People Care – Part 2: Permaculture and Yoga come together at PJ!


Permaculture principles and ethics open our awareness to the endless wisdom of the natural world and help us reconnect with the earths natural systems. Like yoga, it is an approach to conscious and harmonious living. The complimentary practices of permaculture and yoga teach about expanding our awareness to look at things holistically, taking the time to observe what is happening both internally and externally, and learning from our own innate wisdom as well as the wisdom of nature. They similarly teach about approaching ourselves and our surroundings motivated by our higher values and cultivating our process for continual learning as growth and change occur.

This year, we are blessed to have Maya from the Community Yoga Project offer us weekly yoga classes. These classes have had a significant positive impact on our bodies and minds. The work many of us do is very physical. It requires a level of self awareness of our body, the techniques and body mechanics we are using, as well as how to move through the day with flexibility and a sustainable pace to maintain our energy. This yoga practice has helped us ground ourselves at the beginning of our workweek, check in with our bodies and minds, increase our sense of gratitude, and cultivate a deeper self-awareness. The space to quietly observe and reflect on what is happening for us is helpful as we also practice observing and learning from nature. Where better to start cultivating these skills than the inner landscape of your heart and mind? These classes have been a great way for us to continue our practice of people care through personal permaculture. Beginning with ourselves, is also key in our practice of social permaculture. As we learned in our recent training with Be Present (see previous blog post on people care), the first two steps in creating sustainable community, is knowing yourself and listening consciously. Because of this, our weekly yoga classes have been complimenting the Be Present training and our work of social justice very well.

Morning Yoga

Maya Weir is a community-oriented yoga teacher based in Oakland. She recently graduated from UC Berkeley where she studied Peace and Conflict Studies. She was the co-founder and facilitator of the Women's Consciousness-Raising Group Decal, an empowerment based discussion forum. Maya has focused extensively on the idea and practice of empowerment and furthers this emphasis with her yoga classes. She has taught worldwide, including Vietnam, where she studied abroad and taught yoga classes at Hanoi University. Maya is passionate about the practice of yoga and its potential to bring healing to individuals and communities. She feels that individual emotional and physical awareness practice must be understood within the context of societal and political structures.

Maya is the 2013 recipient of the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize for her project, Community Yoga Project, which seeks to increase access to the practice of yoga by holding classes at various social justice organizations in the East Bay Area. Unfortunately, through the process of appropriation in the West, yoga has become a commercial industry that is marketed predominantly to a privileged demographic. Maya brings this awareness into her teaching as she strives to create classes that take into account the impact of historical structures of oppression. Providing access to the transformative and powerful practice of yoga aims to improve the emotional and physical health and wellness of marginalized communities in the East Bay. She partners several organizations including Phat Beets Produce, North County Women's Center, Causa Justa: Just Cause, Planting Justice, Oakland Rising, and Communities for a Better Environment at Tassafaronga Recreation Center.

To learn more about Maya and the Community Yoga Project, check out the links below.

To learn more about Be Present, visit