I waited a long time to see these buildings go up and knew I was standing in the center of a dream being realized. Inhaling, I took a moment to be present to what I was feeling—a mixture of satisfaction, pride, joy and hopefulness—and to the manifestation being birthed right in front of me. For Suzanne and I to get here, it took a lot of work and many people telling us that what we were trying to accomplish was to complex, over our heads, unrealistic, etc. Although on a practical level they may have been right, it never mattered to me. I always knew that this project was possible. Not just possible, but inevitable. I knew that reaching out to the yoga community and encouraging people to align their energy, time, money and intentions in creating this and other humanitarian projects was sustainable and doable.
There are 20 million people in the United States doing yoga, and it is a billion-dollar industry. If only, I believed, we could work together and redirect some of our energy and money, we could make a true difference in the lives of others. Not by trying to alter their culture, or change their religion, or infiltrate our beliefs onto them, but by simply creating opportunities and environments that could support and improve the quality of their lives through proper healthcare and education.
Last year, we raised $524,000 to benefit the Cambodian Children's Fund. This year, we raised $566,000 for Uganda. Next year, I'm hopeful we will raise even more when we head to Cape Town, South Africa, to support our partners there. This project has always felt bigger than me, but I also know that I am an important piece in the manifestation of it. The only thing that can get in the way of its success is myself, meaning my insecurities, fears or self-doubt. I know I can never allow those limited beliefs, no matter how real they feel, to prevent these projects from taking place, so I work hard to acknowledge my fears but not allow them ever to drive this ship. So standing in the center of the yard, with activity all around me, watching the men, women and children all working and laughing and creating and connecting, I exhaled fully. Smiling, I privately celebrated the massive organization and effort it has taken for all of us to manifest this dream and enjoyed fully watching it come fully to life right in front of my eyes.