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The intention of Circle Up is to support emerging yoga communities- this culminated with our trip to Haiti in late May.  Working in Haiti was a welcome relief from other international work both Lisa and I have done. Not only did we have strong local support and overwhelming community buy-in, but were also able to witness a culture reviving nearly 3 years after the earthquake. Stepping through the rubble of one building offered us a view of 3 more steadily rebuilding. Weaving through trash, pedestrians, and a constant flow of sewage, we found a thriving market and multiple small businesses full of Haitian customers.

While in Haiti, we partnered with (CMBM), an organization that works both locally and internationally, offering a holistic approach to psychotherapy. Their Global Trauma Relief Programs uses experiential learning to train community members to lead 10-week group therapy sessions utilizing various alternative modalities such as yoga, creative writing, dance, meditation, etc.

Our main goal was encouraging community leaders to engage in personal self-care practices, as well as to feel confident introducing basic yoga stretches into their psychotherapy groups.  Our secondary goal was to teach the yoga component of the 10-week trauma recovery programs to children attending these CMBM groups in local schools.

And everywhere we taught, our students asked for more yoga – in fact, we arrived with 9 schedule workshops and left having taught 13. During our 10-day trip, we visited multiple organizations throughout Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, a sea-side village about 100km from the capitol. The 266 students we taught ranged in age and diversity from 60-year-old voodoo healers to 5-year-old students still living in temporary camps.  We partnered with psychologists, priests, and teachers, following the CMBM model, and we are already in negotiations about returning sometime in the winter.

Last year, an critiquing organizations that sent yoga mats and other charitable donations to developing world countries.  And we have to admit, as we boarded the plane with 35 yoga mats in tow, we were uncertain of how yoga would be received by Hatians.  But as it turns out, Haiti actually does need our yoga mats.  And they want more!  We can’t wait until next time.

Much love,
Katie and Lisa

What does community mean to you?
Community is people who are not out for themselves but for everyone.  Today there are many people who do not care who they step on to get a higher station in life.  Whether it’s other people or the environment.  Working together to not just improve yourself but others and your world is true community.  Everyone has something to offer.  Get out there and let others enjoy who you are and what YOU have to offer!

What do you do to Circle Up?
We really enjoy working with the yoga community to Circle Up.  Helping people understand that yoga is not just a personal practice is very rewarding.  A yoga practice can include as many people as you want.  AcroYoga brings people together to enjoy yoga and have fun as a group.  Sharing our practice and supporting others in yoga is our favorite way to Circle Up.

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Heidi and Antoine in Red Rock Canyon outside of Vegas

What does community mean to you?
Community is made up of members that provide support, a sense of belonging to something with meaningful relationships and motivation to reach beyond perceived limits.

What do you do to Circle Up?
We circle up by relating to others through activities and interests. We join hands to share food, play music and attend art nights. We reach out to others through bikes, acroyoga and sending correspondence to family and friends.

Shortly after Heidi turned Antoine upside down in an AcroYoga flying session, they fell in love!  And shortly after that, Antoine moved to Rochester Minnesota to be with Heidi.  Together they find passion in everyday events.  They share these passions with friends and strangers alike.  Heidi and Antoine have begun to gather friends in Rochester to explore AcroYoga as they work toward building a sustainable community.

Colleen and her son Maxwell playing on the trampoline

What does community mean to you?
 ………sharing our lives with others in a thoughtful, meaningful way

What do you do to Circle Up?
I circle up by asking for help when I need it, offering help when no one has asked, and expressing appreciation and gratitude for all that we have.

Colleen runs Downtown Desert Yoga in Las Cruces.  When she is not teaching yoga, Colleen is playing on the trampoline with her son, Maxwell.  Colleen hosted us for a special donation class and we had the honor of introducing AcroYoga to a new and vibrant community.  Colleen embodies peace, support, and compassion- all essential qualities to building healthy communities.


What does community mean to you?
Community is the foundation of our soul families. The serendipitous connections that we nurture and build create the community that feeds our souls and nourishes our planet. When we connect with other like minded individuals and we ground that connection we create community.

What do you do to Circle Up?
I am nomadic and nature and float through many communities. To ground in a community or “circle up” I like to find the space that is best serving the community as I experience it. I work within that space and offer my cultivated wisdom and play, often through yoga and AcroYoga. No matter who we are individually, we all can find connection and common ground through breath.

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What does community mean to you? 
To me, community means a group of people that share something.  It could be a place, an activity , or a philosophy.  In El Chalten, we have created a new Yoga community.

What do you do to Circle Up?
I  support my community by sharing all I know, opening a studio so that students may practice, connect with each other, and grow as yogis.

Lisa and Katie enjoying Ceci's backyard

What does community mean to you? 

Comunidad significa para mi común-unión, somos una y somos muchas. Siempre hay algo que nos une: los alimentos, la danza, los cantos, el juego, el dolor, las lágrimas, la alegría , los nacimientos y muertes… Encontramos maravillosas formas para hacer de la vida un hermoso compartir, acompañandonos en nuestra libertad de Ser.

Cuando cada uno de nosotros descubre la verdad de su corazón y lo comparte con otros, abrimos los ojos del alma a reconocer en el otro un corazón  inocente y único, cada uno de nosotros somos uno de los hermosos hilos de un tejido de muchos colores.

Acroyoga llego a mi vida como un regalo para asumir un roll en un equipo, trabajar juntos, honrar la disciplina, entregarme, agradecer, estar en servicio, sentirme cuidada, jugar, divertirme, confiar en mi cuerpo, confiar en el otro, romper esquemas y Volar!!!!

What do you do to Circle Up?
Basicamente tengo un compromiso profundo y divertido con mi alma de ser honesta conmigo misma, hago lo que amo… amo bailar, cantar, dibujar, cocinar, comer, dar y recibir masajes, tejer, los abrazos y sonrisas, llorar cuando así lo siento, el trabajo del cuerpo(bodywork) los bananos, la miel, la luna y el sol, el olor del prado despues de llover, el atardecer, respirar profundo, el mar, mis pies sucios despues de bailar o un jam de acroyoga en el parque.

Hago parte de círculos de mujeres, cantos, danzas y de medicinas ancestrales. Soy parte de la tribu de 5 ritmos. Soy dichosa cantando mantras e invitando a este espacio de quietud y florecimiento a traves de mi voz en conciertos. Difundo esta práctica de siembra de consciencia a través de la expresión de nuestra voz con japa malas hechas a mano con semillas colombianas y clases de canto. Amo participar y sostener para otros las meditaciones de mi maestro Osho.Tengo tardes de costurero con mis amigas para tejer mochilas, bujandas, ruanas y cocinar. Agradezco inmesamente la confianza que los otros ponen en mi al exponer sus historias y cuerpos en la sesiones de sanación y de masaje thai. Soy un hada de la comunidad acroyogi !!! y quizás mas cosas que ahora no tengo tan presente ;)