Live Be Yoga ambassadors Jeremy Falk and Aris Seaberg are on a road trip across the country to share real talk with master teachers, explore innovative classes, and more—all to illuminate what’s in store for the future of yoga. Here, they reflect on their visit to Washington, D.C.
6 Ways That Yoga Creates Community (& Change) in Washington, D.C.
Diverse and Supportive Communities Are Thriving
Washington, D.C., showed us what yoga is really all about. Upon visiting a few different yoga classes held in different settings, we experienced a level of support and inclusiveness that sets the bar high for yoga communities. This picture is from a “Trap Yoga” class, led by Khepera Wellness held at Trinity College, which invites those of all body types and who crave community.
Yoga Has Made It to the Pentagon
One can imagine the amount of stress and pressure the employees of the Department of Defense face on the daily, so we were excited to hear yoga has infiltrated their community as well. At a workshop taught by Thierry Chiapello, we had a rare opportunity to take a workshop alongside DOD officials within the walls of the Pentagon. Many employees of all body types attended the workshop and shared with us how yoga has impacted their lives. Check out the full coverage of our time there.
Honing Awareness Can Powerfully Impact the World
We are so grateful to have learned some powerful lessons from Angela Nuñez, owner of Solaris Stables and Yoga, and her horses on our way out of D.C. Through meditation and awareness practices, together they taught us to reunite with our own personal energy and dive deeper into understanding how our energy affects others. We learned to nonverbally communicate with the horses and how our horseback yoga practice also helps release muscle tension from the horses. Such a profound day of learning! You can read the full story here.
It’s Important to Have Faith
We stopped by Embrace Yoga D.C., owned by the soulful and inspirational Faith Hunter, on the studio’s 7th birthday. We remarked that studio years must feel like dog years and she agreed: every anniversary can feel like it has seven times the sweat, love, and labor poured into it than a normal year of life. So what are her secret ingredients? Faith has built a studio that is truly inviting to people of all levels, backgrounds, colors, and body types, and this has made Embrace feel like less like a studio and more like home to the people who practice there. She keeps her faith that if the studio remains grounded in these principles, and not just the economics of selling classes, it will continue to be a thriving shala for D.C. to come practice.
Dedicated Practice Makes Progress
We spoke to John Schumacher, a veteran Iyengar teacher with more than 50 years of experience, including 30 years as a direct disciple of Iyengar himself. In our interview (you can read it here), he helped us understand what it means to make progress in your practice. “Progress, moving deeper. Deeper into the pose, or into yourself. Deeper into the pose doesn’t necessarily mean further into the pose physically. What it means is, increasingly more sensitive and attuned to the vibrations and the intelligence that is manifested in the body,” he said. It’s a potent gem of insight for the many people who often feel they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible. He also reminded us that the future of yoga depends less on how far we get toward touching our toes and more on how we move into a greater depth of awareness and understanding by listening to ourselves through the vehicle of asana.
Trees (with the Help of Brands) Are Changing the Future
We spent an afternoon getting to know Trees for the Future, the organization that Jade Yoga works with for its “buy a mat, plant a tree” philosophy that is embedded in the brand, but what blew our minds was what Trees for the Future actually does with every tree planted. More than merely planting a tree in a forest, which would be a very noble operation it itself, the program helps poor and starving communities in Sub-Saharan Africa by turning barren land into bountiful farms, providing families with jobs and crops to sell. The trees get planted in an arrangement called a forest garden, forming a perimeter around a plot of land that gives fertility back to the soil. It also implements programs that train the communities how to operate and sustain the farms on their own. We were truly impressed and grateful for how Jade Yoga and Tree for the Future were living yoga through their seva (selfless service).