Ari Yoga > Charity  > Creating change from the heart

Creating change from the heart

After the completion of my fundraiser workshop yesterday, I decided to write some thoughts and start a blog on my website.

I’ve always been a writer of both poetry and stories as a youngster, so here it is:

My workshop entitled “Heart Strong” was a fundraiser for Elephant Nature Park Thailand and also Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, and centred around awakening a strong “inner fire” yoga practice to remove any obstacle in your life or really to find the motivation for transformation. We are just about to start spring, and I timed this workshop with the new moon for an auspicious new beginning!

I weaved in the mythology of Ganesh, while talking about my reason for doing the workshop, which really came about from many visits to Thailand and India. You see, i am very empathic, especially when it comes to animals (including humans) and plants, and from my travels I really witnessed a lot of animal insensitivity.

I learned about how Elephants need to be tortured for a period of time in order for them to be ridden, and this usually happens when they are young and taken away from their mothers. The procedure called “the Pajaan” or “Crush” leaves the animals spirit broken and then it lives in fear of the bull hook the “mahout” or handler is carrying.  You will see these everywhere at Elephant riding centres. The Elephants then generally work 8 hour days carrying people and heavy seats, and their backs are just not designed for this. Not only that, but the Elephants are being used for illegal logging and also still being used in circus’s everywhere.

Once you have looked into the eyes of an Elephant in these conditions and truly seen the spirit in them, its impossible to ride them again or condone any of these barbaric methods.

I understand people need to feed their families and make a living. But, in my opinion, living in a world where people use each other and animals for personal gain, often at the expense of someone or something else is just not acceptable anymore. So Elephant Nature Park really opened my eyes and hearts to these amazing creatures.

I see it everywhere, people have an attitude of “whats in it for me?” or “what will I get out of it”, and a lot of businesses put profit before ethics. So, thats where Living Yoga comes in.  Ahimsa, the 1st of the Yamas in yoga, teaches us to not harm in thought or deed, anyone or anything, including ourselves. Yoga becomes something more than postures on a yoga mat, it becomes the way you live, relate, eat and think.

So, I put this workshop on to raise awareness, to raise money, to sponsor Elephants and just do my bit to help. I also wanted to help locally here in Sydney, so thats why Im donating also to the dogs and cats home. I went to visit them last week to check out the work they are doing and my heart just really went out to all the animals that are abused or abandoned.

So 100% of the money I made from the workshop Im giving away to these charities. Im hoping that the yoga studio which took over 30% of the money will also support a bit. I was a little dissapointed that none of the staff or other teachers came to support, but the students that came really inspired me with their enthusiasm!

Its hard not to be overwhelmed by negativity around, its all over the news and social media these days. But, I wanted to focus on what I could do. Which is teach an awesome workshop, provide information and in doing so raise money to help out.


Ari Levanael

With a long history of yoga practice spanning almost 30 years, Ari is a passionate and dedicated student of the yoga tradition. Currently, Ari holds over 1,700 hours of accredited yoga teacher-training in various styles, merging the traditional with a knowledge of gymnastics, martial arts and aerial acrobatics.

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