Yoga Journal - - 2018 GOOD KARMA AWARDS -

? YOGA JOUR­NAL: Can you de­scribe ACT’s mis­sion and how it helps your com­mu­nity?

MAR­SHAWN FEL­TUS: The first com­po­nent is to ed­u­cate peo­ple on what yoga is and what it can do for them. It amazes me how so few peo­ple ac­tu­ally take the time to close their eyes and take a deep breath. The se­cond com­po­nent is to make yoga ac­ces­si­ble. Our classes range from $8–$12. We don’t want our prices to mean peo­ple have to take things off their gro­cery lists.

? YJ: How do you em­body the yo­gic con­cept of seva, or “self­less ser­vice”?

MF: Yoga is mul­ti­di­men­sional, and you have to look at what dif­fer­ent peo­ple need. If you try to say, “We’ll do it our way and make every­body con­form,” it doesn’t work. If you can tap into what in­di­vid­u­als need, you have bet­ter buy-in. When I meet some­one who’s never been on a yoga mat or seen the in­side of a yoga stu­dio, I try to get to know them, and then say some­thing like, “You know, if your back is hurt­ing, I know a few things for that.” They may never come in for a tra­di­tional class, but at least I’ve planted the seed.

? YJ: What are your goals for the fu­ture, and how do you plan to use the $10,000?

MF: This is a re­ally key time for us to re­ceive this award. The main plan is to train more yoga teach­ers from the com­mu­nity and to help more peo­ple. We’ll also be able to buy some props and pul­ley carts, which we need to trans­port our mats when we’re out do­ing pop-up yoga ses­sions on the street; we’ll fix our web­site, which is down be­cause of mal­ware; and we’ll be able to do well­ness checks where we sit down and buy a meal for some­one and have a con­ver­sa­tion—that goes a long way.

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