[the yogi and the skeptic, Santa Monica, 2007]

You’ve seen her before in this space and i’m thrilled to have her back today! My mate Marianne Elliott is the real deal – kind, intelligent and committed to doing something useful in this world; this raven-haired beauty walks her talk with every step and i have so much admiration for her. Right now she’s raising money for HIV/AIDS projects in South Africa, but I’ll let her tell you more about that… here’s Marianne:

Are you a yoga skeptic? A non-convert, perhaps, like our mutual friend Susannah? Well, I have all the respect in the world for a skeptic. The Buddha himself taught that we should all be skeptics. “Don’t believe me,” he said, “don’t believe anybody. Don’t believe anything based on the fact that your community believes this or your country believes this or the people that you are around believe this.”

So I say, good for you, you should be a skeptic about yoga. Don’t believe any of the hype. Don’t believe anything until you have tried it for yourself. Because with yoga, as with most things in life, the proof of the pudding is in the tasting.

Taste and see, said the Buddha. Or perhaps that was Jesus. In either case two of the greatest spiritual teachers of our times agree on this much – don’t take anyone’s word for it. Try it for yourself.

So, I want to offer you a chance to try yoga for yourself, and I think this is an offer too good to refuse. [Edited to add – i signed up today!!]

I’m offering you the chance to join my online yoga course (usually $100 for 30 days) for whatever price you choose to pay. And then I’m going to donate every dollar you pay to some amazing grass-roots projects to support communities affected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

This is the Karma edition of my 30 days of yoga course and it’s perfect for yoga skeptics, even yoga-phobics!

“I’ve been yoga-phobic my entire life. Marianne Elliott changed that (and my life in the process). Her 30 Days of Yoga is amazing. She’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever experienced (and I’ve been a teacher for many years). If you want to do something extraordinary for yourself, I can’t think of a better teacher!” – Dr Brenè Brown

I’m putting it all on the line for this one. I’m offering up everything I’ve built up over the past year and I’m asking you to decide what it’s worth to you. I’m asking you to decide what it’s worth and then I’m going to give all the proceeds away.

Why?

Firstly because yoga is about expansion, about liberation, about the constant movement of energy. You can’t hoard it. You can’t keep it to yourself. It has to be shared.

Secondly, because these are all great projects, addressing a serious global challenge. For example, the South African Whole Grain Bread Project (above) is setting up community-based bakeries to produce fresh, high quality, whole grain bread that will improve the nutrition of malnourished adults and children. The bread will help satisfy the dietary needs of HIV/AIDS positive individuals who need to improve their health in order to allow retroviral drugs to work effectively.

The bakeries have been designed as small businesses that will create income generation opportunities for South Africans living with HIV/AIDS. The money we raise through this Karma edition of 30 days of yoga will help fund the construction of one bakery. The bakery will be able produce up to 200 loaves of bread per hour.

So here’s your chance to give yoga a try (or if you are already a committed yogi, here’s a chance to deepen your practice and establish your own regular home practice) and at the same time support great projects like these bakeries.

Join me for the next 30 days of yoga. The course starts on 7 October, registration is open now and will close on 3 October. You can sign up by clicking on one of the ‘donate’ buttons on this page. If you have any questions at all please read the details here, or answers to FAQs here.

[photo credit: South African Whole Grain Bread Project]