Charina CabanayanComment

California is on fire, help is on the way

Charina CabanayanComment
California is on fire, help is on the way

The tragedy of the most recent California fires this past week feels overwhelming. While I’m grateful my family is safe, I can’t help but feel the immense cost of those who have lost their loved ones, homes, and livelihood. 

Do you feel hopeless in these times? Sometimes to the point where your work tasks or projects suddenly feel superficial? I do. 

It’s these moments that remind me to stop my regular work grind, be present, and hold my loved ones closer. 

It’s in this time where I know the first small step towards action, is 10x more productive than inaction dosed with hopelessness. 

I’ve succumbed to debilitating hopelessness so many times in my life, almost losing my life made me realize the dangers of remaining numb in inaction.

You see, I’m always the little freezeling in my family. I'm like Ove's wife in the novel, A Man Called Ove,always inching up the thermostat when no one's looking. When the heater kicks on, I hear the inevitable pitter patter of feet towards the thermostat in the hall, followed by a, “Mom! Did you turn the heater up again?” 

My husband and kids are perpetually telling me to put on more layers when I'm feeling cold. They are true environmentalists, and I love them for keeping me accountable in saving energy. 

Each winter I’m thankful to own those layers to pile on. Every time I put on a sweater or a coat, I feel grateful to have such luxuries. 

It is this sensitivity to the cold that sparked the annual One Warm Coat Drive tradition.

Here's another reason. As I walk down the streets of San Francisco in the early foggy mornings to yoga practice, it’s hard not to miss the number of homeless humans and animals lying on the street. I often see varying degrees of protection. I see forms of people under layers of cardboard boxes, others with sleeping bags or piles of jackets, and some have the fortune of a tent. 

I don’t judge how each person gets to this point in their life. I know in my heart that each person has a story, and whatever that story is, they are human too. They have a heart that beats; a mind that feels disturbed; a longing to feel safe, secure, and loved; and a body that senses the cold. 

As I walk by these living, breathing beings sleeping in the doorways of downtown businesses, I say a little prayer for each one. 

Sri K. Patthabi Jois once said, “Everyone can do yoga. As long as you’re breathing, you can do yoga.” 

Karma yoga is the yoga of action. As long as you’re breathing you can take action. 

This past week I've asked students to place their hands together in anjali mudra. One hand for intention and another hand for action. 

This mudra can also signify one hand for helping yourself and one hand for helping someone else. 

Today you can take action to help someone in need. You can help at least one person find an extra layer of warmth as the cold season begins its descent.

You can make a difference. 


Over the next few weeks I invite you to bring a gently used coat or warm layers to Yoga is Youth in Mountain View to donate to our coat drive. 

 The coat drive will be held from November 15-28. 

We have searched for an organization to accept donations from our drive to disperse to the Camp Fire victims.  Currently, those supporting the victims of the Camp Fire are inundated with donations and do not know where to take all of them. Instead, they are in need of toiletries, socks, underwear, and gift cards to stores and gas. For any clothing-based donations they are asking for new as they do not have the time and resources to wash used items. The Salvation Army has opened a distribution center in Chico to disperse items to those in need. You can mail collected donations to mail donations to The Salvation Army, PO Box 348000, Sacramento, CA 95834.

This year we will donate the coats to City Team San Francisco to give the gift of warmth to those struggling with poverty and homelessness in the city.

If you don’t have any items to donate, please consider a monetary donation to One Warm Coat on Thursday, November 15 since your donation will be matched on that day! 

I want to thank Yoga is Youth for partnering up as our satellite drop off location again this year. When you drop off your donation, take some time to practice with any one of the amazing teachers at the studio.  

Last year we collected 44 coats and those coats were distributed to Downtown Streets Team, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness through the dignity of work. 

If you can’t make it over to Yoga is Youth, but plan to practice with me elsewhere, please feel free to bring your donation to class. 

Thank you, for taking action today. Your contribution will help provide an extra layer of warmth and protection for someone in need. 

Xx, 
Charina