When we know we get to serve, and give of our time, the heartbeat quickens and the flutter in the belly of excitement coincides! It’s exciting to anticipate if the YG skills will actually work…what type of kids will I get to see…is the 4 types real? This is when the mind kicks in to overdrive and the doubt comes. This is when knowing there are over 700 volunteer teachers who know exactly what this feels like perhaps eases the mind chatter if only for a moment. This is when you reach out to community. You joined a movement when you said yes to spending 2.5 days with the Yoga Gangster badass trainers, Terri Cooper and Jodi Weiner. You said yes…you said yes…just keep telling yourself that as you drive up to the center…you said yes to volunteering…as you unload the mats from your car…you said yes as administration looks at you a little off beat wondering who and what you are bringing…YOU said yes to eye contact with each student as they walk in, perhaps drag themselves to the center, head hung down, energy heavy. YOU SAID yes to each one of them as they run around the room getting ready to push back and get your attention. It was YES to the challenge, YES to the kids who need resources, to kids who need space to be heard, valued and to just BE…YOU SAID YES….
…thank you to all the LOVED YG graduates for rockin’ the best version, for being fearless and authentically YOU!
Haven’t joined the movement yet? If you still the mind long enough, you just may hear the call…you may just hear that YES.
We are ready for you!
We often get some interesting emails asking about our name “Gangsters” and some push back from centers who feel we glorify the “gangster” culture and even celebrate the violence connected with it. Those of you who know who we are and how we roll with our “Gangster” selves, we know…for those who may question…here is a clear understanding…a Yoga Gangster is a person:
“Who intentionally utilizes their thoughts, words and actions to empower humanity. Qualities include compassion, acceptance, awareness, health and willingness to grow and develop oneself and to support the healing of others & the planet”
We are a collective movement of unity, peace and connection. We don’t see separation, we see the soul’s need for connection, we see the soul’s need for light, for love and for hope. It is our mission, our soul’s fire to share the messages of hope, empowerment, self respect, self control and self awareness through the practice of yoga.
We inspire hundreds, we have moved thousands, you in?
Join our newsletter to get updates of the latest centers in your community that host our programs. If you feel called to join the movement and aren’t sure how you can support us…monetary support is greatly appreciated as we dig deeper into the markets we have programming. If you want to locate some volunteers, hit us up – Jodi@yogagangsters.org
You found your way to this path – now what? It seems it can be overwhelming, this deep call to help; to make a difference. I know exactly how you feel. It took me over 40 years to find a really great place to take all the life lessons and all the “aha’s” and roll them into something that mattered not just to the big picture but to me too. There are countless human injustices that have pulled me to serve. It wasn’t until I became a parent that the call got the loudest. Service shows up in so many ways. Your call to serve is a deafening tug at the heart. Quiet the “what if’s” and “I’m not sure” voices and tune into to the call of the heart so you can live the change.
Kids in crisis are scared. They are stuck in a system that runs on survival; food, clothing, shelter, safety. When the bare necessities are met for them, how do they stay hopeful and think of what life could be outside their own prison of their trauma? How do they look beyond the scars and see they are not their story, they are meant for greatness and are not defined by the circumstances their family created?
Join the movement to empower kids in crisis through the gifts of yoga. Empower them through messages of hope, faith, integrity, self control, self respect and self awareness. Your support totally matters and yes you really do make a difference to them. It takes one hour in service to these kids for you to get it. It’s a visceral knowing in your core, the light in their eyes grows, their breath deepens and a wash of peace comes…if only for a moment.
Always in service, Jodi, Executive Director, YG
As we continue to flow with this amazing movement, we thought it would be great to share some insight and other perspectives from numerous people who have spent time with Yoga Gangsters…this week…our incredible and AMAZING intern Gabrielle C. — We wish you much abundance of success on your journey and look forward to sharing the mat with you on September 22!!!! #ygchallenge #myservice
Ever since the first day I started my journey with Yoga Gangsters, there was nothing but excitement and eagerness running through me. I have been thrown into the life of a yogi since I was little. My mom a yoga teacher and nurse used yoga to help her struggling patients. I got to witness everyday how yoga can help someone get his or her strength back not only physically but also mentally. When my mom passed away I knew that I want to continue my moms work in any way I can. I have always been the shy and soft-spoken person so I knew being a yoga teacher and up front in the action was not really for me but then I came across Yoga Gangsters and I was sucked in. When, I was presented with the opportunity to work with Yoga Gangsters this summer, I couldn’t wait to get started. As I started my journey, I was lucky to be working closely with Jodi. I will never forget the first time I met Jodi and I said to her I am excited to be reporting to you this summer and she corrected me and said you are not reporting to me, I am guiding you on this journey. That one moment of kindness and support from someone I just met really made me feel like Yoga Gangsters is where I needed to be.
My journey with Yoga Gangsters started off doing a lot of behind the scenes work, which I enjoyed a lot but then I was thrown right into assisting with my fellow Yoga Gangsters volunteers. My first day of working with Girl Power Rocks was one of the scariest moments because I didn’t know what to expect. But right when I stepped in the kid’s smiles and laughter throughout the class touched my heart. I was there to just observe but the excitement sucked me in. The kids were just as timid as me the first time we were there but when we came back every week they started to enjoy the power of yoga. They became focused and wanted to try the hard moves and came back with researched moves they wanted to practice. It brought me peace when I would help them get into that headstand or just watch the girl be relaxed and find peace within themselves. There was one little girl that touched my heart; she always asked me if I was going to be back next week so I can be her partner. The moment I walked through the door week after week and saw her smile was really something. She smiled because I promised I would be back and didn’t break that promise. It will be sad not spending every Thursday with the girls of Girl Power Rocks but I have a feeling this wont be the last time I witness the positive effects of yoga.
This summer has brought me so much joy and excitement. It was one of the best journeys I have taken. I would like to believe that my journey with Yoga Gangsters has just started and I will continue to be inspired on and off the mat. Thank you Terri, Claire, Natalya, and Jodi for getting my journey started.
Check out Yoga Gangsters in Miami rockin’ the Harlem Shake!
These days the medical community is becoming much more aware of how yoga can affect both health and well-being. Yoga is truly one of the best preventative medicines gaining popularity, so we were thrilled when asked to educate the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s staff and students at their community health fair last week. Programming Manager, Natalya Krayeva and volunteer Linda Gonzalez had the opportunity to answer questions from the community and share about our upcoming training offerings for those seeking to learn more about yoga and trauma.
When we were invited by City Year Miami to share yoga with middle school students on a Saturday morning, we knew that we would be meeting some pretty exceptional kids. We had such a blast participating in the Young Heroes “Health & Fitness Day” where we taught how yoga is a great way to workout your body, mind and spirit. The youth here were eager to learn and many even remembered some poses from our participation in last year’s event. Check out the photos below and click here to see the entire photo album on Facebook. Class led by Marisol Tamez, Paola Pinto & Sarah Clegg.
Can you believe we’ve already trained over 250 people wanting to give back to their community? YES, the energy of service is getting more intense and powerful every day! Meet the latest graduating class of YG trainees who completed our Yoga Gangsters Outreach Training in Miami at 305 Yoga this past weekend. The next stops on our US Tour are Hegel Yoga in Phoenix, AZ (March 1-3) and Philadelphia, PA (April 12-14)!
Talk about a MOVEMENT! Yesterday a special member of the YG family, Candy McDowall, created a blog post to tell us about her outreach program at Huckleberry House a crisis and runaway center for teens in Columbus, OH. She asked her friends and family to contribute donations and in less than 24 hours she’s already raised over $870.00! We are full of gratitude for our community of supporters! Click the graphic below to be redirected to Candy’s blog “Bird Uncaged” to read her full article!