Every Friday, Suzanne leads a small group of residents in an hour-long yoga class at The Mustard Seed’s 1010 Centre. Suzanne works in the oil and gas industry, but is also a certified yoga teacher. A few months ago she was looking for a place to volunteer, but didn’t really know where to go. A chance meeting with a homeless man provided the inspiration she needed.
Suzanne was on her way to a business meeting. “I came across a homeless person – the guy was so cheerful and friendly,” she says. They exchanged smiles and pleasantries and Suzanne carried on to her meeting, which turned out to have quite a negative tone.
She says that evening she reflected on her day. “At that moment…when I ran into that homeless person, that was the highlight of my day.”
The next day Suzanne called The Mustard Seed to inquire about volunteering. It was perfect timing: The Mustard Seed had just purchased some yoga mats for residents in its permanent supportive housing units and was looking for a yoga teacher.
Suzanne now offers a free weekly class for residents, focusing on restorative yoga rather than more physically demanding types of yoga.
“I think it is a spiritual meditation for them,” says Suzanne. “It’s a win/win, they are getting something out of it and so am I...It’s a magical experience.”
She adds that she feels most gratified when she looks at the residents and sees “[the] moment where they are completely at peace…I want them to feel they are worthy of feeling that.”
If you are inspired to volunteer – The Mustard Seed requires a large volunteer base to help the many programs and services run smoothly. Volunteers contribute approximately 50,000 hours every year at The Mustard Seed.