Trailblazer: Off the Mat, Into the World
Today's trailblazers are a group that many of our yogis are hopefully familiar with: the lovely ladies of Off the Mat, Into the World. If you're not familiar with the amazing work that this organization does, OTM helps individuals take the path of yoga “off the mat and into the world," expanding the sphere of change outward to local and global communities. They do this by facilitating personal empowerment through leadership trainings, fostering community collaboration, and initiating local and global service projects. They have also planned a Global Action Summit (July 16-17, 2013) two days before Wanderlust California at Squaw Valley for potential leaders (like you) to go deeper in your practice and learn how to turn purpose into action. Get to know Hala Khouri, Kerri Kelly, and Suzanne Sterling from these trailblazer profile questions below.
WL - What aspects of yoga / meditation / spirituality do you bring into your work?
HALA: For me, the mindfulness part of yoga and meditation are the foundation of a transformative and substantive practice. If we are able to be in present time for more of our life, we are able to make better choices, more authentic connections and live in with purpose and integrity.
KK: I’m a high activator, so one of the big things I’ve learned from my practice is that if I am present and embodied, I’m actually able to generate more. Yoga reminds me that who I am being is what matters most. The more I connect to myself the more I connect to my full capacity to play big in the world.
WL - How did you get involved with yoga?
SS: I started studying with Judith Lasater 20 years ago at the Iyengar Yoga Institute. Then I was the book and music buyer for Yoga Works and found Ashtanga with Mati. And I was the girl who cried every day in class for one year. That was when I met Seane Corn and the rest is history.
HALA: A health crisis that invited me to understand the true meaning of health and wellness. And my connection to my environment, community and the planet.
KK: I found yoga after a series of running injuries. It was the first time I actually felt good in my body and I was hooked. But yoga really landed for me after 9-11 when i discovered that yoga was much more than a physical practice, it was a healing space. That healing led me to discover my path of empowerment thru yoga and to help others do the same.
WL - What's your favorite pose?
HALA: Right now…Savasana!
SS: Warrior 3 because I always feel like I’m flying.
KK: Handstand! In this moment, I love going upside down and getting a different perspective on things.
WL - What's feeding your wanderlust today?
KK: Getting lost and discovering the beauty in everything.
Hala: Wanting to be an inspiring roll model to my curious children.
SS: I’ve been on the road since I was a young child, so my wanderlust has always been served and, in fact, a part of who I am. I am curious about the world and how human beings live lives of grace, beauty, connect and community. And I will always be curious about that. However, right now my wanderlust includes an inquiry into loving my home and discovering what it means to have a home that I love.
WL - If you could leave one legacy for your community what would it be?
HALA: Contributing to making embodied mindfulness practices be part of public health and public policy.
KK: I want to play a role in getting yoga and mindfulness to be accepted as a core necessity (like eating and sleeping) rather than an alternative or complimentary practice. I want EVERYONE to discover yoga as a tool for self-regulation and empowerment.
SS: My life’s work is about reminding us that we are hard wired for self expression in community. PS – Embrace your Magic.
Learn more about what the OTM community is up to on their website, and follow them on Facebook here. If you're interested in the OTM Global Summit, you can learn more about the program at Squaw Valley in July right here.