Yoga is a very introspective practice. As such, in my personal practice, I tend to keep my eyes closed. In my group classes, when indoors, I lower the lights. However, imagine going through life in total darkness. As a young child, I remember visiting a relative. He was completely sightless. He lived alone. Within his studio apartment, he could fend for himself. But, I always wondered how he managed beyond his front door. He had no guide dog. No close family or friends. That lasting impression is why I’m endorsing Seva Foundation’s Fifth Annual Yoga for Sight.
Yoga for Sight Unites Yogis Worldwide
My childhood memories of one blind man’s challenges remain. They have, in part, spurred me to do my own seva (self-less service) for the Berkeley-based Seva Foundation. The fundraising promotion takes place in April. Around the world, yoga studios and instructors will encourage students to reflect upon the sense of sight. As such, I will be mentioning this worthy charity during my group classes. Additionally, when you book two private sessions* with me, I will donate the full amount of the second class to Seva.
“We tend to take for granted the things that are always there for us, and sight is one of those things,” said Andy Sharkey, Donor Engagement at Seva. “Through yoga we can open up to seeing people’s struggles and understanding them.”
Yoga guides you to connect your body and your mind. It should also teach you to be more respectful and considerate of others. My yoga foundations teach that seva, or karma yoga, is just as important as our breathwork or sun salutations. I try to practice seva in many ways.
For many years, I’ve recognized Seva’s contributions. Since 1978, Seva has worked with local communities to help people live healthier more productive, happy lives. Vision is a precious gift that Seva has given to across the globe. In fact, Seva, very cost-effectively, has provided critical eye care to 4 million in underserved communities.
“Nowhere do I know of another group of people who have come so far in their efforts to deliver high quantity, low cost, conscious and compassionate service to their fellow beings,” said Ram Dass, Seva co-founder and honorary lifetime board member.
For example, Seva’s programs have reduced the cost of cataract surgery to just $50, making eye care available to the global poor. Additionally, Seva services include training, technology and techniques for local doctors and community outreach personnel to provide services regardless of one’s ability to pay.
This past year, alone, Seva provided vital eye care services to 1.3 million people in 21 countries. Nearly 70,000 had their eyesight restored, more than 118,000 received medical treatments, and 106,00 received eye glasses.
I invite you to participate in Yoga for Sight with me. Or donate directly. Here are more reasons why your dollar will go so far with Seva.
Seva’s Vision: a World Free of Blindness
- 36 million people in the world are blind. That number is projected to triple by 2050. Given access to appropriate eye care, 75 percent of them could see again.
- Globally, 19 million children are visually impaired or blind. Lack of vision often blocks them from an adequate education and prevents them from escaping poverty.
- More than half of sight-impaired people are women and girls. Seva seeks to provide outreach and education, community screenings, transportation, and affordable care to women and girls.
- Restoring sight is one of the most effective ways to relieve suffering and reduce poverty.
- The World Bank ranked a 15-minute cataract surgery as one of the most cost-effective health interventions for low and middle income countries.
- Most eye care treatments change lives right away.
- Medication for eye infections prevents decades of blindness and suffering.
- Moreover, high-quality eye care creates an immediate and lasting impact.
- Seva’s long-time partner in India, the Aravind Eye Care System, exemplifies how cost recovery can be turned into financial self-sufficiency. That model is being used around the globe.
There are multiple ways you can contribute.
1) Register for a Yoga for Sight charitable session*, before April 15, with The Namaste Counsel.
2) Find a studio conducting special events for Seva.