Date: February 21, 2016
Time: 2pm. Because if you’re not meeting at 6am, then 2pm is the most logical time to meet.
Location: iHuman HQ
What: Yoga, followed by a eating
What to bring:
- Yoga Mat (if you have one, that would be awesome. if you don’t.. then we will have one for you)
- A dish for the potluck that isn’t napkins or cups. Here’s a handy google doc to keep you sorted out. Keep in mind, the theme is The Tribes of November Project and while no dish will necessarily “win” an Icelandic dish will probably win.
We’ve been doing social events for awhile now, and we’ve always looked for ways to do unique, November Project social events. And since we can’t Race the Maze 4 times a year, we have always asked ourselves “what makes November Project unique?” On the surface, we are a outdoor, free fitness, three mornings a week. But if you’ve ever been to one of our workouts, you will know that what’s under the surface is far more important. We’re a welcoming community that pushes each other to do better. At every workout, you can find anyone and use them to motivate you, whether they know it or not. That person who started out doing 2 sets and has worked for months to be able to do 4 sets now? If seeing that doesn’t make you want to work harder, then how about the person who runs until they literally pass out because they refuse to give up?
We currently have 30 November Project Tribes. But we have so many other tribes around us. In the 2.5 years that we have been doing this thing we call November Project, we have encountered so many people that inspire us as leaders. People that push us to want to do better for ourselves, for the tribe, and for our city. These people share the same beliefs as November Project through their tribes. We thought it would be cool if we could find some way to connect our tribe with what they do with theirs. The result…
The Tribes of November Project
You’ll find out a lot more about these two people and what they’re up to at the event, but here’s a quick little something something.
Steven – iHuman
I’m not even sure where to begin with Steven. The man does everything. If you think you’re impressed by seeing him sprinting and taking photos at the same time, you’ll be even more impressed when you find out what he does when he’s not taking and editing photos. The guy is the closest thing I know to Superman. When he’s not directing traffic on Walterdale, Steven can also be found directing humans at iHuman. Steven has invited us (or maybe we invited ourselves) into the fancy new iHuman HQ. Not only will we be able to use this space for our social event, but we will be able to tour the facility and hear more about what Steven and iHuman are doing in the community.
Yo Steve! Is iHuman the newest gadget from Apple?
iHuman Youth Society is a non-profit, charitable organization whose serves over 500 marginalized youth who exhibit high-risk lifestyles and face tremendous challenges.
Our goal is to promote their reintegration into the community through community programs involving crisis intervention, arts mentorship and life skills development.
Why is iHuman important to you?
iHuman is important to me on two very unique but related levels.
When I was 15 my single parent mom died of cancer. Even though I had a few relatives looking out for me, I had to figure out a way to survive on the street, get a job, make life decisions and do it fast. It was scary. Because of the strong love and belief that my parents had in me at a young age, I was lucky and able to draw on the “resilience” instilled by caring parents, to keep moving forward.
I can’t imagine how difficult it is for the youth at iHuman who have to survive in an environment where they encounter incredible hardships, uncertainty and violence – often from a very early age. Many of the youth have lost all hope by age 12 because the pattens in their lives have been so negative. Understanding how lucky I was, even though I lost my mom – is important to help keep things in perspective.
When I got cancer 12 years ago I discovered that despite being surrounded by so many caring friends and family – that fighting cancer can be a very “alone” thing. Plus, honestly I was facing so many quality of life issues, if I did survive my friends couldn’t understand why the doctors would keep me alive. Just trying to breath normally was suffocating and I looked like a monster. Swallowing water was like swallowing knives. I would also require many more surgeries.
At times I felt like I lost everything. My business was gone and so was the ability to earn an income. It was too upsetting for my social circle to hang with me so I got cut off from that.
It’s easy to lose hope and “connection” and when you lose “connection” you lose your “battle”. It was only through luck – a combination of trying to stay fit and get strong while helping inner city kids by being their “gimpy” soccer coach – that I was able to survive.
To help others is to make you strong.
This is why I love November Project. By working out with others the strentgh you build is not your own – but one that you share with others and community. This is the very meaning of iHuman – the indigenous translation literally meaning “One in the Community and the Community in One.
Helping iHuman is to honour both the “Resilience” I developed as a young child and the “Joy” I get to experience with November Project and the people who make it so special. It gives me so much inner peace (foreshadowing) to know that I am on the right path in life.
What does the entire world need to know about iHuman?
iHuman never gives up on anyone.
Many of our youth have been turned away from other social services and agencies. It is often because their challenges are so extreme that they are difficult to deal with, i.e. they might be angry, using drugs, have gang affiliations, don’t have government issued ID or they may have “blown” all their “chances”. Over 90% of our youth also have mental health challenges.
How can I help?
- Volunteer at iHuman with or without other humans (Young Moms Program, Soul Food Dinners, Newsletters and other events)
- Help us with any of our ongoing construction or studio projects (Sanctuary Feature Wall, Café Love, Digital Silkscreen garment printing studio, etc)
- Join our Board or Legacy Fundraising Team
- Help Out with Some Cash
- Follow us Social Media (we have our “Share and Shine” Instagram account going live on Feb 20. It will connect meaningful unfiltered stories of the youth in a positive engaging way with followers.)
Katie – Inner Peace Project
One person you may be less familiar with is Katie Mahon. Those who were fortunate enough to be at the social event we held in December 2014 may remember her as the girl who changed our “F@CK Yeahs” to “Om Yeahs”. Katie has only come to two November Project workouts. She teaches yoga Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6:15am, so can only come when she takes a vacation day. She’ll probably tell you she spent the past year providing me emotional support as I started practiing (that’s what yogi’s call “doing”) yoga. In reality, I have been vetting her this entire time and making sure she’s legit enough to have help us with an event like this. Like us, Katie is also spreading free fitness to the community through the Inner Peace Project.
What is the Inner Peace Project?
The Inner Peace Project is the charitable extension of the SATTVA School of Yoga, committed to cultivating community connectedness and to sharing the practice of yoga with those who may not otherwise have access. We aim to bring accessible yoga outside of the walls of our studio and into community spaces. We understand that there can be many social and economic barriers to experiencing the practice of yoga and we are invested in breaking down those barriers to better connect our communities. Deeply, we trust the practice of yoga as a tool for healing the whole person: body, mind an spirit. We believe that when an individual can know health and peace within them self, they will extend and connect to the community in this way. Inner Peace to outer peace.
So what you’re saying is that the Inner Peace Project is the yoga version of Toms?
That’s exactly what it is. You’re a genius, Nadim!
Why is the Inner Peace Project important to you?
I remember vividly my first class at the youth center nearly five years ago, in a beautiful heritage building retrofitted as a space to nurture and support homeless and at-risk youth. I began these youth quite by happenstance. I was to volunteer in a community center with a marginalized population as part of a practicum placement for my undergraduate degree. I approached a center for at-risk and homeless youth; the center was looking for a yoga teacher.
The space was serene and quiet—the youth were not! The class was to run 45 minutes, and it was suggested by one of the staff that at the 35-minute mark I bring the class into Savasana. Ten minutes of savasana?! I couldn’t imagine that a room full of denim-clad, hormonal, lippy teenagers, marginalized and homeless, could lie still for so long. In the classes I taught at studios around the city, often students could hardly be in Savasana for five minutes without fidgeting, especially beginning practitioners. Nonetheless, being that it was my first day and all, I adhered to the suggestion.
After 35 minutes of asana, to the tune of much complaining, joking and gossiping (among other bodily noises perceived to be hilarious), I asked the youth to lie flat on their mats.
I described to them the posture of savasana; gently, I invited the youth to lie flat on their backs with their eyes closed and to begin to disconnect from their physical bodies, from their senses, and to allow their physical bodies to soften into their mats and relax. I asked the youth to soften their breath, letting their breathing be natural, completely uncontrolled and to soften their minds, to let go of all thought, reason and logic. I reminded the youth that this time was just for them, to be still within themselves, with nothing to do but become truly relaxed.
I watched, and became deeply humbled.
I considered this: When in the lives of these kids could they lie down knowing that they were safe, warm and welcome?
When in their day-to-day lives could they take a moment to release the agitations of the mind, to truly have a moment of serene peace, not needing to watch their bags or their backs? Is it possible that in Savasana, they may have glimpsed the deepest part of themselves, this perfect point of stillness, a point unscathed by all the adversity they’d faced thus far? Might this be a catalyst for healing?
Of course, I cannot pretend to know with certainty what happened in those 10 minutes, nor what happened during Savasana in the classes I have taught in the years following. However, I do know that the youth continued to attend the class, week after week so perhaps savasana resonated. Safe, warm and welcome.
That first class was the catalyst for my commitment to the Inner Peace Project – I know that I want to live a life in service and this project will be my method.
What should everyone know about the Inner Peace Project?
It’s brand new! We are in our infancy, and just starting to build. We are passionate and believe deeply in the work that we are called to do – and we need all the help and support we can get from anyone who feels with an interest!
If we’re down with IPP, how can we help?
- Corporate to Community Yoga Project
- Sign your workplace up to be part of our Corporate to Community project. Each corporate class taught funds the opportunity for SATTVA classes to be offered to vulnerable/marginalized/undeserved populations within the community, appropriately adapted to the specific needs of the population and at no cost to the community organization.
- Consider taking our Community Yoga Teacher Training
- The community yoga teacher training will be a 25-hour weekend intensive, which explores the foundations of teaching yoga outside of the centre/studio, in a community setting. Specifically, this training will address the elements of building accessible community yoga classes for beginner students, corporate groups, athletes and teams, and vulnerable or marginalized populations, such as at-risk or homeless youth and adults, LGBTQ populations and aboriginal peoples. Our next training dates are April 15-17. 2016.
- Connect with us on through our website, Insta, Email
If you made it this far down the blog, then you’re reading at a grade 8 level, and have an attention span that lasts longer than a monkey writing Shakespeare.
Date: February 21st
Time: 2pm-5pm. Because if you’re not meeting at 6am, then 2pm is the most logical time to meet.
Where: iHuman HQ
What do I bring:
– A Yoga mat (if you don’t have one, we will have a few extras that you can borrow)
– A dish to share – the theme is Tribes of November Project. We’ll leave this open ended, but here’s a Google Doc that can ensure that we have more than veggie trays and napkins.
Will I need to grow a beard or learn Sanskrit to practice (do) yoga?
While it will help you achieve at least 90% more zen, it is not mandatory. This is the perfect class for people whose yoga experience has been stretching their arms when they wake up in the morning.
Seriously though, yoga terrifies me. I’ve never done it before.
That’s not a question. This is a perfect class for beginners. Katie taught my first yoga class and I survived. And it’ll have it’s own NP spin to it too.
Is Steven actually Superman?
Am I about to walk into a timeshare presentation?
We’ll make you stretch, eat and hang out (indoors and in the light). Katie and Steven will be around to talk about their tribes, and if you want, Steven might tour you around the building, but that is all optional. Note:Jen has promised to leave the slideshow of her last family vacation at home.
How does Katie get such a great top-knot?
We’ve asked many times, but apparently magicians never reveal their secrets.
What’s the catch?
If either iHuman or the Inner Peace Project resonate with you and you want to get involved, then that’s awesome. If they don’t, then that is cool too. We just wanted to introduce you to Steven and Katie. What we really care about, is you showing up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 6am to bounce with us.
Will Jen be there?
What about safety?
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