When I wrote this blog post I was sitting in my bedroom staring at an unpacked suitcase. When it’s published I will be in India volunteering at the Homes Of Hope Orphanage. Of course I’m excited to shop the markets, study yoga at the root, receive Ayurvedic treatments…but really I’m going to India for something so much bigger than myself.
Traveling to me has become like second nature, yet it has never been this hard to pack. I usually want all of my favorite things with me, but this time I’m more worried about making as much space as possible to bring donations to the girls at the orphanage. The Homes Of Hope Orphanages are homes for girls in southern India that have been rescued from the streets, brothels, child slavery, and extreme poverty. I’ve volunteered other times abroad, but my understanding is that these girls, are like no other. Although they have been born in to conditions most of us could never even imagine, they have the biggest hearts, and love unconditionally. This year, the Kunga Yoga Fund pledged to build the 5th orphanage for the Homes Of Hope.
The Kunga Yoga fund, a global fund, allows yoga teachers & studios to donate a minimum of 5% of their class proceeds to support the orphanages. The money is used to house, feed, and educate the girls & provide a home for life if needed. Each year the Wilmington Yoga Center organizes a service based yoga retreat that allows yoga students & teachers to make the trek to the birth place of Yoga & Ayurveda, and volunteer for 10 days at the orphanage in Fort Kochi. The heart of Kunga Yoga is service: encouraging practitioners to first and most importantly serve them selves by practicing and teaching yoga, but to then take the practice off of the mat and serve their communities and environment.
Whenever we set out to help others it sometimes also has an opposite effect, we end up helping ourselves as well. I have been a part of the Kunga Yoga community for over 7 years and have been deeply changed by the stories of these girls, yet I haven’t even met them yet. By challenging myself to show up on my mat to help support others I have not only strengthened my body and mind, but I’ve also learned to be grateful for everything in my life, and to serve others whenever possible.
I encourage anyone who is willing, to educate themselves on how their yoga practice can help serve others and bring a positive effect to their local, or global, community.
To learn more about Kunga Yoga or the Homes Of Hope India check out the links below: