A YD team of gals volunteering at DC Central Kitchen in Northwest on March 27
“By doing service, you purify your heart. Egoism, hatred, jealousy, idea of superiority vanish. Humility, pure love, sympathy, tolerance, and mercy are developed. Sense of separateness is annihilated. Selfishness is eradicated…You begin to feel oneness or unity of life. You develop a broad heart with broad, generous views. Eventually, you get Knowledge of the Self.”―Swami Sivananda
On Friday, March 27, a team of sixteen Yoga District teachers and students volunteered at DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) to give back to the larger community in the city. Read on to learn more about their beautiful (and humorous!) evening spent together in service.
Yoga District teacher, Kate, recollects the evening…
On Friday, March 27th, a team of sixteen Yoga District teachers and students volunteered at DC Central Kitchen (DCCK). Upon arrival we were welcomed into DCCK by warm greetings and laughter. While we did not know each other prior to this volunteer experience, the light and fun atmosphere of DCCK immediately enlivened our evening together.
Our guide began orientation in a serious tone as she reviewed the mission of DC Central Kitchen (DCCK): to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. We then watched a video on how to promote safety and health during food preparation in the kitchen. Eager to learn more about how we would spend our next three hours together, we listened attentively to our guide. As she began to explain our evening task, preparing Sunday dinner, our attention peaked. “At the back of the kitchen we have a chicken coup. We like to ensure that the food we serve is fresh. Today, you will need to enter the chicken coup, snap the chickens’ necks and then prepare chicken for dinner. Is there anyone here who is not ok with our job this evening?”
As a group of yoga practitioners, many of us follow ahimsa (non-violence or compassion) and thus are vegan and vegetarian. Needless to say, our group’s response to the guide’s question was a blend of shock and laughter. While some of us stood in amazement with our jaws dropped, others immediately recognized that our guide truly had a sense of humor! She knew we were yoga practitioners and had decided to pull our proverbial legs. Thus the evening began with laughter and the spur of conversation.
While we did not spend the evening in a chicken coup, we did spend the evening preparing chicken and corn bread for 5,000 balanced meals that would be distributed to 88 nearby homeless shelters, transitional homes, and nonprofit organizations. For three hours we listened to music (some of us even sang and danced) as we worked as a team to prepare dinner for DC’ers in need.
Each volunteer played a unique part in preparing Sunday dinner. We all departed feeling that we had made a valuable contribution to DC Central Kitchen (DCCK). At the same time we enjoyed a wonderful opportunity meeting fellow Yoga District students and teachers who were passionate about building community in the spirit of service.
Yoga District student, Denise, also shares her inspiring memory…
Bags and bags of frozen chicken. Never ending bags of frozen chicken. To feed 5000 people a day, a lot of fowl needs to be cut up every day for DC Central Kitchen (DCCK). And who better to do it than a group of yogis from Yoga District? We quickly learned how to handle big, sharp chef knifes, and got to know one another while prepping food for this incredibly well run organization. A few fowl jokes went flying but mostly, a wonderful group of people who didn’t know each other bonded while doing our part to help out our community. And after our experience last Friday night, I think we might need to re-name the Pigeon pose the “Frozen Chicken!”
The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
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