Yoga Moon project

one week. do yoga. raise money. save lives.

Miriam Hechtman

971265_187260671428476_530823269_aYoga Moon is a fundraising project  to support the work of PRASAD Australia in supporting the mothers and children in the Tansa Valley, Maharashtra, India. The aim of the initiative is to raise funds to support the programs developed by PRASAD Australia, including medical assistance for HIV/AIDS, organic farming and micro-banking. For one week, July 31-August 6 2013, you can create an intention to dedicate your yoga practice as a gift to the Adavasi mothers and children in the Tansa Valley, and then make a financial offering as a donation to this worthy cause.

I interviewed the organiser of Yoga Moon™, Karen Workman, to give us some background on the project and how we can all be involved.

How did the initiative Yoga Moon™ come about?

DSC_1710v2-300x200The seed for Yoga Moon germinated during a PRASAD Australia Board meeting in March this year. One of the members suggested we might use social media to raise funds as she had witnessed the success of the Mindful in May (MiM) initiative. Within two hours we had the name, a thumbnail sketch of the event and plans for trademarking and development. We knew that the Yoga Moon project could be an annual signature event in support of PRASAD Australia, that required very little set up costs and minimal manpower. The idea was shared with a few trusty yoginis and women who love challenge and creative conversations of discovery. Further refinement took place over the next two weeks, and especially during conversations with our website developer and ‘woman of many talents’, Katie White, of Phoenix Web & Graphic Design.

Please tell us a bit about PRASAD and the work they do.

PRASAD Australia is a licensee of PRASAD Project International. The work of PRASAD Australia has been to raise funds to support Reproductive and Maternal Child health care in the Tansa Valley, a small region two hours outside of Mumbai, India. Thus far, these funds have helped establish and maintain a Family Clinic, where antiretroviral medication has been administered. The transmission of AIDS through childbirth had been reduced by 90%. Counselling and sexual health awareness has also been a part of the work supported by PRASAD Australia.

Tell us a little about the Tansa Valley and the women there and what work has been done in the past and what the future holds for these women.

maharashtra-indiaThe Tansa Valley is north of Mumbai and near the little village of Ganeshpuri. There is a significant population who travel through the valley to work in the city. This brings a curious juxtaposition of primitive subsistence and western industrialisation. And of course the usual downside such as pollution and promiscuity. Education is a key. A community can be influenced to make good choices when they have received training and understanding. To choose healthy living in all areas of their lives is still novel in this community.

The women of the Tansa Valley are hearty and strong … colourful too. Though very small in stature, they are the backbone of their community. Since the work of PRASAD, these women have taken initiative to create small businesses, learn English, demand equal business rights at Mumbai banks and are endeavouring the clean up unhealthy influences such as alcohol and pollution.

972075_186510268170183_1501336938_nI might add, many are very young, even as young as 16, and have family. Their eyes sparkle, and they laugh easily – truly delightful to be with. Their future is still dependent on supported mentoring to be healthy, to grow and develop their inherent qualities far beyond mere survival.

The theme of Yoga Moon™ is about intentional practice and unattached giving: self-empowerment through dedicated yoga practice – can you please elaborate on this and give people some pointers on how to practice in this way – perhaps even to elaborate to not just yoga practice but all practice.

One of the core markers of Yoga Moon is the intention that all participants receive through giving; that everyone benefits in the cycle of giving and receiving. Anyone can create an intention to impart blessings to these women and children, through whatever means is most attractive or pleasing to you. If you love to swim or to meditate or cook, create an intention to swim, meditate or cook for the women of the Tansa Valley, and offer some financial expression for this intention.

In setting intention, we create a clear energy path for blessed outcome, and especially if that intention is aligned with a higher purpose. Unattached giving means the fruits of our offering are not to be counted, but we carry an abiding faith that in some way, at some time, they will be abundant.

How can people be involved – yoginis and not!

Make an intention to support Yoga Moon and contribute a financial donation. Whatever your practice is, let it be your yoga, an act of union with the Divine.

Please listen to Nadia Rihani, Kate McIntyre Clere and Doug Whittaker share on intention and practice on our website: yogamoon.org.au .

Spread the word! The more people involved, the greater the groundswell of support. ‘Like’ our Facebook page www.facebook.com/yogamoonproject .

And please thank the wonderful women and men who have lovingly given their time and energy to help Yoga Moon. They are listed on the supporters page of the website.

Karen Workman is a psychologist and Gendai Reiki Master in private practice. She serves on the Board of Directors for PRASAD Australia and is a dedicated practitioner of yoga.