Tis the Season

It’s hard to believe there are only a few short weeks left in 2017! I don’t know about you, but I feel like this year has flown by!

It’s been a busy few months for us over here at Vikara Village. Just a few weeks ago we finished up our fall sessions of The Body Love Yoga Project at Numi Yoga in College Park and Sligo Middle School in Silver Spring. The girls participating in those programs have learned healthy ways to cope with stress and many have even added yoga as one of their chosen methods to deal with stress. We will be returning to Numi Yoga and Sligo Middle School this winter, and we hope to have more dates and locations available for you soon!

Our H.Y.P.E program uses hip hop and yoga as a tool for empowerment and transformation. The students participating in H.Y.P.E at Albert Einstein High School in Silver Spring, wrote, recorded and starred in their own original music video about their community of Wheaton! Our partnership with Gandhi Brigade Youth Media and funding from the Arts and Humanities Council allowed us the opportunity to produce a high-quality music video to share with the community.

On Saturday, December 2 we were one one 15 honorees at the College Park Community Foundation Gala! We received a grant from CPCF to award six scholarships to girls participating in The Body Love Yoga Project at Numi Yoga. If you know someone who could benefit from this scholarship, our winter session is open for registration.

Vice Board Chair Tyeesha Dixon and Executive Director Hannah Davis represented Vikara Village at the Gala.

As I sit here on this chilly afternoon reflecting on our fall sessions, I am reminded of how insightful the students we work with can be. The young people we work with are so smart, talented and thoughtful! As active partners in our programs, they demonstrate time-and-time again that they are wise beyond their years. Just listening to the lyrics of “Success,” you can hear the challenges these kids are experiencing. You can also hear the love and hope they have for each other and their community as they sing, “We live in a community that means so much to me. You see so many colors on the street, you know that’s called diversity.”

Today, I thank you, for helping to make the afternoons and evenings I spend with these teens learning, teaching and growing together possible. Without your generous gifts and continued belief in Vikara Village’s mission, this work would not be possible.

Autumn Igniting!

Last week I woke up with this sense of igniting. I'm not sure if it was the upcoming change of season or the start of the new school year, but I felt ready to move forward!

Of course I took this new found energy to my mat and practiced twists, inversions and even a few arm balances. Twists focus on the Manipura or third chakra - our solar plexus. This chakra is housed in the navel center. Activating this space brings about a sense of "I will," by building our inner fire or tapas. Our tapas helps us to burn away old patterns, laziness and get rid of things that are no longer serving us. When this chakra is in balance we're able to move powerfully and use this power to do good in the world. 

When we wring out a washcloth we are getting rid of all of the excess water we don't need. Essentially, we're doing the same thing when we twist our bodies - getting rid of the excess that we don't need.

Autumn is a time to cleanse and let go. You may notice the world around us beginning to turn inward. Trees are shedding their leaves and animals are gathering food to prepare for the long cold months ahead. Our bodies are naturally meant to do the same - shed, turn inward and let go.

This Sunday, you can join me and my dear friend Tiffany Ananda, as we offer a program for adults, Autumn New Moon Yoga and Vision Board Creation. In keeping with our own natural cycles, we'll take this time to reflect on our bountiful spring and summer months, while also reflecting on our intentions for the season ahead.

In a few weeks we'll be launching our fall programs, including two sessions of The Body Love Yoga Project at Sligo Middle School and Numi Yoga! You can register for these programs here.

We received funding from the College Park Community Foundation to provide scholarships for BLYP to young women living in College Park! This funding will help us to launch our first program in Prince George's County.

We are are also offering a Yoga for Grief Series, in partnership with Holy Cross Home Care and Hospice. Stay tuned to our Facebook page to learn more about this upcoming program.

Vikara Village is continuing to grow and I am beyond gracious and humbled to be leading this wonderful organization.

Namaste,

Hannah 🙂

Taking Time for Gratitude

We are constantly on. If we’re not moving, we’re not doing – right?

In our current world, we are always rushing to get to the next thing. Brené Brown, the University of Houston professor who studies vulnerability, explains:

“…there’s no stopping and celebrating or acknowledging the accomplishment of anything. Instead of feeling pride or recognition, what everyone is instead made to feel is, “Thank God, I can get to the next thing on my list.”

One thing that I think really makes a difference is simply to stop, recognize and offer feedback.” -Brené Brown

You can see the full article here:

There have been so many times where I’ve found myself moving on to the next thing without acknowledging all of the hard work I accomplished. I am too focused on checking off the next thing on my to-do list.

However, during summer, we tend to slow down. The kids are out of school, the days are longer and the sun is shining bright! It’s the perfect time for celebrations, feelings of fullness and completion. And of course, lazy days by the pool.

At Vikara Village, as our program year comes to a close, I notice we’re turning our focus to the year ahead without taking time to celebrate our wonderful accomplishments! Just this year we’ve done so many wonderful things:

  • We re-branded our organization and updated our mission, vision and values
  • We incorporated as our own 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization
  • We started Safe Space Yoga, offering trauma-informed yoga to adolescents
  • We have served over 200 students through our three programs
  • We raised almost $1,700 from individual donors

Today, with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, it is a great time to focus on gratitude and reflecting on your accomplishments from the previous season. That’s what we’ll be doing – taking time to celebrate and recognize all that we have done this year!

Share with us how you’re celebrating the Summer Solstice on our Facebook page!