gaby SATYA

Written by LRY Teacher, Gabrielle Goldberg

On a grey-bird April day, I drove to Grateful Yoga in Montpelier and met up with Chrissy, the owner. She had on brilliant tie dye pants made locally in St. Albans. She was showing me around the studio for an upcoming workshop I was to lead and when she learned why I was in Montpelier, decided to join me on a walk to the state capital.

I’ve lived in Vermont for fifteen years and this was my first time going inside of the Vermont state capital. I was attending as a representative of Laughing River Yoga because a regular yoga student, Diana Gonzalez, invited us there to show support for resolution 108. Diana is a state representative for Winooski who wrote and prepared Resolution 108 that states, “…the General Assembly expresses its deep appreciation to the yoga industry for the economic and health benefits the industry provides to Vermonters.” So why does this resolution exist?

Yoga, like massage therapy, acupuncture, and allopathic medicine, is a healing modality – a route towards whole health. Yoga can be preventative or therapeutic. A well-educated, trained, and practiced yoga teacher can work directly with doctors, therapists, and healers to offer appropriate techniques that move the student towards healing, and a deeper understanding of how to treat ourselves in conjunction with other healing modalities. Since yoga has many ways it can be practiced, it can be adapted to anybody – If you can breathe, you can practice yoga. My “Yoga for a Healthy Body & Self Image” Series is a perfect example of how we can adapt a yoga practice to any body type. I’ve had students referred by therapists, nutritionists, doctors, and of course friends and their families. It’s not uncommon for doctors to suggest yoga to patients, however yoga classes are not always financially accessible. Some private insurance companies cover classes as part of preventative wellness and fitness, but not all policies do. That’s why I was at the state house supporting Resolution 108. I want yoga to be covered under public and private health insurance policies. How might a person’s life be different if public and private health insurance companies offered full or partial coverage for yoga? How about your life? Yoga would reach people in different socio-economic classes. Yoga will become accessible.

SATYA is a Sanskrit word that translates to “truth” and is also the name of the organization working towards getting yoga coverage by insurance providers, along with connecting the Vermont yoga community towards this common goal. SATYA is an acronym for the Student and Teacher’s Yoga Association. The organization is a non-profit that currently has members who are lawyers, state employees, yoga teachers, people who work in the mental health and medical field, and yoga studio owners. Anybody that aligns with our mission and has something to contribute is welcome to attend meetings and support SATYA.

When it comes to government…I generally feel out of place and somewhat powerless. Diana Gonzalez introduced Chrissy and me to Dave and Anna, supporters of Resolution 108 and then showed us to our seats. Our role was clear. Once the resolution had been read, we would stand and receive applause as representatives of the yoga community and industry in Vermont. There were layers of sounds in the state house – keyboards clicking, papers shuffling, low murmurs of voices coming from all angles, speakers speaking, coughs, crinkles, and applause. It was hard to focus on any one thing until Diana stood up to read. When she finished, we stood together and received applause. Something changed for me within this moment. I didn’t feel as out of place. I started to feel our power as a community and even as individual members of the state. I remembered that Vermont tends to lead the way in terms of what is right and just for people. Resolution 108 will be no different. Within that moment, I realized that I am not powerless and there is something I can do – We can stand up and work towards what we believe is right and sometimes that work can happen through the government. Who knew such a grey Vermont day would bring such insight and connection.

In closing, yoga is a tool that moves far beyond the physical practice. It is a healing modality that any living being can practice. Once you carry the knowledge and wisdom of yoga, nobody can take that away from you – It’s within you. Please consider supporting SATYA by contributing financially as we raise funds to build a website, logo, and a solid foundation to operate within. If you have any skills that may support SATYA, let us know.

To learn more about Resolution 108 or SATYA:

  1. Economic and Health Benefits of Yoga via WCAX
  2. Burlington Free Press covers Yoga Instructors seeking Health Insurance Reimbursement – From Feb 2015
  3. Resolution on Yoga in VT by several state representatives
  4. To donate funds, please contact Gaby directly: [email protected]