Moving the Yoga Community Into a Political Force
A Framework For Movement Building
- Yogis bring the OTM experience to the local level with Yoga In Action, a series of distributive small groups that build community around yoga and service and support leadership development.
- Weeklong immersions of deep self-inquiry inspire inside-out transformation at OTM’s Leadership Trainings.
- The Empowered Youth Initiative offers an on-the-ground immersion program serving to reverse the disruptive cycles facing youth in urban centers through training and education.
- An annual global service project calls emerging leaders to raise awareness and significant funds for an international humanitarian cause with the Global Seva Challenge.
- OTM also offers an accelerator program for OTM’s biggest leaders looking to activate original, sustainable organizations in their own communities.
- YogaVotes is a call to action to mobilize the yoga community into a powerful, political force of informed and engaged voters.
Small Groups As A Foundation
Many of OTM’s programs use an Engage Network small group curriculum tailored for yoga practitioners. The small group model supports deep community building in OTM’s Yoga in Action program, which is locally led and culminates in a group seva or service project. In OTM’s Springboard program, the small group lends itself to collaboration, peer mentorship and empowerment as advanced leaders transform their individual purposes into nonprofit projects. YogaVotes was represented in 34 states across the nation in 2012 due to the distributive network of community leaders organizing their local communitiesand studios around the vote.
An innovative model for financial sustainability
OTM’s Global Seva Challenge calls individuals to raise $20,000 towards a humanitarian effort. Individuals
who meet their goal join OTM founders for a journey of service to the community in which their funds are put to use. This program demonstrates an Engage Network best practice: looking for ways to make sure grassroots networks support and sustain themselves while giving to others. The Global Seva Challenge has raised over 3 million dollars for on the ground nonprofits in Cambodia, South Africa, Uganda, Haiti and India. Each year the challenge has increased its reach and income generation. The Challenge has received national media attention from Yoga Journal magazine, Yoga International Magazine, and Oprah.com among others. In addition, Off the Mat has developed funding streams that come almost entirely through program revenue and partnerships with co-branded products, and donation-based efforts from companies asdiverse as concerts and yoga clothing lines.
From Self to Service to Political Power
OTM recognized the opportunity to support leadership development in the public sector and launched YogaVotes to mobilize the 20 million people who practice yoga across the nation into a block of informed and engaged voters. Hundreds of leaders across 34 states led their communities through a process of getting clear of their values, getting informed on the issues and candidates and exercising their right to vote in the 2012 general election. YogaVotes will continue to train leaders and mobilize communities to bring yoga off the mat and into the political arena.