Off the Mat, Into the World is a nonprofit organization using the power of yoga to inspire consciousness, sustainable action and grassroots social change. Founded by Seane Corn in 2007, Off the Mat has touched hundreds of thousands of lives all over the world, using innovative tools to train, connect and guide new leaders to discover their purpose, use their voice and serve the global community. Across several continents, Off the Mat is the leading organization helping yogis not just be the change but actually change the world. www.offthematintotheworld.com
In 2013 Bhakti Chai engaged in a partnership with Off The Mat, Into the World to support events and initiatives throughout the year with the San Francisco-based organization.
“As Bhakti Chai grows into a nationally distributed brand, we feel strongly about supporting groups and communities that embrace social change,” said Brook Eddy. “Off the Mat, Into the World perfectly aligns with our core values and we see their members living their Bhakti to make a positive impact in the world.”
A portion of our contribution was earmarked for the inaugural “Living Your Bhakti” grant which was awarded to Amanda Stuermer. Amanda is an OTM leader who launched World Muse, a non-profit that champions women and girls worldwide.
“We are so thrilled to be in partnership with Bhakti Chai,” said Off the Mat’s Kerri Kelly. “Not only do we love their chai, but they fully embody the values of service that Off the Mat stands for.”
OTM Leaders who are “Living Their Bhakti”
Each quarter, Bhakti Chai aligns with an OTM Leader who exemplifies our shared core values of “living your purpose” – or your “Bhakti”. These amazing individuals inspire us and we are honored to support them as they affect social change locally and globally!
Amanda Stuermer ~ Q4 “Living Your Bhakti” Leader & Grant Recipient
Amanda Stuermer lives in Bend, Oregon and is the Northwest Regional Leader for OTM. She is the founder of Global Shine Project, a non-profit that combines her passions for Yoga, Art, Service, and Travel to connect and empower women and girls worldwide. She feels blessed to be able to share these passions with others and to have this work supported and enriched by her OTM community. Amanda leads Yoga in Action Circles, serves as the OTM Global Ambassador to Uganda, and is currently participating in the Engage Network’s Project Springboard Program.
Amanda also founded World Muse, a non-profit which offers events and programs designed to inspire women and girls to create the change they wish to see in the world. Their mission is to connect women to sources of inspiration and help cultivate the necessary resources, tools, and networks to turn that inspiration into activation. In this way, they serve as a social change incubator for projects inspired by women and girls. They host Muse Women’s Conference and Muse Camp. We also offer our Muse Maker Social Change Program, and Teen Muse Programs.
Maura Manzo ~ Q3 “Living Your Bhakti” Leader
Having helped raise close to $90,000 for charities across the world, Maura knows a thing or two about service. As a senior leader with Off the Mat Into the World, Maura has spent the last three years studying under Seane Corn, Suzanne Sterling and Hala Khouri around conscious action and empowered leadership. She inspires others to take their practice off the mat and show up in the world in a more powerful, purposeful and enjoyable way.
Maura is a Philadelphia based yoga instructor who began to practice yoga to “learn to breathe” after a fire destroyed her home in 2006 and she has been in love ever since. Through yoga, she recognized “the significance of the connection of breath to mind, body and spirit and how quickly this began to change and shift every aspect of my life”.
In 2010, Maura raised $20,000 for HIV/AIDS programs in South Africa as part of Off the Mat, Into the World’s Seva Challenge, for which she was awarded Lifestyle Magazine’s 2010 Superwoman of the Year. A year later, she co-founded the Beyond Asana Teacher Training and Service Project which challenges students to raise $5k, on top of their demanding 200-hour YTT, for their partnership with Build On, an organization working to eradicate poverty and illiteracy throughout the world through education and service. 2012 graduates raised $56k for a rural community in Nepal and participated in a global trek and cultural immersion to break ground on a new school for the village of Ganeshpur. This year, they are on track to raise over $100k and build two schools in Nicaragua.
Maura is our Q3 “Living Your Bhakti” Leader because she is deeply committed to connecting with and engaging in communities on both a local and global level. She believes that everyone can step into their purpose and be of service, simply by sharing themselves, their unique gifts and their hearts with the world.
Laura Henderson ~ Q2 “Living Your Bhakti” Leader
We are thrilled to be working with Laura this quarter as she promotes her amazing foundation called Growing Places Indy (www.growingplacesindy.org) . Laura lives in Indianapolis and she launched Growing Places Indy with a mission to cultivate the culture of urban agriculture and healthy lifestyles, empowering individuals and communities to Grow well, Eat well, Live well and Be well.
Laura and her husband had been living in Europe for a couple of years, and when they moved back to Indianapolis she expended a lot of time and attention on what she felt was lacking or wrong there. It was workshops with OTM founders Seane Corn and Suzanne Sterling that prompted her to start shifting her perspective and consider what she could personally do to make Indianapolis a place that she wanted to live. It was a genuine call to “love it or leave it”. She chose to love Indy city and to “Live My Bhakti”!
“I am devoted to investing my love and energy and passion into being and creating the change I wanted to see in my community. Once I began it direct my attention and energy into what I could do, I found myself in an amazing flow of manifesting the change I wanted to see. In 2008 I started the Indy Winter Farmers market to give Indiana growers, producers, and consumers the opportunity to connect directly through the winter months. From there I launched Growing Places Indy with a friend, and then later established a board and we received our 501c3 status. The hunger for these opportunities to connect with sources of good food and wellness, to connect with each other in community, and to connect with ourselves and what it means to truly step into sustaining our ability to show up in the world and live into our purpose – this hunger is profoundly present, and the response to our work has been truly awe inspiring. We all want to live into our purpose. I am lucky enough to have incredible mentors who have helped me find my way, and I hope that I am able to pay that forward.”
Laura was selected as one of Indy’s 40 Under 40 for 2013 by the Indianapolis Business Journal and believes it is was her Project Springboard and the Advanced Leadership Training through OTM that helped her tap into the courage and confidence to graciously receive the nomination.
Heather Snyder ~ Q1 “Living Your Bhakti” Leader
Heather Snyder is Bhakti’s Q1 “Living Your Bhakti” Leader. Heather is the Executive Director of Yoga Freedom Project (link to yogafreedomproject.com). She created YFP, in collaboration with the Somaly Mam Foundation as a campaign to unite the yoga community around the issue of sex trafficking and is now happy to be turning YFP into its own non profit organization. Heather is dedicated to bringing awareness to the atrocity of sex trafficking and doing her part to support the rescue, healing and empowerment of survivors.
Heather is a Senior Leader with Off The Mat and has helped to foster an OTM community in NYC. Her involvement and work with Off The Mat is what inspired her to create YFP and gave her the tools to do so. She also is an Alexander Technique, yoga, and pilates teacher, a birth doula and the owner of The Graceful Body Healing Services www.thegracefulbody.com.
In her teaching, she is passionate about educating others and empowering them to heal themselves. Mostly, Heather is committed to bringing together inspired and like-minded people, and exploring the possibilities of what a community can create together.
“For me, living a life of service means living the most authentic life I can. If I am staying true to myself I will be of service to the world effectively, consciously and sustainably. To really be of greatest use, I must find my own peace inside, take care of myself and figure out how to make my life on the outside match who I am on the inside. A true life of devotion and service comes from within first. Taking care of myself by listening to my intuition is what keeps me living my Bhakti and purpose out in the world. Thanks to Bhakti Chai for their commitment to devotion through social action and support of Off the Mat into the World and Yoga Freedom Project.”
January 27th ~ Practice For Freedom Event
Heather and the Yoga Freedom Project hosted an event on January 27th to raise awareness about the horrors of sex trafficking and funds to help eradicate it. They raised money for The Somaly Mam Foundation, GEMS and Transitions Global, all effective organizations offering sustainable and holistic aftercare to trafficking survivors in Cambodia and New York City. The inspirational event, Practice for Freedom was led by NYC’s leading yoga teachers: Colleen Saidman Yee, Kelly Morris, Sri Dhamra Mittra, Alan Finger, Tricia Donegan, Kay Kay Clivio, Douglass Stewart and Kim Jeblick.
The evening brought together 150 attendees and raised more than $10,000. Bhakti Chai was proud to be there supporting Heather and her team in uniting for freedom.