More Yoga Service Inspiration

How to become a leader in yoga service work

Want to launch or grow your own yoga service organization? Here are the top resources recommended by the 2018 Good Karma Awards advisory panel.

To determine the winners of the 2018 Good Karma Awards, Yoga Journal relied on the expertise of partners from the Yoga Service Council, Give Back Yoga Foundation, Yoga Alliance, and Lululemon’s social impact program Here to Be. Learn more about each member of the panel, the exciting things they see happening in yoga service, and the top learning tools and social campaigns they recommend to help you make a positive impact in yoga service.

4 top resources recommend by the 2018 Good Karma Awards Advisory Panel: 

1. Take a free online course to help you get started

Enroll in How Can I Serve, a free online course developed by the Give Back Yoga Foundation and Lululemon’s social impact program, Here to Be. This course takes 5-8 hours to complete and features advice from master teachers with experience bringing yoga to underserved populations. Learn more at givebackyoga.org.

2. Learn best practices for specific populations

Check out the Yoga Service Council’s Best Practices book series, Community Resource Papers, and webinars at yogaservicecouncil.org. They’ll teach you how to become a compassionate facilitator and give you succinct and comprehensive steps for working with specific populations.

3. Make your studio a safe space for all

If you’re a studio owner, join #thepledge for universally accessible yoga. Learn more at yogaservicecouncil.org/thepledge

4. Take a 6-week inclusivity training workshop

Sign up for the Yoga Journal course Inclusivity Training for Yoga with Chelsea Jackson Roberts, PhD. You’ll Learn how to make compassionate and inclusive language choices, expand and diversify your classes, give appropriate assists, and more.

See also 2017 Good Karma Awards: 9 Stories to Inspire Your Yoga Practice 

Meet our advisory panel

Learn more about the thought leaders in yoga service who guided us through our outreach and selected the 2018 Good Karma Awards winners.*

Amina Naru

None
DETVCH.COM

Amina is co-executive director of the Yoga Service Council (YSC) and the owner of Posh Yoga in Wilmington, Delaware. She’s a contributing author to the books Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans and Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System and currently the project manager for Best Practices for Yoga with Survivors of Sexual Trauma, slated for 2019.

YOGA JOURNAL: What is the most exciting thing you see happening in yoga service?

Amina Naru: When I first began teaching in detention centers and prisons, it seemed really isolating. It’s exciting to see more collaboration and less of a siloed mindset. More people are working together to see the bigger picture and social media plays a big part in it. 

See also 6 Conversations That Yogis, Teachers, & Activists Are Having About Inclusivity

David Lipsius

None
CHARLIE PAPPAS PHOTOGRAPHY

David is the President and CEO of Yoga Alliance, an independent nonprofit organization that advances the development of yoga professionals and advocates for safety and inclusion in yoga. He is also president of Yoga Alliance Foundation, a related nonprofit that offers grants and scholarships to yoga professionals serving underserved populations. 

YOGA JOURNAL: What advice would you give to those starting seva projects?

David Lipsius: While it’s easy to allow ego to gain a foothold—and say, “look what we did,” “I’m so proud of how I helped that person,”—humility goes a long way and allows us to let go of any attachment to the personal fruits of our labor so we can maintain a spirit of heart-based seva.

See also This 15-pose Sequence was Scientifically Proven to Treat Chronic Low-Back Pain in the Military

Savannah Roach

None
Phil Sanders/Lululemon

As a Collective Impact Specialist at Lululemon, Savannah leads brand and communications for the social impact program Here to Be, which creates access to yoga as a tool for greater health, resilience, and community for all.

YOGA JOURNAL: What advice would you give to those starting seva projects?

Savannah Roach: Listening is an action. It’s radical, and it should be the foundation of how you build your project. The most meaningful impact happens from work that begins with asking questions and listening: Who is facing the biggest inequities in your community? What are the big issues that are being talked about? Listening builds trust, and it catalyzes a community-led approach to change. 

See also If You’re Seeking the Alchemy of Wellness, This Is Where You’ll Find It

Pamela Stokes Eggleston

None
CHARLES EGGLESTON

Pamela is co-executive director of the Yoga Service Council and founder of Yoga2Sleep. A certified yoga teacher, yoga therapist, and meditation guide, she’s completed specialized training in plant-based nutrition, stress management, meditation and mindfulness, and yoga for trauma in veterans and the military. She works with service members, veterans with PTSD, and military and veteran caregivers. She is a contributing editor of Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans and a current yoga therapy graduate student at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. 

YOGA JOURNAL: What does seva mean to you?

Pamela Stokes Eggleston: Seva means service from the heart, satya (truth), and soul. It can’t happen any other way.

See also Yin Yoga 101: A Simple Yin Meditation to Let Go of Your Inner Control Freak (and Why It Works)

Rob Schware

None
ROB SCHWARE

Rob heads the Give Back Yoga Foundation and is president ex-officio and an advisor for the Yoga Service Council. In late 2006, Rob brought his two decades of management experience with the World Bank to a second career: helping to grow the yoga service movement. He wanted to combine his development and project management expertise with his passion for yoga by forming an organization whose mission it is to bring yoga to underserved populations. 

YOGA JOURNAL: What does seva mean to you?

Rob Schware: I think that part of our mission as yoga teachers and yoga therapists is to become a power plant that transforms collective suffering. A Christian precept says it well: “It is in giving that you receive.”

See also Cultivate a Metta Mind: Lovingkindness Meditation

Jennifer Cohen Harper

None
SARIT Z ROGERS

Jennifer is the board president of the Yoga Service Council and founder of Little Flower Yoga. She brings embodied mindfulness programing and education to schools nationwide and serves students, families, educators, and mental health providers. Her primary goal is to help children, and those who care for them, thrive in the world—regardless of circumstances— and navigate challenges with a sense of personal power.

YOGA JOURNAL: What is the most exciting thing you see happening in yoga service?

Jennifer Cohen Harper: I’m excited to see yoga studios taking a greater interest in yoga service, looking for meaningful ways to make their offerings more accessible and inclusive, and increasing physical and emotional safety in classes. 

See also 3 Simple Ways We Could All Spread More Love and Kindness

*Panel members abstained from voting for organizations if they had a direct connection to the organization, including fiscal support or sponsorship (current or past) or donations larger than $1,000 in the past 10 years; affiliation by board member, management, or family member; or involvement in the founding of the organization.