I’ve decided to stick with love, hate’s too heavy of a burden to bear. ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.In the wake of the attacks of September 11th, Project 108 was created as a peaceful demonstration to protest what seemed like an inevitable war in Iraq. The idea was to unite yoga practitioners with a sincere wish in their hearts that we would not go to war.That year nearly 75 people joined together in doing 108 sun salutations In Himmel Park, Tucson, Az.A second event of the sacred practice of offering 108 Sun Salutations was organized the following year in efforts to raise money for women in the Congo. The event grew – raising $4000 for these efforts.By 2006 the war was in full swing. Responding to a challenge from one of the most immanent Buddhist teachers, Geshe Michael Roach. He asked/challenged his students to raise $1000 in an effort to help both an Iraqi and an American affected by the war. Project 108 turned its focus upon this goal. That year over $10,000 was raised, half the money going to Warchild (an organization helping to rebuild schools in Iraq) and half going to create a local scholarship fund for local American college students who had lost a parent in the Iraq war. Since then, Project 108 has solidified into an annual event bringing yoga practitioners together to raise money and awareness for such causes. Each year the gatherings have grown and has now spread to multiple cities. In 2008 money was raised for the Warchild and the Giving Tree. In 2009 Arabian Oasis and Diamond Mountain University Retreat Center. Last year after having spent two weeks in Haiti with an alternative healing team I helped organize the last event where all the money raised went to Mercy Corps earmarked for Haiti.In addition to these goals, Project 108 aims to draw yoga practitioners and yoga studios together in a cooperative event. Part of the philosophy of a yogic lifestyle includes seva (service), and to do so in a way that brings students and studios together from across the country and world is a powerful method of uniting people in peace.
If we just look away from violence without so much as sending a blessing out, the path of unkindness remains unobstructed. However, by raising awareness, sending light and love, and also by actively and vocally being a part of change, the patterns of violence can be shifted. ~Author Unknown