Community Soul is a growing alliance of yoga studios, teachers and students who are dedicated to using their practice – and their business – to contribute to sustainability both in their local communities and around the world. Members of Community Soul commit to raising money, awareness, and support for sustainable projects that do not have access to traditional sources of funding or outreach. Community Soul's pilot project is Casa de Milagros ("House of Miracles"), a children's home in the Sacred Valley of Peru founded by a modern-day Mother Teresa, Kia Ingenlath. Mama Kia (as everyone calls her) has also pioneered outreach projects in the local pueblos – a women's clinic, a midwifery practice and a soup kitchen. Kia not only feeds her kids with homegrown, organic food, but also with art, yoga, music, and love for all beings. Looking to the future of her growing children (who range in age from a few years to late teens), Mama Kia spearheaded Hanaq Pacha Retreat Center (Where Heaven Meets the Earth), a place for yoga and other disciplines where her kids can continue living and working together as a family for generations to come. Mama Kia's vision is not only one of love; it is also a sustainable, pragmatic, and ecologically and economically sound project – a project that epitomizes the kinds of organizations that Community Soul seeks to support and promote to its members.

As individuals and small businesses, the members of Community Soul unite as a true yoga community – beyond lineage, city and mat color. Ultimately, Community Soul will become a designation that will make it simple for students to find consciously-driven studios and teachers that both think – and act – globally and locally to effect real change toward a sustainable future.

The Community Soul Difference

There are tens of thousands of yoga teachers and studios in the United States alone, and though a large percentage of these conscious yogis donate time and energy to tens of thousands of worthy causes, there is little public awareness of these efforts, and it can often feel that each individual contribution does little to impact the target cause. The main goal with 'yet another' non-profit that seeks to support sustainable causes is to reach an ever-widening audience.

Community Soul addresses these issues in several different ways.

  1. Mutual Support: Community Soul will offer yoga teachers, studios, and students the most comprehensive and informative website for finding the best and most suitable classes, studios, and events in the country (and, eventually, the world) – whether or not the teachers or studios are Community Soul members. We meet teachers and studios where they are today, and encourage them to endorse and support the sustainable initiatives of Community Soul as they are ready. By signing up studios that may not necessarily commit to Community Soul initially, the potential membership and exposure of Community Soul is increased dramatically, and students will be exposed to Community Soul causes and projects on a more regular basis.
  2. Member-chosen and supported projects and causes: Community Soul seeks to serve the underserved and the underappreciated – those inspiring people and organizations that do the amazing work toward sustainability you haven't yet heard about. We tap into our most important resource – our members themselves – to find people and sustainable projects that need assistance but are too small or remote to allow for effective fundraising and/or marketing of their cause.
  3. Participation in chosen causes: One important aspect of the projects Community Soul chooses to support is that they will allow for active participation of Community Soul members. For example, yogis raising money for Casa de Milagros will be able to stay at the nearby retreat center. They will also visit and work with the children at the Casa to experience and support the work of the organization. By vetting the organizations ourselves, and continually sending Community Soul members to work with the sustainable organizations we support, we can ensure that members of Community Soul will be enthusiastic about contributing to every cause on our roster because they will receive first-hand news about the difference their support makes.

Community Soul not only serves the needs of yoga teachers and studios to connect with students (and vice-versa), but also connects the yoga community itself to sustainable projects in dire need both in the local community and also in all the varied places where yogis go for retreats, workshops, and conferences – in essence, all over the world. Community Soul is a vision that is simultaneously local and global, service-oriented but also able to generate more business for participating studios and teachers through marketing and outreach.


Tal Rachleff
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