01/22/2009 08:52 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Flexibility of the Mind

Have you felt like you've been holding your breath tightly for the past eight years and finally on Tuesday you let out a deep exhale? Didn't it feel good? Now, imagine doing that every day. Yes, you can release stress, breathe more deeply and perhaps be happier. No, I'm not trying to push a new Dr. Phil book on you. It's actually something deeper, more profound and has been around for a couple thousand years (even longer than Richard Simmons' aerobic classes): yoga.

As a deeply committed yoga practitioner, I could wax poetic about the joys of my morning ritual at City Yoga in Los Angeles for hours over a cup of herbal tea. My fantastic teachers, Rebecca and Noah, have helped to physically and mentally transform me. Practicing yoga is not just about developing strength and flexibility of one's body but also one's mind. It's about how you step into the flow of the world and engage with it in a more harmonious capacity.

Ok, so, if you read my blogs, you perhaps assume that a California vegetarian like me would do yoga. But, let me introduce you to some unique ways that yoga is transforming lives around the world. Steve Terrill's yoga practice enabled him to move beyond child abuse and drug addiction. He now helps Rwandans process the trauma they experienced during their country's genocide a decade ago using tools he learned in his yoga teacher training. How about connecting with people across the US-Mexico border with their yoga practices to embrace our common humanity? What a powerful, radical but simple way to put aside our legal and physical divisions. Border Meetup provides this unique way for San Diego and Tijuana residents to engage with each other.

Curious? Inspired? Want to try yoga? Yoga Day USA is this Saturday and studios across the country will be offering free classes to interested aspiring yogis.

Now, if this has been too much for you, just take a deep inhale and breathe.

The original post of Sarah's Social Action Snapshot originally appeared on