yogavotes: getting yogis off the mat & into the polls

Yogis and suits unite at Occupy Wall Street. (image via yogaholiday.com)

Yoga meets politics again with YogaVotes, a national, nonpartisan campaign to get yogis out to vote in 2012. Initiated by Off the Mat, Into the World, the campaign aims to encourage the 20 million Americans who practice yoga to take their values into the public sphere and into the voting booth.

From their press release:

Partnering with world-renowned yoga teachers, studios and students across the country, YogaVotes will activate a unique block of “values voters” in key markets to make an impact on the election. Challenging this community to apply the values of yoga to important political issues and decisions, YogaVotes hopes to establish yoga practitioners as a new constituency.

“YogaVotes is calling for the entire yoga community to rise up and find its voice, uniting the work we do on the mat with the decisions we make in the voting booth ” said Off the Mat founder, Seane Corn.  “We know that 20 million empowered and conscious voters cannot help but be heard.  We hope that through this vital initiative we can mobilize a new wave of activists to lead effectively.”

Initially, the YogaVotes campaign will mobilize based on three key components:

·      Target:  By concentrating efforts in target markets including California, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, YogaVotes will engage local studios and leaders to encourage voter participation where it can truly make a difference.

·      Educate: Create widespread awareness that based on sheer number, the network of 20 millions yogis in America – along with their friends, families, and surrounding communities- have the potential to be a powerful constituency.

·      Activate: Distribute online and offline tools that encourage yogis to get informed, vote and inspire others to do the same.

Considering only 57% of Americans turned out to vote at the 2008 presidential election, any effort to get people to the polls is a good thing. While YogaVotes has been around since just before the 2008 presidential election, the new campaign officially kicks off on June 23 with a class lead by Seane Corn at Wanderlust Vermont.