Touching the Hearts of Our Local Community
By Blanca Amezcua
If you read our recent Community Development Department newsletter, you know that exciting steps have been taken towards our goal of integrating the Hridaya Yoga Center with the local Mexican community. This interconnection was part of Sahajananda’s founding vision, and as the school has grown since its inception in 2012, so too has our capacity to reach out to our neighbors. With the help of sangha members such as Dee, Alba, Beata, and Sunny, our Community Development Department has created relationships with members of the local community that have expanded our understanding of the culture and allowed us to begin to share the non-dual teachings that we hold so dear.
The Vision of the Community Development Department Is Two-fold:
- To create strong relationships with the local community, touching their hearts by showing interest in and care for their lives.
- To share the teachings of the Heart. This sharing can be formal (classes) as well as informal (modeling what it means to “Live with an Open Heart”).
Manifesting Our Vision
So far, our vision has led us to reach out in the following ways:
- Educando el corazón (“Educating the Heart”): This program in the local schools teaches children to connect to their inner spiritual compass, giving them tools to thrive in school as well as in life. Read all about our work with kindergarteners here!
- English Classes: The large number of international visitors who flock to this tropical beach town means that a grasp of the English language is a must for locals who work in tourism. Based on this need, we offer regular English classes for adults at the library in San Agustinillo.
- Literacy Classes: As reading and writing are a challenge for many, we also offer weekly literacy workshops.
- Heart-based Projects: Over the last two years, our sangha has joyfully contributed to over 25 different initiatives supporting the local community. These projects have included fundraisers, yoga and meditation classes, environmental cleanups, and more.
- We are currently collaborating with local leaders to identify the biggest challenges facing our greater community and are committed to focusing our actions in line with those needs. At this point, it seems the most pressing issues are environmental and economic empowerment, so future projects will likely center around those exigencies. Stay tuned!
- As we want everyone at the Center to be good neighbors, we are actively educating our students about respecting Mexican culture and encouraging them to engage appropriately with locals.
- We will soon invite the global Hridaya Community to make financial contributions to worthy projects in the state of Oaxaca.
- We are creating a dedicated Community Development Department page on the Hridaya website. This page will feature information about our outreach efforts as well as links to blog posts and videos about the causes we are supporting.
Do you have a great idea for how Hridaya can better impact the local community? Feel free to leave a comment below. Or, email us with your suggestions or to find out how to get involved.
Blanca is a Hridaya teacher and our Community Development Department Coordinator.