Project “Santosha” is an effort to raise funds to provide education and yoga to underprivileged children in the villages surrounding the small town of Latur, India. 100% of the money raised by Santosh Maknikar’s yoga classes and workshops are donated to this project.
Santosha संतोष means contentment, satisfaction. It is one of the niyamas (or fundamental precepts) of yoga as listed by Patanjali. Contentment is described in various ways, but can be most easily explained as not requiring more than you have in order to be at peace. Project Santosha aims to join people in good will across the globe and foster contentment among both those who donate to the program, as well as the children living in the small village where Santosh Maknikar was raised.
Santosh’s father often told stories about his childhood. He had to walk 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) every day to attend school. His dedication and drive to excel resulted in receiving a scholarship to attend the university. He graduated as a civil engineer and worked diligently and honestly for more than 30 years. Always longing to return to his village, he decided to leave his career at age fifty and develop community, a school for children. Inspired by the noble efforts of his father, Santosh organized Project Santosha offering yoga students and others the opportunity to give back.
The importance of education & yoga
Yoga is much bigger than the asanas we practice in a studio or at home. One of the types of yoga is called Jñāna “gyaana” yoga. It means “path of knowledge” and is a key piece of yoga practice.
1. “Investing in education is the single most effective means of reducing poverty in the world”
2. “Practicing yoga provides health and mental well-being. Santosh strongly believe that yoga in it’s many forms can ease many of our society’s ills including crime, anxiety, depression, addiction, among others.”
3. “Education is not filling the mind with a lot of facts. Perfecting the instrument and getting complete mastery of my own mind [is the ideal of education]. If I want to concentrate my mind upon a point, it goes there, and the moment I call, it is free (again).” – Swami Vivekananda
After many years of volunteering for different non-profit organizations in India and the USA, Santosh recognized a common thread with all of the multiple causes he was supporting; the need for yoga education.
In 2010, he started a non-profit organization called Yoga for People which is dedicated to providing free yoga to those who would not otherwise have access to it. Yoga for People has brought yoga to many homeless shelters, prisons, rehabilitation centers, community centers for the hearing impaired, as well as the low-income population.
While maintaining a busy career in software development, Santosh holds a daily, one hour class on behalf of Yoga for People. Four days a week he teaches at homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers, etc. and the rest the week he offers donation-based yoga open to the public at the Salt Lake Krishna Temple. 100% of the funds from his donation-based classes go directly to Project Santosha.
Yoga camp pictures
You can support Project Santosh in simple ways:
1. Come practice at a donation-based class with Santosh. Class schedule
2. Donate directly to a child’s education below.
By the end of October 2013, Project Santosha raised enough funds to sponsor education for 15 kids in 2014 and two annual yoga camps for the entire school.
Message from Santosh, founder of Yoga for People
I would like to thank each and every one of you who came to practice with me this year. I am humbled by your generosity, commitment, and dedication to this ancient art of yoga, and I am happy to continue to share with you my knowledge and experience.
A special thanks to:
– My students
– Those who invited me to personal events (birthday parties, etc.) to teach Yoga
– The studios who’ve invited me to teach special workshops & classes
Your practice has made this project possible.