The campaign has set out to encourage yoga students from all walks of life and all political affiliations to carefully consider their options this election, and vote consciously from their hearts and values, says Off the Mat director Kerri Kelly.
“What we’re advocating is that people vote the way that they practice yoga,” Kelly says, “from a place of truth and being informed about who they are and the issues that are important to them what they believe in.”
YogaVotes is a nonpartisan campaign, which means it’s not about telling people who to vote for, but rather empowering them to get informed and show up at the polls. It was founded in 2008, but this year organizers are taking things to a deeper level.
“This election is deserving of a deep conversation around what does it mean to be yoga in the political process what does it mean to vote through yoga—Why is yoga voting? What would it look like if the 20 million yogis in the U.S. reclaimed their political power and voted from their heart?” Kelly says. Research from the League of Women Voters revealed that people are sometimes overwhelmed and feel uninformed and so they vote based on how their peers vote or a slate card from an organization they trust instead of from a place of contemplation.
YogaVotes, which is funded by Off the Mat, Into the World, is mobilizing at Wanderlust festivals this summer, partnering with the popular yoga and music festival to raise awareness and find leaders to get involved. It will concentrate efforts in target markets such as California, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia and distribute tools to inform and encourage yogis to vote.
For more information on YogaVotes, to make a commitment to vote in the 2012 general election, or to become a YogaVotes community leader visit yogavotes.org.