Hridaya Yoga Mexico
Community Development Department
Love and Compassion in Action
The Community Development Department’s goal of integrating the Hridaya Yoga Center with the local Mexican community has rapidly gained momentum. This interconnection was part of Sahajananda’s founding vision, and as the school has grown since its inception in 2012, so has our capacity to reach out to our neighbors.
With the help of devoted teachers and Karma Yogis, 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.
When Hurricane Agatha hit in May 2022, our department mobilized to offer direct support to those most affected. This proved to be a beautiful opening to service that expanded our vision and redoubled our commitment to the community.
A New Partnership
In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, our team visited six local communities, providing emergency supplies and other assistance to over 100 of the neediest families.
We focused our actions on the most difficult-to-reach villages in the Tonameca area. Of the communities we visited, one stood out as the neediest—Agua Dulce. Our initial efforts there included providing food, water, and materials to repair the roof of the chapel. Realizing that even when hurricane damage is repaired, this community would still be in dire straits, we asked if they would like to partner with us to improve ongoing conditions in their village.
Agua Dulce is one of the most isolated traditional communities, home to approximately 31 families who speak the indigenous Zapotec language in addition to Spanish. The majority are farmers, as they live on fertile land.
After gradually building a trusting relationship with the residents of Agua Dulce, we came together in a formal community gathering to confirm our partnership. Together, we agreed to focus on the following goals:
- Support agricultural production through training on sustainable, healthful methods of farming.
- Build a well and an irrigation system.
- Produce fruits and vegetables for purchase by the Hridaya Center.
- Develop business opportunities, especially for women (who are not as involved in farming activities), through training in manufacturing clay pottery.
- Repair the roof of the chapel.
- At the end of July, Hridaya donated $2,000 USD from donated funds to purchase shovels, machetes, sprinklers, seeds, and other supplies needed to upgrade production. The crops are thriving, and many are almost ready to harvest. When possible, Hridaya will purchase produce to use in our kitchen.
- Fifteen women are embarking on a 2-month, 16-session training program with a successful local potter. Learning to make clay pottery will provide financial opportunities and is a beautiful opportunity for participants to explore new horizons outside the home setting.
- We are looking for experts in sustainable and ecological agriculture to work with the community in a sensitive way, as the products they have been using are toxic to the environment, to the families exposed to them, and, ultimately, to consumers.
- We have plans to build a well and irrigation system once the rainy season is over.
- Hridaya purchased materials to repair the chapel’s roof, the community did the work, and it is again a cherished gathering space.
- We long to support the village’s children and teenagers by creating more educational opportunities. Currently, the village has a primary school with one classroom where all the children receive classes together three times a week. In a recent workshop, we invited the children to feel their hearts and express their dreams for the future on paper. We plan to get to know them better and find ways to support their development.
How You Can Help
We are truly grateful for the outpouring of donations for these efforts and are taking our time to allocate funds with care. As we are committed to continuing this work indefinitely, we welcome contributions. You may donate via credit card or bank transfer (Beneficiary: Hridaya Yoga AC; Bank Name: BBVA; Account Number: 012180001152110263; Swift Code: BCMRMXMMPYM; please put “Oaxaca” in the transaction description, so we know where to target your donation).
As the work of the Community Development Department progresses, there will likely be opportunities to get involved. Please email us if you have a special skill that you think may be helpful.
The natural movement of the Heart is to help others, ultimately going beyond any division of “self” and “other.”
Out of love, we do whatever we can, moving together through this mystery of life.
Thank you for your support!