The Joy of Sustainable Activism at the DNC and Beyond

Yoga as Usual in the Oasis I almost forgot to brush my teeth this morning. Dishes are piling up in my sink; and for the first time in a long while, I didn’t make my bed today. Clearly, despite...

Yoga as Usual in the Oasis

I almost forgot to brush my teeth this morning. Dishes are piling up in my sink; and for the first time in a long while, I didn’t make my bed today.

Clearly, despite my best attempts to stay grounded, the DNC frenzy is having its way with me.

While this week has been electrifying, intense, and deeply inspiring, I will be happy to return to “real life” tomorrow. Simple acts like eating breakfast at home and sitting on my own meditation cushion (rather than the seat of the BX bus) seem like long-lost friends at this point. A lot has happened in four days.

It’s Thursday, the last day of the convention. Many here at the Oasis (including myself) will head over to Invesco Field this afternoon to endure long security lines and claim a seat for Barack Obama’s much-anticipated speech officially accepting the nomination as the first African-American democratic presidential candidate.

As things come to a close, the Oasis “family” (an interesting conglomeration of yogis, bloggers, musicians, bodyworkers, vegan chefs, raw foodies, and more) continues to serve and inspire whoever comes our way, while doing our best to take care of ourselves and one another.

For anyone who serves others, you know that importance of self-care. If you crash and burn, what good are you to anyone else?

I spent my morning chatting with the key personalities behind the Oasis (which all agree has been a HUGE success, BTW) to see how they are faring.

The Leading Ladies: Seane, Hala, Shannon, and Suzanne

Their survival secrets boil down to:



3.Good Sleep & Good Food

Shannon Paige Schneider, director of Om Time studios in Boulder and Denver, coordinated all the yoga and bodywork volunteers this week while running her two studios and arranging special workshops at the Denver venue every evening this week.

“It’s been really exciting simply to see how fired up people can be to be part of change. The Boulder/Denver yoga communities have completely ignited at the opportunity to serve.”

“We are really working hard, eating well, spending our day under natural light*, making lifelong friendships. If there’s stress, it’s only momentary,” she adds.

*there’s natural light in the Oasis (EXCEPT where I’m blogging from….see below)

Me & Shayne (DJ, Yoga Teacher, and Stellar Volunteer) Under the Lights

For Off the Mat, into the World’s Suzanne Sterling, this gig has come after three months of “non-stop” travel, teaching, performing (she’s a musician, too), and heartbreak on top of it all.

“The biggest thing for me is going out and dancing. Finding what is joyful.”

Tonight she’ll head home to L.A., where she has canceled all of her teaching gigs for September to take care of herself and “get back in balance” by looking deeply into the relationship between work and play in all aspects of her life.

Suzanne’s business partner and housemate, Hala Khouri, served as Oasis hostess while mommying her 11-month-old son, Sebastian.

She shows up bright-eyed every day, smiling and helpful to visitors, by not going out at night, getting a little bit of practice in every day, eating really well, and saying no “a lot.”

For her it’s all about “support, support, support. Asking for help and delegating by learning to be vulnerable.”

Suzanne, Seane, and Hala all agree that coming here together provided an indispensable “built in support system.” They don’t think they would have made it through had they been alone.

All of us here agree that this week we have been more tired, more anxious, and more emotional than usual. This is due to both long hours and simply taking in the larger energy that we’re immersed in.

Over the long run (if this were to go on for three weeks, for example), this “wouldn’t be sustainable” and “we’d have to do things differently,” says Seane.

But oh, it’s worth it. It feels good to give. It feels good to work together. It feels good to stretch yourself (we’re talking more than your hamstrings).

Appreciate the tools that you learn and use to take care of your precious self. Remember that most of the world does not have these tools. This was a real eye-opener at the DNC, where highly successful people get by on adrenaline and various other chemical regulators (the woman organizing "The Big Tent" slept on conference tables at night, eating one bacon, egg & cheese by day).

If you're reading this, most likely you're one of the lucky ones who knows better.

Sustain yourself to serve.

Do it together.

And have fun in the process. No, set your heart on fire in the process.

That’s what I’m doing as I pack up my things and head over to Invesco Field.

Read more about Sara Avant Stover