Free Yoga: Interfaith Innovation and a Return to Traditional Roots

I always say that Interfaith engagement does not necessarily change traditions, but rather stimulates innovative ways of expressing tradition. In this case, quite literally: Ancient tradition + Social Networking = new way of communicating.

Headwaters/Delta is now the Social Media Adviser for Hindu American Seva Charities (HASC)! HASC is a project run by Anju Bhargava, the Hindu representative on President Obama’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
HASC is a progressive American organization promoting pluralism, tolerance, social justice, civic engagement (including acculturation and adaptation of New Americans and immigrants), and advancing interfaith and community service. Seva is an integral part of Hindu/Dharmic traditions, and means society enrichment through volunteer activities. Many people in our country are in need of a little (or a lot) of help. Hindu communities have much to offer their fellow Americans, of any, every, and no faith. We want to help.

Much of HASC’s work is to reach out to Hindu and other “Dharma” traditions such as Buddhist, Sikh and Jain, to form a network and collective vision for this new endeavor. There has never been a national organization for these traditions that specifically focuses on social service. So, how will we proceed? What’s next?

Our first project with  HASC is to help promote Yogathon: Free Yoga Across America. We are uniting the White House “Active Lifestyle Challenge” with the Hindu concept of seva. On August 29th, Temples, Ashrams and other Spiritual Centers across the nation will offer FREE Yoga classes to the public. Everyone (of any or no faith) is welcome! If your organization would like to join us, sign up here. All we ask is that attendees bring a  non-perishable food item, and that the participating temples donate them to a local food shelf. We’d appreciate it if you could take a photo and/or send us a brief report to feature on our website, too.

New ideas are often a manifestation of really old ideas. Yoga is an old practice, remade as a new activity, and now it has become part of a movement within its original ancient community (Hindus) living in a young country (America) to do something innovative with another ancient concept: seva. These ideas may be old, but they are far from outdated. There are many ways to bring them to serve our current needs.

We're working on enhancing HASC's 21st Century communication via Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Networking sites. You’ll be seeing us around the internet very soon!

What’s new now, will be old someday: history is in the making. Let’s make something we can look back on and be proud of.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like such a wonderful opportunity to make positive change on a grass-roots level. H/D seems to be engaged with such interesting, useful projects so close to its inception.

    The NOHC, Interfaith Healing, KHEL and now HASC -- you've barely started functioning and you're already making waves. It's always wonderful to see the positive news and work your organization does. It gives me hope. No wonder Obama is working with organizations that you're involved with.