Dear yogis,
On Friday, November 2, a gunman opened fire in a yoga studio in Florida. Two students were killed and several were injured before the gunman took his own life.
We grieve for the victims, their families, and all others affected by this senseless act. We feel shock, sadness, and anger as individuals and as a community. And we remember with deep compassion and sorrow the many victims of violence across this country and around the world.
In 2018 alone, there have been over 300 mass shootings in the United States – in places of education, places of recreation, places of work, and even places of worship. Sadly, we cannot be too surprised when we learn that such violence has also occurred in a yoga studio.
So what can we do? What should we do?
First, we can allow ourselves to feel everything. At Kindness, we believe that yoga is a deeply human endeavor. It is not separate from the rest of life. When we come together to practice, we are learning to process and accept everything that comes with being human – including things like sadness, fear, anger, and hurt.
Second, we can embrace strength and clarity. Yoga is a way of being intended to combat suffering, both inside ourselves and out in the world. Though devastating, Friday’s events reinforce our belief that sharing, spreading, and practicing yoga are brave and generous acts that the world needs right now. First we grieve, then we breathe.
Third, we can rouse ourselves to action. The twin crises of gun violence and mental health may feel overwhelming. And the politicization of these issues may only make them seem more unapproachable. But we must meet these issues head-on. The yogic philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita reminds us that challenging moments are precisely when it is most critical to stand up, and embrace our duty to create the world we wish to see. We remember the famous quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: “The future depends on what you do today.”

We envision a world inspired and uplifted through the practice of kindness – courageous, wholehearted kindness. May we continue to come together, draw inspiration from one another, take action to cause change, and bravely spread compassion in all the ways that we can.

the Kindness Yoga team