The Social Impact Interview Series spotlights real-life stories and voices from yoga change-makers who have engaged in Yoga Alliance outreach work, detailing how their teaching and practice have directly benefited their personal lives, those they care for, and the communities they serve.
Brirkellia Álvarez is a lawyer and Hatha Vinyasa Yoga teacher (RYT 200). Her childhood and adolescence was marked by economic limitations, and this led her to get involved in projects to overcome social inequality, working with various international organizations, promoting education and defense of human rights. Based in Caracas, Venezuela, she is the founder of “Todos En Yoga”, an initiative to develop inclusive programs to spread the practice of yoga in sectors with low purchasing power. Her vision is to create a movement focused on yoga and meditation as an instrument of social transformation, to generate resilient communities and violence-free environments.
How did you find yoga?
I attended a yoga class at an event to which a friend invited me. I felt so much peace while doing the conscious movements and happiness to see all those people, mostly women, so connected and focused on themselves, that I asked myself: where do you study this practice, what should I do to be closer to it? These questions came to my mind, just when a breeze was passing by, the air that touched my face and my body was so inspiring, that I felt I had found something special in my life. It was true serendipity.
How would you explain yoga in one sentence?
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline that promotes harmony and balance of being through a combination of physical postures (asanas), meditation, and breathing.
How has yoga benefited your personal life?
Yoga has given me a greater awareness of myself, the cultivation of mindfulness, and inner harmony. Since practicing yoga, I feel more connected to life and to its subtleties, and more confident in what it provides me. On a physical level, it has given me strength, body awareness, and flexibility. Yoga has been a great blessing in my life.
How has yoga benefited your community?
Yoga has generated remarkable benefits in the community where I teach. The most notable have been the reduction of stress and anxiety, relief from certain physical pains, increased flexibility, and improved sleep quality. It has also created a greater sense of solidarity and cohesion; a solid group of new friends has been formed and meets every Saturday with a common goal: the practice of yoga. I feel that this fraternity among neighbors has created a more peaceful and empathetic coexistence.
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