Today is the day our nation celebrates an American hero named Martin Luther King, Jr. Declared in 1983, it is a day to acknowledge this great man and bring awareness to our own relationship to his legacy, a life dedicated to freedom for all beings.

Freedom is essentially the goal of yoga – freedom from physical and mental suffering, freedom from attachment, freedom from aversion. Moksha is the Sanskrit word for freedom from the cycles of life and death.

The opposite of freedom is bondage. We may be bound in our thought patterns, bound in our prejudice, bound by a bad back. Through yoga we are systematically releasing ourselves from the physical, mental, and energetic blocks and obstacles that keep us from our true nature, which is freedom and joy, and the realization that we are all one.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great Karma Yogi. He took action in the service of mankind. He wanted American to wake up, to be fully present, to witness the injustice and degradation that his brothers and sisters experienced, and change the system.

Today, can we spend time not only honoring this great warrior in the fight for human freedom, but working to further his cause? What is one thing you could do today to put energy towards human rights? How can you practice Karma Yoga, the yoga of selfless action?

Want to take yoga beyond the studio environment? Get involved with Street Yoga, dedicated to bringing yoga, mindful breathing, and compassionate communication to youth and families and their caregivers struggling with homelessness, poverty, abuse, addiction, trauma and behavioral challenges.

Passionate about whole foods and how they are can provide freedom from illness and mental disturbances? Check our Urban Farm Hub to learn how you can get involved in the effort to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to those with limited access.

Sick to death of the criminal justice system and how its corporate housing units are holding tanks rather than opportunities for transformation? Sign up to volunteer for Yoga Behind Bars, a wonderful local non-profit dedicated to bringing yoga meditation classes to incarcerated youth and adults in Washington State as well as those at risk of entering the criminal justice system.

There are, of course so many ways to help, but these are a few local, easy-to-access organizations that are working for freedom, every day.

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer

Neighborhood Studios