interested parties in lobbying and grassroots organizing (in addition to meditation), then heading to Capitol Hill for a day of lobbying.
Yogi activism isn’t as frou-frou as you might expect. Last year, Off the Mat raised $18,000 in a single day for Paul Farmer’s health and social justice organization, Partners In Health; a future leadership training event is focused on at-risk L.A. youth. One of Off the Mat’s partners, the Give Back Yoga Foundation, funds yoga teachers in disadvantaged areas. And the consulting group behind Off the Mat, The Engage Network, previously partnered with the Slow Food movement and Van Jones’s Green For All to take online activism into the real world.
Downward-facing dog jokes aside, it’s actually pretty awesome to turn the stereotype of rich, self-focused yogis on its head and convince sweaty yuppies to work for social change.