Living Building – Living Yoga
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir
When I started practicing yoga, I had no idea this is where it would lead me. Over time, I am compelled to ask the questions – what is yoga? and how do I live it?
Yoga is a state of union with all things and a method for realizing interconnectedness.
Through practice, interconnectedness sprouts, delicately breaking through our conditioned perceptions, gaining form and vibrancy, until its beauty is realized.
An experience of interconnectedness is an experience of yoga. To act with regard to connection is to practice yoga. Each time the yogi gets a taste of union with all things, she is rewired with greater sensitivity to the joys and the suffering of the world, and her compassion grows deeper. The effect over time is cumulative. Each experience is a little more real and results in a greater appreciation for the intricacy and preciousness of life, a desire to live it with higher regard, and a passionate lifestyle better aligned with the understanding that all things are connected.
To perceive one’s life as independent to other beings (pre-practice), one’s actions seem to affect only themselves. In truth (post-practice), one’s actions have an effect on everyone and everything, however humbly. This post-practice realization is at once empowering and frightening because inter-connectivity means individuals aren’t as powerless as they once thought. Every action, every word, and every thought contribute to the collective web of life. Everyone has a role to play.
As the yogi senses a deeper connection and understands their decisions really matter, naturally they tread a little lighter. They make decisions with greater consideration for the co-inhabitants of the world, and the trail of human destruction fades over time.
It’s easy to get lost in the language here, but this message isn’t a metaphor. It isn’t metaphysical either. It’s literal and it’s physical.
Yoga is a state of union with all things and a method for realizing interconnectedness.
Everything depends on everything else. Fish need the water, the trees, and even the bears that prey on them. Leafs needs the sun, the sky, and the earth. We need these things too. We are made of the environment. It surrounds us. It pervades us. It IS us. We depend on it and it depends on us.
Life is an intricate web of relationships. Although we know this truth, it fails to guide our decisions as people on the planet. Waking up to this realization is the purpose of practice. Practice invokes the remembrance of interdependence so that we can live out that reality for the sake of ourselves and for the sake of our planet.
At this juncture, we have an opportunity to live our practice – to build a new home through a process that limits the destruction of the environment, a home that gives more than it takes, a home that benefits humanity. Often we sacrifice too much in the process of building our dreams. Convincing ourselves the end is more important than the means, we set aside our practice in pursuit of our ambitions.
How do we live in these modern times while minimizing the impact on the environment? It is precisely at this juncture that the yogi of today seeks some reconciliation.
For Yoga Union, the answer is two-fold: Serve the collective awakening by teaching the practices while minimizing the environmental impacts of this service.
Yoga Union will not brush aside the practices or the understandings they give in order to to build our new home. Because of the overwhelming support we feel from this great community, we are taking on the Living Building Challenge.
The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard. It calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. To be fully certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including net zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy. Unlike LEED certifications, the LBC is a performance-based certification. This ensures that the building and its inhabitants actually conserve as much energy as they promise to.
Like yoga practice, the LBC is an invitation and not an obligation. Like yoga practice, the LBC is an opportunity to enhance our lives and the lives of others. Like yoga practice, the LBC is a challenge, and will require our most sincere effort.
In order to make this Herculean effort possible, we are calling on the community for support. We seek to raise $150,000 between now and our opening in June 2014.
– Entry courtyard.
– Indoor entry community-gathering space with living wall.
– 2,300 sq. ft. yoga studio with solar-heated, state of the art heating and ventilation.
– 650sq. ft. small studio with restored ceiling.
– Public-access rooftop garden for yoga, café food production, and leisure
– Full wellness center with 8 treatment rooms. Practice including but not limited to: massage, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, yoga therapy, esthetician, therapist, and colonic treatment.
– Child Care
– Spacious locker room/bathroom facilities (with doors!)
Our relocation will come at no additional cost for members.
YU’s schedule will also remain as is. Adding the small studio will prevent us from having to cancel regular classes in the future.
In the small studio, we will add movement class series including: aerobics, dance, Pilates, martial arts and more. We will add informational series: yoga philosophy, environmental awareness, self-care… as well as community-building and interpersonal relationship workshops. We intend to open the space regularly to host free events primarily focused on yoga as activism – giving folks the tools to actively change the world.
DONATE AND HELP BUILD THE NEW YOGA UNION COMMUNITY WELLNESS CENTER.
Your donation will:
– make it possible to build the most environmentally friendly community center in the country.
– Ensure the project follows the highest standard for sustainable building practices.
– Contribute to the positive transformation of our neighborhood and society by directly addressing the critical needs of the environment and the economy.
– Move the building industry a giant step closer to transparency and full disclosure of the “ingredients” that comprise our gathering spaces.
– Endorse a group of passionate individuals fighting to create positive change for the environment and for each other.
– Provide the SE Portland yoga and wellness community a home that is nearly free of toxins and environmentally destructive materials.
– Provide a rooftop garden space for yoga, wellness, community gatherings, and good time parties!
Thus, we will be hosting a series of FUNdraisers. We’re kicking off fundraising with a concert Oct. 4th at Dante’s with The Scott Pemberton Trio. Scott Pemberton is Winter’s husband, who plays a convergence of jazz, pop, funk, and soul and he’s incredibly talented. His music is fun and positive, incorporating lyrics that speak to the yogi and the practice. Tickets are $15 and all of the proceeds go to help build the new YU. The night will include live performance art, available bar, Scott’s perfectly-danceable music, and a few booths for raising funds.
We will be setting up fun and informative Booths on Friday night:
Photo booth – gather some buddies and step inside for some fun. Cobb Hoelzer and Kim Bengston will help bring out the good times and the beauty; Lisa Skaff will capture the memories on film. Images will be available for a small fee. Again, all proceeds help build the new YU.
Brick booth – Immortalize you name, your words, your message, your business and your pleasure, even your face if you want, within the very material of our revolutionary, sustainable building. Craig Smith of “Stone Creations Northwest” will engrave your words into the hard materials of the site. This is a four-tiered precious metal system. Choose from the following options.
Bronze – 4”X8” brick paver $100
Silver – 8”X8” brick paver $200
Gold ~ 12”X16” stone with stock image $500
Platinum ~ 24”X24” stone with custom image $1,000
Site/LBC/information and Volunteer Booth:
Sign up to help build the new space. We will need community labor for painting, landscaping, wood working, stone working, building fixtures, and much more. Sign up to get your hands on the project.
In community, there is a role for everyone to play. When we acknowledge our intricately connected nature, when we set aside our differences in honor of the fact that we are completely and beautifully dependent on one another as well as the environment we all share; we acknowledge that remembrance with one simple word – Namaste.