Yoga students and studios around the country can join the Seva Foundation‘s annual international Yoga for Sight benefit by offering classes to encourage reflection on the sense of sight. Studios can help bring awareness to blindness around the world with special offerings like yoga classes in the dark, blindfolded classes, guest speakers, or short film screenings.
Last year, Tayla Eelom, a yoga instructor in California, led a 90-minute asana sequence with everyone blindfolded. She followed it with a sharing circle to get a sense of what the students experienced and what they learned about themselves, the power of sight, and their senses. “As a yoga teacher, this is one of the few spaces where I get to be really creative in how I support my community,” Eelom said. “Not just the immediate community of people who come to this class, but people in a larger global community that I am truly a part of and they are as well.”
“Many of us have been practicing yoga for several years and feel we can do the entire practice with our eyes closed. In reality, some of the simplest of postures can require sight. Yet we often take for granted those moments when we open our eyes to orient ourselves. You’ll be surprised to notice how dependent you are on this sense that we so often take for granted.” —Shanti Om Yoga, Portland, OR
Funds raised through Yoga for Sight provide eye exams, eyeglasses, and medical care to restore sight for children and adults living in impoverished countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Nepal, Tibet, and Native American communities in the United States. Globally, 36 million people are blind, and another 217 million suffer from low vision. The World Health Organization estimates that 70 percent of blindness and low vision can be prevented or cured. For every $50 raised through Yoga for Sight events, a person in need will have their eyesight restored.
“Seva was founded on the principle of putting compassion into action by supporting programs that prevent blindness and restore sight in impoverished communities around the world. Yoga for Sight came to be because the practice of yoga is rooted in compassion and empathy for self and others. It’s a natural fit, and we’ve found that students and teachers who participate in Yoga for Sight events gain personal insights in addition to providing essential funds for Seva’s sight-saving services around the world,” says Andrea Sharkey, Development Coordinator for the Seva Foundation.
This past year, Seva provided vital eye care services to 1,290,167 people in 21 countries. Nearly 70,000 had their eyesight restored, 118,498 received medical treatments and 105,815 were given glasses.
Event at a Glance
An international yoga benefit to prevent blindness
Nationwide and worldwide; find a participating studio or sign up to host an event near you
Varies, depending on studio and classes offered