The mission of Small World Yoga (SWY) is to inspire growth, connection and possibility by increasing access to yoga in Middle Tennessee. We believe in the power of yoga to transform individuals through healing and connection, and we envision a world in which everyone has access to these benefits. Through yoga, we teach coping mechanisms for trauma and tools to enhance self awareness. These tools are meant to be taken off the yoga mat and into the world. We are motivated by improving the quality of life and well-being of those we serve on an individual level, subsequently altering how they interact with the broader world. We believe that if everyone has access to yoga, people are empowered and our communities are strengthened, ultimately making a big world feel small.
SWY was founded in 2014 after Liz Veyhl was moved by the idea that “yoga can happen anywhere” from her time with the Africa Yoga Project in Kenya. Liz believed that the Nashville community deserved the same access to yoga and its benefits that she witnessed Africa Yoga Project providing in Kenya, so she started Small World Yoga with the vision to grow access to yoga through outreach locations across Middle Tennessee. After starting off with 5–10 yoga instructors offering free yoga to a handful of people, Liz has led SWY to tremendous growth. Our growing team of 100+ instructors currently serve approximately 3,000 students monthly at 75 community partner locations, including public schools, libraries, community centers, metro parks, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, recovery centers, and more.
SWY’s community-building events, the Music City Yoga Festival and International Day of Yoga, collectively bring together more than 1,200 people annually to increase awareness about the need for greater accessibility to the transformational benefits of a yoga practice.
The populations served by SWY are some of the most underserved and historically marginalized in the state of Tennessee, and we seek out partnerships with entities that focus on serving these populations and communities. For that reason, those we serve tend to come from low-income neighborhoods and have experienced intense trauma such as physical and verbal abuse, neglect, domestic violence, sexual abuse, malnutrition, and abandonment. Through yoga, we work to improve the mental, emotional and physical health of children and adults who have experienced trauma or are living with significant levels of stress, and have little to no access to the life-changing potential of a regular yoga practice. We believe yoga and mindfulness have the power to heal individuals and build stronger, more resilient communities, and the objective of our outreach programming is to empower those we serve to grow and to live more fulfilling lives through yoga.
Participating in Small World Yoga will help to alleviate some of our students’ stress and give them tools to better manage their situations and live healthier, happier, and more connected lives. The physical asana practice improves muscular strength and physical well-being. The focus on the breath in conjunction with mindfulness practices creates confidence and resilience, reducing anxiety and bolstering stress management skills. When individuals feel at peace and empowered in their bodies and minds, they make healthier choices and become happy, productive members of society, ultimately strengthening communities.
A vital piece of our organization is our nonprofit Community Studio. We opened a new Community Studio at the end of May after relocating and renovating a new space. 100% of funds raised during A Community Thrives will go toward our studio renovation. We are committed to a studio that furthers our mission of community, connection, and accessible yoga. A space for all to flow, sweat, and be in community together, exactly as they are, as well as support our outreach programming.
We live in a city with topnotch healthcare, yet we lack accessible resources for physical and mental health. As our community transitions out of the pandemic, underserved and historically marginalized populations need and deserve access to health-giving practices that promote overall well-being. As restrictions have been lifted, the demand for our outreach programming has seen a significant surge with at least one new community partner being added on a weekly basis. Through increased funding, SWY can grow to meet the increasing demand.
You can be an impactful part of a movement to bring transformation, healing, and connection to individuals and communities. By helping us reach our fundraising goal by August 12, SWY becomes eligible for additional funding through the Gannett Foundation.
Amplify your impact by giving to Small World Yoga today and help us create a word filled with peace and empowerment. Connecting people; creating community; increasing access to yoga.
Your donation goes even further thanks to generous donors who are matching up to $10,000!