School children. College kids. Movie goers. A church. A night club. Police at a peaceful protest.
The Newtown Yoga Festival made a commitment to stand up, fight for the lives lost and mend our broken hearts anyway we know how.
When will it be enough? With every shooting, our hearts break again as we relive our tragedy. Lack of empathy and compassion are at the root of the problem and that means building connections. Any tragedy seems to bring out the worst and best in people. Newtown/Sandy Hook saw both but “We Choose Love” became our mantra.
When violent tragedies start to become the norm, we have a choice. We can choose to sit back and shake our heads, allowing fear and defeat to overcome our minds. Or we can make a commitment to stand up, fight for the lives lost, and mend our broken hearts anyway we know how. For more and more people, that’s through yoga. With every senseless incident comes a renewed sense of responsibility and dedication to our hometown, Newtown, and to the rest of our brothers and sisters around the world.
The professionals are just starting to understand that trauma care includes much more than traditional talk therapy. Yoga, meditation and certain types of somatic bodywork can be equal if not more effective. Movement, interpersonal connection, and community have well documented clinical benefits. That’s why we formed the Newtown Yoga Festival.
Yoga not only unites body, breath, and brain but also connects us to the world at large. Yoga brings about a deep sense of connectedness. We are one global family, one commUNITY.
Right now the world feels like it’s stuck in chronic chaos and tragedies seem to be happening more and more frequently leaving many to feel like they have no control over their lives. But we do. The one thing we have control over is our breath. And when we learn to be consciously aware of our breath, we learn how to control our body and our brain. Some of us have seen this first hand with our yoga students and private clients. The greatest benefit we get from yoga comes from the simplest thing we learn – how to breathe. It’s BREATHtaking watching yoga students lessen their stress, feel emotionally balanced and become empowered in their healing… It’s only a breath away.
Victims of any violence will have a lifetime of need. Yoga provides some of the many tools to manage the after-effects of trauma. And everyone can access this sense of connectedness through the many paths of yoga. Newtown Yoga Festival offers exposure to one such path.
As yoga teacher, Mark Whitwell espouses: “Yoga starts from the heart, spreads through your whole body, then to your loved ones, then to the whole world.”
In love and light,
Michael Anderson, Suzy DeYoung, Renee Kennedy, Amie Meleshkewich, Karen Pierce, Jennifer Zulli, Jenni Smith and Johnny Vacca.