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I have a quick pop quiz for you: try formulating one sentence that sums up the greatest benefit you've experienced by learning yoga, meditation & other wholistic wellness practices.
We know, it might be difficult because of the vast benefits! Or maybe your experience has been so profound and clear that you can articulate with eloquence exactly why you practice. Maybe you're just starting out and still uncovering your path and purpose.
For me, the greatest byproduct of practicing Yoga has been receiving tools to reclaim my life.
When I started my yoga teacher training at Wainwright House in Rye with teachers Paula Heizner, Patty Holmes and Susan Wright, I remember them asking the cohort on one of the first days to write down:
1. what yoga was to us, and 2. Why we practice.
I still have the sticky notes that my responses are written on, resting on the inside cover of my 200 Hour training notebook.
It's been a long leg of the journey since the day I walked into yoga training almost three years ago, but I can say that my intuition that day served me well as I charted a course for where my yoga would lead. Yoga has helped me to rediscover my truth, know who I am, and reclaim the essence of my self.
My own yoga practice synthesized with my life-long interest in activism has kept me on track toward the WHY: it is inherent that yoga doesn't just teach me to become the best version of me for me, but for others who's paths I cross. In other words, practicing yoga is a way to be the change you wish to see in the world.
I practice yoga to have a rippling positive impact on the world, because I believe the world will become a better place when more people practice yoga and/or other types of reflective and restorative lifestyles that cultivate health and happiness. the key is not just yoga, it's Reiki, it's Qi Gong, it's Mindfulness, it's Astrology, it's creative arts and expression, it's living in tandem with the earth and all of her healing gifts. It's the truths and wisdom that have been tended and maintained by those who've been given keys for unlocking and opening doors that lead them back home to their hearts.
And that's why about two years after starting training, myself and my closest yoga cohort-mates decided to found Create QuanYin Institute; so that we may play a role in passing on the teachings of our teachers, their teachers, and their teacher's teachers! We're all part of the same cosmic family tree of teachers and students and if you're reading this, you must be part of it too!
So why practice with us? The benefits of your practice will go beyond yourself. All the proceeds from registration fees from 2018, our first calendar year, went into community education. We collaborated with local nonprofits and agencies like Family Services of Westchester, YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester, Westchester County Department of Mental Health and Department of Corrections to bring yoga to people who really need a sense of peace. Our yoga, meditation and/or Reiki students in 2018 were children and adolescents living with autism, elder folks who's brains are changing and need extra support with daily life, and people who ended up on the wrong side of the law but still have an inner child and inner guru hungry for peace, balance and a way to restore themselves. We even held an open public clinic with affordable access to Reiki sessions.
Powered by volunteers, your contributions, pro-bono legal support, and the practice and planning space so generously provided by First Baptist Church of White Plains, WESPAC, and IxChel Center, we had a successful first year.
From here our community impact only grows with your continued support and dedication. And what better way to support the mission and vision of the Institute while supporting yourself by registering for a class with us? All proceeds of our listed offerings support community service and allow us to continue moving forward to a more peaceful and balanced world. Donations are also accepted and appreciated on an ongoing basis through our website.
✨If you made it to the end of this blog entry, you were meant to read it and I look forward to collaborating, learning and teaching together in 2019!
As it is, we are all teachers at heart.
From my heart, to yours...
Cristina Ortiz, Create QuanYin Institute President