Compared to Diwali and other religious festivals, the celebration of Christmas in India is quite small. However, in recent years sightings of Christmas Baba have become more and more widespread across the nation as mango trees are decorated, Midnight mass services are held, and festively wrapped gifts are opened excitedly by children. Akshi Yogashala has started a tradition of their own for the holiday, a tradition that is centered around Karma Yoga and the gift of giving.
Rishikesh, the Yoga Capital of The World, is a hotspot for tourists and visitors from India and beyond. Unfortunately – like many popular destinations across the world – if one ventures slightly off of the beaten path they will find themselves amidst communities where folks don’t have access to family sustaining careers and are struggling to fulfill their daily needs. Committed to sharing and caring, Akshi Foundation developed a way to give back to the local community during the Christmas season.
In March of 2013, the Udaan Foundation Trust, launched a free school for underprivileged students in Rishikesh. Akshi Foundation recognized this meaningful work, and decided to reach out to the school to see how they could best support their efforts. This helping hand was received graciously by the trust, and an annual Christmas celebration was coordinated.
This year Akshi Yogashala collected donations to buy clothes for students and hand delivered that offering to the school on Christmas Day. In addition to this gesture, students enrolled in Akshi’s 200 Hour Yoga TTC visited the school to celebrate the holiday with the children. The morning was filled with dancing and live performances, smiles and laughter, and most importantly, genuine appreciation for the work the Udaan Foundation does to provide these youth with access to education.
The Christmas celebration at Udaan Foundation Trust’s school is more than just a symbol of Akshi Foundation’s gratitude to the Rishikesh community. It is an opportunity to highlight the true nature of holiday spirit. Selfless actions for the greater good are what makes celebrating Christmas special, and they are also fundamental to the teachings of yoga. As a leader in the yoga community, Akshi Foundation believes it is their duty to instill these values in their students, and leading by example is one of the most effective ways for a teacher to communicate these ideals.