daana: an Initiative to Change the World
I have the honour to work and practice with a great yoga master. Is he great because he can stand on his head (look ma, no hands!)? Or because he can guide a group through a transcendent meditation experience? Or is it because he gives the warmest hugs?
I have another reason to believe that Bhaskar is Great.
Bhaskar has been on a mission his whole life.
Bhaskar’s mission is to bring yoga and meditation to EVERYONE.
Bhaskar connects with the people of his community and he hears what they are missing. Yoga studios too far from home, studio memberships that they can’t afford, communities too difficult to become a part of. He has heard these stories, and many more and he TAKES ACTION.
There are angels among us!
daana is Bhaskar’s initiative to bring yoga, meditation and community to places beyond the reach of yoga studios.
Keep reading because Bhaskar and I have a gift for YOU!!!! Read-on to see how you can enter our contest!
I invited him to A Paleo Yogi to tell us more about his movement to change the world, and how each one of us can be a part of it!
Christine: First of all thank you so much for joining me here. We have worked together many times and I see you as both my teacher and my colleague. You sit in both roles very comfortably! I’d like to start by asking you what IS daana anyway?
Bhaskar: Thank you for inviting me Christine. You too are such an inspiration to me and our yoga community. The concept of daana is simple: wellness, non-profit, by-donation, world-wide. The word ‘daana’ means “cultivating the virtue of generosity by giving”. Generosity is the antidote to stress. You cannot be stressed and generous at the same time. So, a host generously donates their space to support the wellbeing of their community, the teacher teaches for the welfare of the students and the students contribute for the benefit of future students.
Christine: Tell me more about your BODHI community center, and why was it a challenge to continue?
Bhaskar: We ran a by-donation center for a while. It was a feast-and-famine existence. There are fixed costs to running a center such as rent, electricity, teacher payments and so on. One day, after returning from a severe medical condition, I told the students that I no longer had the resources to support the center and it would have to close. Spontaneously the students started offering their homes to continue the classes. This immediately eliminated all the overheads. I said, “Sure, I would be happy to teach at your home”. This is how daana started.
Christine: What is it that you have heard students say is missing, that inspired your life long mission to bring yoga to communities in these creative ways?
Bhaskar: It’s a bit like this. When you discover say a really awesome app that has helped you a lot and you know it would also help a friend, would you keep it top secret? Chances are, you would share it enthusiastically. This is the same for me and yoga. It is a practice that continues to give me so much. As my teacher said, “It is the one good, for all good”. From gross to subtle, it is so pragmatic and profound.
So the rest has just been a sincere intention to offer yoga in a way that removes all the obstacles, so that everyone can give yoga a fair try.
Christine: How will daana meet this need?
Bhaskar: In over 15 years of guiding yoga classes, I’ve pretty much seen it all. It is interesting to see the repeated patterns for the people who know that a certain wellness practice is good and yet do not have a regular practice. The typical reasons are time, distance, money and some perceived limitation or misconception. When it is by-donation at your neighbor’s place, with no membership costs or expiration dates, all these obstacles are no longer in the way. This is what daana does. It democratizes wellness, making healthy body, peaceful mind accessible to all.
Christine: What is the short (6 months to a year), medium (2-5 years) and long term (5-10 years) vision for daana?
Bhaskar: In 6 months to a year we would like to develop the proper infrastructure to launch daana in most of the major cities in Canada. In two to five years, the intention is to expand into most major cities in the world. In five to ten years there should be at least as many daana classes around the word as there are fast-food restaurants. This will replace the predominant economic system in the world with generosity-based global communities that are co-creating and looking after each other in a sustainable way, on a foundation of health, wisdom and compassion. As Buckminister Fuller once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” daana is the new model, and yet it is as old as wellness itself.
Christine: Tell us more about how the money you are raising through your Indigogo campaign will be utilized.
Bhaskar: Since this is a grassroots, self-financed social movement, we felt that a crowd-funding campaign is a natural choice to raise the revenue required to design this new model. In a little over six months there are already 22 weekly daana classes happening around Montreal with 8 more starting up.
Now, we need to raise $90k to pay for:
- ‘Uber for Wellness’ Website + App: A fully functional smart-device friendly website and app with geo-locator, calendar view, activity filters, on-line registration/ survey/ donation, automatic notifications and teacher payment etc. is $55K total. We’ve had it quoted from five sources (with a history of creating this kind of web and app) and this is the best we found. It needs to be simple and easy to use, otherwise people will not use it.
- Press & Publicity: $25K will go towards implementing a viral marketing strategy in the initial launch cities. This is actually in the low end of what is required to do this properly (we got this quoted four times).
- Train Champions: The remaining $10K will be to cover the travel and expenses for training the local champions properly.
Christine: How can we be a part of it?
Bhaskar: Yes, without you, daana is at best, just a good idea. Join us!
- Host, teach and practice with us. We would love to add your class to our site. It can be any kind of wellness activity that is ‘pay-it-forward’: www.globaldaana.org
- Become a part of the daana community: www.globaldaana.org (scroll to bottom of page)
- daana activism: Engage bloggers, journalists, celebrities, maybe you (!) to write and tweet about us.
- Lend us your voice! Invite friends to our page, ‘like’ and share daana posts and videos on Facebook, follow #daana on Twitter.
- Become a part of the daana ‘generosity’ video campaign by sharing your generosity story #playitbackwards #generosity
- If you have any cool, creative ways to make this even better, let’s brain dance! Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contribute and if you have friends or family members who ‘get it’, kindly request them to contribute to this campaign. Every bit helps: Indiegogo: Daana
- By reading this far, you are already helping. Thank you 🙂
Thank you Bhaskar for sharing your story and for taking the initiative to write a new story for people everywhere!
Bhaskar and I have a gift for YOU!!!
Three easy steps:
Enter this contest by Monday August 10th 2015 by midnight EST to win
the daana pass card giving you lifetime access to any daana class around the world – free wellness for life!
Help spread the word, be a part of this amazing campaign!
To learn more about Bhaskar’s still thriving initiative BODHI, visit bodhiprinciple.com where he offers in-house corporate wellness programs offered in schools and special care centers.
Do you have any questions for Bhaskar? Please ask away in the comments below!