Yoga in Action: Conscious Purpose, Power and Practice

8 Week Series with Calia Marshall, Shawna Wakefield, & Emily J. Kramer

Program is not currently offered. Stay tuned for future programming!

When we only practice yoga on our mats, the benefits can be limiting. We may perfect our asanas, strive to do more advanced postures, deepen our ability to steady and quiet our minds in meditation, and heal our bodies significantly. But we may not realize the potential of the practice to affect us on multiple levels – personal, interpersonal, in our engagements with community or our activism for social change.

“Taking this intensive turned out to be far more personal and personally enlightening than I was anticipating, and my growth internally has allowed me to finally begin growth externally. Between the necessities of a non-negotiable daily practice to the courage to create my own event, I feel grateful and very excited by this forward motion.” – YIA 2016 participant

This 8-week series is designed to develop and sustain your unique contribution to a more compassionate and just society using yogic philosophy and social justice principles. We intend to create a supportive space to enable yogis and activists to develop new knowledge and tools for self-inquiry, to deeply connect to your purpose, and explore how you can better collaborate for lasting change in a more conscious, sustainable, and joyful way.

We will combine practices of meditation, asana and chanting rooted in the different paths of yoga, alongside reflective work and exercises rooted in social justice theory and practice. You’ll leave with new or deepened skills in conscious activism, service and collaboration.

Over the course of 8 sessions, combined with peer work and mentorship, you will learn tools and skills that will culminate in a jointly manifested seva initiative – a project that represents an act of selfless service. You will:

  • Contemplate connections between yogic philosophy and social justice concepts
  • Get grounded in purpose and motivations for service and activism
  • Examine limiting beliefs and own your passion
  • Explore your sources of power and privilege with compassion
  • Sustain personal, interpersonal and collective purpose in activism
  • Enhance interconnectedness and collaboration
  • Identify strategies to sustain your practice

At this moment we are all called to find our unique contributions to healing the deep divides in our society; to harness the resolve and passion of a wider segment of the population towards conscious activism that challenges power abuse and supports the whole.  This course is designed to guide you toward new ways of engaging in change-making from the inside out.

Attendance is expected for all 8 sessions (24 hours of class time). Commitments include:

  • Self-Practice Commitment for duration of YIA
  • Required Readings & Worksheets
  • Weekly Check-in with Assigned YIA Buddy
  • Suggested Weekly yoga class at TR with Calia, Emily or Shawna
  • Suggested Readings


Calia Marshall is a yoga instructor (E-RYT 200, RYT 500), birth doula, musician, dancer, choreographer, Reiki practitioner and educator.  She has been teaching movement and healing practices to children and adults for over 15 years.  Calia received her 200 hour yoga teaching certification from Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in 2002 and her 300 hour advanced certification through Ritam Healing Arts with Saul David Raye in 2015.  She has done advanced yoga study with Seane Corn, Hala Khouri, and Suzanne Sterling (of Off the Mat, Into the World), Cathy Calderon, Jonathan FitzGordon, Alison West and Kevin & Erin Maile O’Keefe (Circus Yoga).   In 2014 she founded Brown Sugar: Yoga for Folks of Color, a monthly class dedicated to bringing healing and a greater sense of community to yoga practitioners of color.  Since 2011 Calia’s mantra music band, Kirtan Soul Revival, has been traveling around the country leading call and response devotional singing.  Calia finds constant inspiration from the magic that occurs when communities join together to practice yoga, to dance, to sing, and to play.  Her goal is use these explorations of body, breath, mind, and voice to support individuals and communities in being more just, more empowered, and more loving.

Shawna Wakefield has dedicated most of the last 17 years to promoting gender and economic justice in international development. She was Oxfam International’s Gender Justice Lead, heading organizational strategy on women’s rights for seven years. She lived and worked in Cambodia from 2004-2006, as Oxfam’s East Asia Gender Advisor, and in Afghanistan from 2002-2005, as a Research Coordinator for the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. It was during her time in Cambodia that she began to build a personal yoga practice, to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. Since then, the practices of yoga asana, and more recently meditation, have been increasingly critical to her path. In 2014 Shawna completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training with Kevin Courtney and Nikki Villella of Kula Yoga Project through the Wanderlust TT program. She has since completed two Trauma Sensitive Yoga teacher trainings, and continues her studies in Nikki Costello’s Mentor Practice, with Off the Mat, and the Interdependence Project’s Secular Buddhist Studies Program. She currently teaches Rising Yoga Teacher classes at Third Root, Blossoming Yoga Teacher classes at Shambhala Yoga and Dance Center and volunteers with Exhale to Inhale. Shawna teaches a mindful, alignment-based vinyasa class with a focus on helping students identify their own mental and physical sensations, including pain, strength, resilience, compassion, joy, and the ever-fluctuating relationship between them.  In addition to consulting with the United Nations, donors and NGOs, Shawna is passionate about experimenting with ways to integrate her work for social justice, her political and spiritual practices and commitment to collective well-being, and her role as a mother of two.

Emily J. Kramer is currently a co-owner of Third Root Community Health Center, a cooperative in Brooklyn, where the crossroads of her work as a movement professional, social justice activist and spiritual seeker joyfully meet. She is a yoga teacher with specialization in anatomy, backcare, anxiety/depression, addiction, trauma-sensitivity, and yoga for young people. She earned her 300-hour Certification in 2014 with Alison West at Yoga Union. She studied with Off the Mat, Into the World, Street Yoga, Bent on Learning, Leslie Kaminoff / the Breathing Project, Jyll Hubbard-Salk, Elena Brower, Molly Lannon Kenny, Nikki Myers, Larry Yang and many inspired teachers on this path. She received her 200-hour certification from SchoolYoga Institute on location in Playa Marsella, Nicaragua in 2010. She also has a background in social justice activism and youth education. Specifically, she was a member of Immigrant Justice Solidarity Project from 2001 – 2005, and a youth educator city-wide in outdoor, classroom & gym settings from 2006 – 2013, including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Garden Apprentice Program & Children’s Garden, the Red Hook Community Farm, & the Weeksville Heritage Center’s Green Weeksville Program, Bent on Learning & Girls for Gender Equity. In 2009, Emily created Spirit Boxing, a workshop that combines her experience as a former amateur boxer and yogini, to serve women, youth, and queer / trans community. She offers boxing lessons in both small group and private sessions, and has collaborated with Columbia University, Safe Horizon, FIERCE!, & the Center for Anti-violence Education. Emily has a BA in Cultural Studies from Eugene Lang College of New School University (2005).

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