Eeeek! It’s June!
In past years, I would either feel less than happy about June because half the year is gone or it’s another year of my life that has passed and I’m left doing the same thing I did last year. But oh NO not this year!
This year will be different. Yes, I’m still turning another year older, but I’d rather think of it as another year of seeing how yoga has transformed my life. One of my favorite Baptiste teacher’s, Kinndli, points out that “in the yoga world, you are only as old as the number of years since you started practicing yoga.” So I will be turning 6 years old.
Yoga has definitely kept me feeling and looking young not only physically but also my mental state. People who know me will say that I’m a serious, over achieving, over planning, always crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s type of person. Through my practice, I’ve learned how to accept this quality of me that has shaped me into who I am today, but it’s also reminded me that my true self really lies in the heart of my child like self.
So that takes care of the “ugh! not another birthday syndrome.” What to do with the “what the heck have I done so far this year syndrome?”
I recently did a “no internet” day challenge and failed. I can’t live with out the internet mainly because it connects me with people. You’d understand too if you were home all day with a 4 and 7 year old. Any adult conversation, even if it’s in cyberspace, is an adult conversation. Anyways, after this challenge, I wanted to do something fun (thinking child like) to see how many people I can connect and reach by holding a photo contest. Not just any photo contest —
A Yoga Graffiti Photo Contest.
Keep reading for rules and how to enter… be patient…
As I was thinking of ways to make this fun and how I can connect and build a community, an opportunity came up. I got an email from my other fav teacher, Baron Baptiste himself. You can say he has been the catalyst that lit up my love affair with yoga as he’s done so to countless others. Among one of these people is Paige Elenson, founder of Africa Yoga Project (AYP). Her work has inspired me in so many ways that give me goosebumps everytime I think about the incredible amount of passion she has for yoga and how she’s being the catalyst for transformation far in the corners of Africa. Baron and Paige are committed to raising $50K in the next 60 days to fund their next project where Baron will lead a Personal Revolution Immersion for 300 of AYP’s Kenyan yoga students, people from the neighborhoods and slums of Nairobi.
These are hair raising numbers as they have shared yoga with over 2,000 people in prisons, women’s centers, primary schools, hospitals, and slums throughout Nairobi a just one year. They have empowered over 40 Kenyans to learn a living wage by teaching yoga in their communities. I get goosebumps every time I read about how they are constantly “up to something BIG.”
Baron and Paige have taught me to constantly question myself, “What am I up to?” As often as I ask myself this question, there’s no doubt that I often say, “I don’t know. I don’t know what I can do. I don’t know if I have time. I don’t know if I have enough money, I don’t know, I don’t know…” I dream of going to Africa and meeting Paige and her team of teachers some day. But the financial woes has become a familiar story and rains on me. But upon reading Baron’s email, a spark of creativity lit me up. Here’s the story.. bear with me…
If you know me, you know I love lululemon. I will save every penny I earn from teaching to buy that lulu outfit. I have quite the collection. One a side note, for those of you who are snickering at me right now, you don’t know what you’re missing. They are totally worth every penny (and no, lulu did not pay me to say that). I have clothes from 4 years ago that still look great… so great that I often get asked if I just bought “another” lulu. “You’re such a lulu girl,” they accuse me of being (say that with a little jealously sound effect). So what does this have anything to do with a photo contest and Africa Yoga Project?
I’ve had the pleasure of teaching yoga at Palo Alto’s lululemon store the entire month of May. As a token of donating my time, lululemon reimburses me with clothing equivalent to about $50. In the true spirit of service, I’m going to reward the winner of the yoga graffiti contest with a lululemon gift certificate equivalent to a whole month’s worth of my time teaching there which is $200.
Ok, cool, right? But how does this connect with Africa Yoga Project?
Here’s the Yoga Graffiti contest rules:
1. Tag yourself (aka strike a yoga pose) in the most fun, creative, and least expected place to do yoga. Be creative. The more fun, creative, or least expected place to strike a yoga pose will get more brownie points. (i.e. a beautiful dancer’s pose on a beautiful beach, although beautiful will probably not get much attention than say holding crow pose in a shopping cart in front of costco — those carts are big). NOTE: this is not about spray painting any walls with yoga symbols or poses. You are participating at your own risk.
2. Cost to participate is a minimum of $5 donation per photo entry. All proceeds will be donated to the Africa Yoga Project.
3. Each additional $5 donation (without a photo) will enter you into a raffle for another surprise lulu item. There will be 6 (cause I’m turning 6! yay!) additional raffle winners.
4. Each comment posted to my blog during the month of June will also give you another entry into the raffle.
5. Photos should be emailed to me at: snikkin at yahoo dot com. Please include your name, email, and place where photo is taken. Donations can be sent via paypal to the same email address. If you prefer to send a check, email me for the mailing address. Photos do not need to be 10 megapixels and 1GB in file size. Just email/web quality will be fine.
6. Poses must be actual yoga poses. So a nose picking pose would not qualify. (see end of last blog post on nose picking)
7. Have fun and share with your friends, yoga students, and anybody who wants to sink their skin in a pair of lulus and see why I love to wear them
Other fine print:
You agree to have your photo published on my blog or any of my websites or emails. Photos will be judged by me and perhaps another person TBD. Photos will not be entered into the contest until payment is received. You are participating at your own risk. I will never spam you or sell your email address, but you agree to be contacted by me regarding anything related to this contest. Photos must be submitted by midnight June 25th PST. Winners will be announced on June 30th (my birthday yay!)
One final note:
I know $200 is not a lot of money to spend at lulu, but it’s not really about the lulu shopping spree or how their clothes hold up for 5 years. It’s about me taking a step into something BIG and even BIGGER than me doing something to contribute to such a great cause is all of us connecting and adding a little bit of ourselves to the greater of the universe. Although this is small compared to what Paige has done, I’m taking it one step at a time. Just like when I first learned crow pose, getting to my tip toes was a huge deal but with commitment I can finally fly. I know Paige and Baron is committed to bringing the power of yoga to the far corners of the world and I am committed to helping them as much as I can. Yoga has no boundaries and I believe that no matter where we share our yoga, whether in the slums of Africa or our local lululemon store, we have the power to “Be the change we wish to see in the world (as Gandhi says),” through the simple essence of connection… human connection (even if it’s through cyber space). So please forward to all your yoga and non yoga friends and encourage them to enter the contest. Maybe your non-yoga’ing friends who are scared to try yoga will find this to be a fun way to get started. Not to worry if you’re not photogenic… you can still donate to the cause and be entered into the surprise raffle giveaways.