Many Yoga-based organizations have made offering seva (selfless) service a part of their mission. Here is a listing, information and videos about some amazing service projects underway in various parts of the world. If you know of other projects, please let us know so we may include them too.
SEVA TO THE UNDERSERVED
Service in Satchidananda (SIS)
SIS is a non-profit international collective of charities established in honor of H. H. Sri Swami Satchidananda and based on his core teaching of selfless service. SIS exists to serve children and families, and all those in need around the globe through various seva (selfless service) projects. Children are our future and were so dear to the heart of Sri Swamiji. Currently, SIS operates charities in Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, India, Nepal and the United States. Projects include free classes for miiltary vets, the homeless; Satchidananda Prison Project; The 100 Good Deeds project in honor of the 2014 centenary birth anniversary of Swami Satchidananda, and more. “The dedicated ever enjoy supreme peace, therefore live only to serve.” ~Sri Swami Satchidananda
SEVA Foundation: Compassion in Action
For thirty years now, Seva has served people around the world who are struggling for health, cultural survival and sustainable communities. Founded by Baba Ram Dass & friends. Watch a video of Ram Dass speaking about founding the Seva Foundation along with Wavy Gravy, Larry Brilliant and others.
A non-profit outreach organization dedicated to establishing rehabilitative Yoga programs in residential facilities for underserved women in substance abuse recovery, poor and homeless women, and victims of domestic violence. The practice of Yoga has been shown to produce positive motivational change by helping women regain their vital center of energy, satisfaction and stability. Watch a video about yogaHope here.
Off the Mat, Into the World® (OTM), a program of the nonprofit, The Engage Network, is dedicated to bridging Yoga and activism. Founded in 2007, OTM’s mission is to use the power of yoga to inspire conscious, sustainable activism and ignite grassroots social change. OTM helps individuals take the path of Yoga “off the mat and into the world,” expanding the sphere of change outward to local and global communities. They do this by facilitating personal empowerment through leadership trainings, fostering community collaboration, and initiating local and global service projects. Watch a video about OTM here.
A non-profit group of yoga educators whose goal is to offer Yoga to populations in recovery, such as people living in incarcerations, with eating disorders or illness. Through greater awareness of one’s breath, alignment and mental focus, Yoga provides potential for significant benefit in improving one’s quality of life, body image and self-esteem.
Prison Yoga Project
Prison Yoga’s goal is to expand the practice of Hatha Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation to prisons and rehabilitation facilities and to provide training for Yoga instructors interested in teaching to at-risk populations in prisons, residential rehabilitation facilities, and community programs.
Satchidananda Ashram Prison Project
We collect spiritual books to send to inmates and prison libraries.We correspond with inmates, answering their questions about spiritual life. We are working with prison administrations to have Yoga classes taught in prisons around the country. We hope to eventually connect with prison projects sponsored by other Yoga and Buddhist organizations so that we can join together in serving this population.
The Human Kindness Foundation
Founded by Bo and Sita Lozoff, is a non-profit organization which stresses a way of life based upon three common principles taught by the great sages of all religions: Simple living, a dedication to service, and a commitment to personal spiritual practice.
A main project is the internationally respected Prison-Ashram Project.
There are many organizations, people, and faces already out there producing results within correctional/detention centers. Jailhouse Yoga is another face another expression in creating that awareness, opportunity, and involvement. Jailhouse Yoga was formed to answer a persisting question from inquiring teachers, “How can I get started teacher at my local youth detention center.” Jailhouse Yoga is simply a face to help answer those inquiries.
Yoga Behind Bars
A newly formed non-profit organization in Seattle that offers Yoga to prisoners to specifically facilitate therapeutic, conscious human development and decrease recidivism. Their goal is to spread this learning model and to provide a unique opportunity for rehabilitation to those in need through compassion and devotion to the path of Yoga.
A Canadian charity that promotes healing through volunteer Yoga teachers to people in health care settings, shelters, treatment facilities and correctional institutions who would not otherwise have access to Yoga. Yoga Outreach places volunteer teachers in facilities and supports them with training and ongoing professional workshops, and provides them with equipment and newsletters for their clients.
Art of Living Course for Prison Inmates
The Art of Living (founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) Prison Programme has released 150,000 prisoners across the world from stress, anger, violence and drug dependencies. Watch a video about this program here.
Living Yoga (see above)
YOGA FOR VETERANS
Yoga For Vets
Lists all Yoga studios and teachers that offer free Yoga lessons to any military veteran of war.
Yoga For Vets NYC
Started in July 2008 as a service for NYC veterans, it was founded by Anuradha Bhagwati, a former Marine. The program is designed specifically for veterans dealing with injuries or trauma, but every veteran is welcome, regardless of age, era or experience.
YOGA FOR AT-RISK YOUTH
Street Yoga gives youth and their caregivers the tools to overcome early life trauma, through the sharing of life-building mindfulness and wellness practices grounded in the ancient healing principles of Yoga. We are striving throughout our work to publish and provide to our students as much information as possible. We are working on putting all our curricula online, as well as making them available to our clients. We’ll be offering trainings starting with Portland. We are also looking to offer one in San Francisco, and possibly Vancouver, BC. Watch a video about Street Yoga here.
Y.O.G.A. Inc. (Your Own Greatness Affirmed)
A non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to establishing Yoga-based programs in underserved communities around the world. Maintaining the highest integrity of the ancient and traditional styles of Yoga.
Yoga and the Tao of Giving DVD
Yoga and the Tao of Giving is an inspirational documentary that explores Yoga’s ability to shed light in dark corners. On this visually stunning adventure, you’ll be inspired by musicians from the Pacific Northwest and learn how one woman’s journey into service touches lives by brining Yoga into the most unlikely places.