Five Pillars Yoga

Posts Tagged ‘Seva’

Make Your Practice Count

Who can imagine a world without elephants?

These magnificent creatures embody wisdom, connection and graceful strength. They form deep bonds, display complex social behaviors, rituals and communal care. Elephants can communicate at a frequency below human hearing and this vibration can travel for miles, coordinating group activities such as courtship or mourning the death of a herd member. They teach, they play, they love.

The global demand for their ivory has fed a brutal slaughter, which claims the lives of 96 elephants every day.

Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society

Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society

Let us not be the generation that sees the extinction of Elephants due to illegal ivory trade, poaching and greed. Let us join together with the Wildlife Conservation Society for the 96Elephants Campaign and raise awareness and funds to combat this brutal violence.


This Summer Solstice join Yogis around the world who are dedicating their practice to Elephants. As elephant activist Seane Corn says, let your body be a prayer, a prayer of support and education. Participate on Social Media to raise awareness but don’t stop there. DONATE. Get involved. Check out the resources on 96Elephants and become an Elephant Hero.


Pose. Challenge. Donate.
Make Your Practice Count.

96Elephants is inviting yogis to strike Elephant Trunk Pose, Eka Hasta Bhujasana, share the photo and tag three friends to spread the word and spread the love.

Follow us on Instagram to see our teachers and join our community in striking a pose!

There are great variations for beginners and advanced practitioners – check out these instructive videos to take your Elephant pose to the next level!







Five Ways You Can Really Give, By Giving Back

‘Tis the season for giving! For most people that means buying lots of… stuff for the people they love. I won’t pretend I’m not a part of this group — I love the smile on my mother’s face when she opens a special gift from me. But, Five Pillars wants to remind everyone how easy it is to live with Right Intention this holiday season. This means broadening the scope of what it means to give, and sharing your generosity with new and deserving recipients.


We did some research, and here are the top five ways you can really give, by giving back, this holiday season!


Give Health

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 10.33.33 AMAmani Global Works has a simple mission: to provide a sustainable healthcare system on Idjwi, an island in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can help them “Care, Cure and Make Whole” with as little as five dollars, which will feed a malnourished child for a whole month. by taking a few minutes to visit their donation site. you can see just how far your gift will go.


Give Education

Women One is an international organization that has worked in Haiti, Kenya, Jordan, and even New York City to create education programs that are holistic, sustainable and impactful. Head to their donation page and sponsor a girl and her future, today.

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Give Warmth

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 10.02.20 AMThere’s a creative and easy new way to help keep our city warm. We encourage you to hang your old jackets and coats on city lampposts, and leave a little note for the homeless people that might find them. Here’s the heart-warming story about the young woman in Portland who started this trend of giving in her city.


Give JoyScreen Shot 2015-12-22 at 10.11.28 AM

One Michelle Obama’s favorite ways to give is through supporting Toys for Tots. And just like our inspiring First Lady, you can give the gift of joy to New York City children. Toys for Tots delivers new toys to hundreds of thousands of kids across the city, who otherwise would not experience this bit of holiday cheer.

Give Companionship

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City Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals to nearly 20,000 homebound elderly New Yorkers every single day. Give these seniors the gift of Right Nutrition, as well as the company of the people who come by to drop off and prepare their meals. No one should have to spend the holidays alone.

Many people have reported feeling even greater joy at giving in this way than through traditional shopping and gift exchange. You don’t have to take our word for it, we love to back it all up with a little research. We encourage you to spread a little holiday cheer and abundance this way, and notice how you feel. 



10 Tips to Support Your Green Lifestyle 

Eco-conscious living has become in vogue in the 21st century. If you ask us, this movement is far more influential than the latest trend… jumping on board comes with incredible benefits that improve the health of your body and greater society. Green products are better for your body and the planet. Green business solutions save money and protect our natural resources. Reduce, reuse, and recycle has become increasingly important as we face major environmental issues.


Today’s topic: Sustainability


What is “sustainability” anyhow?: The concept of “sustainability” is based off of the principle that we take only what we truly need, protect our natural resources and also consider the needs of future generations (our children).


When we choose to go green and live with “sustainability” in mind, we are making the conscious decision to participate in conserving and protecting natural resources. Every bite of delicious food we take, each product we purchase, the fresh air we breathe, and the water we drink stems from nature and will ultimately return to the earth.




Here are 10 tips to support your green lifestyle:


  1. Ask yourself what you really need to live comfortably and joyfully. Include your family and/or friends in a discussion. Simplify your lifestyle and reuse, re-purpose, or recycle items you no longer need.

  2. Purchase with sustainability in mind: items with less packaging, items that do not harm the earth (biodegradable), chemical-free personal care.

  3. Green your laundry by washing on the cold setting and hang-drying your clothes.

  4. Carry a cloth bag with you to the grocery store and consider cleaning/reusing plastic bags or replacing plastic bags with reusable bags or tupperware.

  5. Consider buying more organic produce and learn about the clean fifteen (produce with least pesticide use) and dirty dozen (produce with harmful pesticides) to protect your body and the earth.

  6. Eat less meat.

  7. If your morning cuppa joe is a daily event, consider carrying a reusable mug with you.

  8. Consider walking, riding your bike, or taking public transportation instead of driving.

  9. Host a clothing swap with friends to keep an inspired wardrobe without buying anything new!

  10. When you need a break from the daily grind, try a staycation or check out a Stewardship Travel Program for a sustainable vacation.



create helpful habits reminder or advice on a  slate blackboard against rustic weathered wood planks

Where Violence Ends and Hope Begins

Five Pillars is honored to spotlight the incredible work being done by The Retreat in East Hampton, a domestic violence services organization whose mission is to provide safety, shelter and support for victims of domestic abuse and to break the cycle of family violence.

Abuse is something that can take many forms, some more overt than others, and is something that can happen to women (about 1 in 4) and men (about 1 in 7) alike, yet most domestic violence goes unreported.

The Retreat is working to change this, providing a 24-hour emergency hotline, a residential shelter, counseling, legal advocacy plus critical violence prevention education programs and safety initiatives.


shelter kids in the herb garden

Shelter Kids in the herb garden

Their many educational, proactive and preventative programs include self-sufficiency support to help clients with personal development, job placement and financial management; programs for developing healthy teen relationships; initiatives working towards campus safety and more.


It’s no small roster of services, all of which is free and confidential.

In 2014 alone over 3,000 people utilized the hotline, the advocacy program provided over 20,000 advocacy services for over 500 clients, educated over 1,000 students in in-school violence prevention, and provided safe haven to 56 adults and 55 children over the course of the year. These services have been being provided for the past 28 years.

Thinking about the cumulative effects of this work over all these years is truly moving.

We at Five Pillars are impressed and inspired. We’re always looking for ways to give back, and this summer net proceeds from our Summer Wellness Retreat will be donated to The Retreat to help support the crucial work they do.

In yoga practice there is a concept known as Seva. It’s a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service” or work performed without any thought of reward or repayment. In ancient India seva was believed to help one’s spiritual growth and at the same time contribute to the improvement of a community. It is clear that the work done at The Retreat is contributing greatly to the improvement of their community, and it is our intention to practice seva in our support of them.

This is a beautiful cycle that anyone and everyone can become involved in.

While we’d love to see you at our Summer Wellness Retreat, we encourage you to explore the many ways to take action, volunteer or donate to The Retreat.