Karma Yoga – Giving back to the Community

It was 12 years ago when Michelle Cassidy, already a Pilates and fitness teacher, received her yoga teaching certification in Ubud, Bali. Michelle had fallen deeply in love with the practice and was ready to pack up her life and stay in the mountains forevermore!

It was her teacher, Emil Wendel from Beyond the Asana, that said her plans for hiding away and practicing alone were all well and good, but it was her responsibility to go back into the world and teach what she had learnt. The gift of yoga should be shared! Inspired by Emil, Michelle returned to Australia to share yoga with her community.

Karma yoga in action

“The more you give the more you receive” – Michelle Cassidy

Back on the Gold Coast, Michelle noticed a sign at her local park for a the Gold Coast City Council’s Active and Healthy program. The program included lots of different fitness activities in community centres and at the picturesque parks up and down the Coast. Though, Michelle quickly realised that there were no yoga classes offered.

It was the perfect opportunity! Michelle rang the council and got a meeting with Sam Hughes, who remains the Active and Healthy coordinator to this day. Sam asked how many classes Michelle would like to teach. “As many as you want!” Where? “Wherever you want!” How much do you want to be paid? “Ahhh…”

Michelle had no expectation of payment, after all this was karma yoga! She had gone in to provide her teaching for free. It turned out that for insurance purposes, Michelle would need to be paid. With no expectation for payment (that wasn’t the point anyway!), Michelle left the decision up to the council.

Pure intention repaid

When the council came back with an offer of 10 classes at an amazing rate, Michelle knew this was instant karma in action. Her pure intention and wholehearted belief in sharing yoga was immediately rewarded. Michelle now had yoga teaching commitments from Coomera all the way to Coolangatta – and even more classes than what she taught at her own studio!

In the years since, funding for the program has been cut and the teaching fees have been reduced, however Essence of Living continues to teach these classes to give back to the local Gold Coast community.

Michelle was so inspired by the students who came to the free or low cost council classes, that she wanted to make it easier for them to also visit the studio. Enter the lower-cost ‘Community Classes’ at Essence of Living. Significantly more affordable, Michelle started these lower-cost classes to allow more people to experience both yoga and Pilates – perhaps students who wouldn’t normally come into a studio environment.

Join us on the mat

Whether you visit the studio for one of our Community Classes or are a regular at the many classes we teach as a part of the Active and Healthy program, we love to share the benefits, experience and teachings of yoga with you!

Check out our Studio Timetable (includes lower-cost community classes) or our Community Class Timetable (free or minimal cost classes in the community).