Sanctuary Living by THE YOGA SCHOOL

Inform / Inspire

How Will You Change The World This Christmas?

By The Yoga School / December 1, 2019

Our power to make a positive impact peaks during the holiday season as we tend to spend most during this time of the year. If you’re keen to make a difference, here’s how you can use your purchasing power for good

There are always charitable causes and people in need all year round, but in some parts of the world, this time of year isn’t so merry and bright for everyone – and this becomes even more apparent during the holiday season. For every family celebrating joyously with food and fanfare, there are others whose stomachs continue to rumble with hunger. For every happy child tearing open his massive pile of presents, there’s another with no gifts, no toys, and sometimes, no family at all. For every loved and pampered pooch in the arms of its loving owner, there’s a hungry stray on the streets scavenging for food from the trash bins and shelter from the weather.

As you enter the holiday season and gear up to shop for Christmas gifts, why not consider gifting in a way that gives back in a multitude of ways?  After all, tis the season of goodwill, and there’s no better time to spread positivity and joy with your actions and the choices you make. When you shop for good and support mission-driven businesses, you’re gifting with the intention to do something positive for the community and the planet. Now only can you get your loved ones gifts that are more meaningful, but you’re also making the world a better place! And isn’t that what the holidays are really about?

Do your part to make a difference this Christmas. Here’re three meaningful causes that The Yoga School supports (we hope that you’ll support them too!):

Photo: @ChasingRavens

PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMES FOR YOUTHS WITH DISABILITIES

In Bhutan, there is a deeply embedded stigma where people think that the disabled cannot learn or earn a living. However, Draktsho Vocational Training Center for Special Children and Youth has been proactively working to dispel that misconception by helping Bhutanese children and youth with various disabilities. Through education and vocational training, youths are empowered with skills to enhance their opportunities for gainful employment – the eventual goal is for them to be integrated back into the community as independent, confident, and contributing members of society.

A non-profit organisation, Draktsho has also been training Bhutanese Special Olympic athletes since 2008. Despite being a non-profit organisation with no funding for training or travelling, Draksho’s athletes have gone on to represent Bhutan in numerous national level sporting events, becoming some of the most decorated athletes in Bhutan. In 2011 (Greece) and 2015 (Los Angeles), Special Olympics Bhutan athletes created history by bringing home several Olympic medals, creating an inspiring platform for persons with disabilities in Bhutan to strive towards equal opportunities.

As part of The Yoga School’s efforts to help raise funds for Draktsho this December, we will be retailing beautiful handcrafts made by Draktsho’s students. Each craft is a 100 percent Bhutanese handiwork painstakingly produced over many hours (during the students’ arts and crafts classes). Rather than getting another mass-produced product, a non-traditional gift from Draktsho is way more unique and interesting – plus, you’ll be providing opportunities for vulnerable youths to thrive. Alternatively, you can also contribute to Draktsho through their Donor or Godparent programmes here.

MAKE A PAWSITIVE IMPACT

The holiday season is usually packed with joyous celebrations and catching up with friends and loved ones, but the festivities can also leave us feeling exhausted and worn out. If you’re in need of rest, Yoga Nidra may be just what you need to feel restored. An immensely powerful meditation that’s often described as “Yogic Sleep”, an hour’s practice of Yoga Nidra is said to be equivalent to three or four hours of conventional sleep. “During Yoga Nidra, you enter a state between sleep and full awareness,” Pearl Bhasin, who teaches Dharma Yoga and Yoga Nidra, explains. “It’s a deeply restorative state where healing happens.”

Keen to try Yoga Nidra? Well this December, you can experience its benefits plus donate to animal causes at the same time. Join Pearl at The Yoga School every Saturday at 11am, where she teaches a community class, with all proceeds going to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

As Pearl says, “May all living beings be happy and free!” If you wish to do more for shelter animals, you can also sponsor items on SPCA’s Christmas Wish List. With everything from animal feed and feeding bottles, to vaccines and litter trays, you’ll be able to find something which suits your budget.

Photo: @NadyaHutagalung

SAVE AN ENDANGERED ANIMAL SPECIES

The Yoga School’s ambassador, Nadya Hutagalung, is a UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, and the iconic face behind the hugely successful wildlife conservation campaign against illegal ivory trade and elephant poaching, Let Elephants Be Elephants (LEBE). Recognised as one of Asia’s most powerful eco icons, Nadya is also known for her hands-on work with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP), which focuses on community support and education to ensure the long term survival of orangutans in the region.

Having pledged her commitment to ensuring the preservation of endangered species across Africa and Asia, Nadya teamed up with Pangaia and Japanese-Canadian designer, Raku Inoue, to produce limited edition T-shirts which raise awareness about their conservation. The detailed designs of the orangutan and the Sumatran Elephant are made up of delicate elements such as flowers and leaves, digitised and printed onto Pangaia’s sustainably produced seaweed fibre T-shirts. These earth-friendly apparel require less washing as they contain 80 percent organic cotton treated with natural peppermint oil.

100 percent of proceeds from the sale of these special edition tees will be donated to SOCP and the Barumun Nagari Wildlife Sanctuary for the elephants, so you can rest assured knowing that your gift not only looks good and spreads an important message, but it’s also going towards animals in immediate crisis.

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