From raising money to help people in poverty-stricken developing countries to getting involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement last year, Off the Mat, Into the World is often in the news for mixing yoga with activism.
Since this is an election year, it’s not surprising, then, that OTM is taking its message into the political sphere. YogaVotes, a nonpartisan campaign backed by OTM, hopes to get out the vote by encouraging yogis to vote from their hearts, no matter which side of the aisle they are led.
Staying true to its platform, OTM has teamed up with Huffington Post and LYFE Kitchen to offer delegates at both the Republican National Convention (which wrapped up last week in Tampa) and the DNC (which started Monday in Charlotte) the Oasis, a space providing yoga, massages, facials, sleep consultations, and healthful foods to attendees.
“Part of the message here is that this is not about politics,” said Arianna Huffington in a video posted to Huffington Post. “Whatever your politics we are going to be able to find common ground and work together more effectively if we can learn to deal with our stress and learn to unplug and recharge.”
Of course, staying nonpartisan during a presidential campaign isn’t easy—especially when the perception is that the yoga community favors one side over the other. A recent article in The Daily Beast claims that yoga teachers have donated more to President Obama’s campaign.
For its part, the yoga blogasphere has had plenty to say about OTM’s political involvement, with both unapologetic swipes and attempts at more balanced inquiry into its role at the conventions, and in the political realm in general.
What do you think? Do you think yoga can help quiet the stumping and rhetoric and help people make choices from the heart?