By Christina | August 9, 2009
Yoga is very much “in” right now. Celebrities are photographed all the time in the tabloids with their yoga mats and credit yoga to keeping them fit. Yoga has gone mainstream. There are not only yoga studios across the country, but specialized studios which practice specific kinds of yoga like Bikram yoga or Iyengar yoga.
I love yoga, so the more people that practice it in their daily lives the better. Today, I heard of an unconventional yoga practice that is popping up in the most unlikely of places and that is on the streets and in homeless shelters. This is called Street Yoga and is taught by volunteers to help the homeless.
Opponents to Street Yoga feel somewhat justifiably that yoga is the last thing anyone should be thinking about when you are homeless and living on the streets. Developing a lean, sculpted body is not of paramount importance to someone that doesn’t have a roof over their head or food for their family.
Proponents of Street Yoga argue that yoga is much more than balance, strength, and flexibility. The lessons found in yoga are applicable to the outside world. Arguably, if you have found yourself homeless, your life is out of balance and chaotic. Yoga is centering and teaches you the ability to not let outside distractions deter you from being present in the moment.
Surely yoga is not going to put food on the table or fix the dire situation these people have found themselves in. But, what yoga will do is give them a sense of peace, purpose, and ability to find balance in their external lives well beyond the yoga mat.