Inspiring Consciousness And Change With YOKE Magazine
Launched in early 2014, YOKE is a print publication which brings together yogic and creative thinking to inspire consciousness and change. The magazine blends together international writers, photographers, artists and yogis, “detached from ego and filled with positive provoking thoughts”.
The result is a beautiful printed exploration of stories, interviews, photo essays, reflections and conversations all related to human interaction, creativity, adventure, travel and well-being. We caught up with YOKE’s founding editor Cynthia Sciberras, a designer and creative with a background in dance and studies in yoga, to understand YOKE’s mission, inspiration and passions.
How did YOKE get to where it is today?
The short version - I had a burning desire for more mindfulness and compassion in our world, and I took a shift in my approach by coming from a place of creating and collaborating. I thought about this philosophy of publication for some time, merging ancient wisdoms and creativity. Since we launched in 2014 the YOKE ethos and aim is driven by our mission to expand new conscious conversations in the world and bring us closer together to ultimately create social goodness and change.
Although the actual process in bringing a printed magazine to life happened in about six months, with no publishing background it was certainly a steep learning curve. Grateful for my inner sanctum of artists, yogis and creatives, and partnering with The Copy Collective, that allowed access to a talented pool of writers, proof-readers and transcribers. Exactly what was needed to pull off a professional content driven publication … the learning curve still spikes as we make our way into the fifth issue.
Where did your passion for print ignite?
I admit my histrionics for anything print, books, magazines, cards, posters …. not entirely sure where it came from, I didn’t really grow up with many books or magazines in our house, although I did spend lots of time going into bookshops new and old, and just loving the smell and being surrounded by print and beautiful design. At the age of nine, I even had my own library in our street every Saturday .. sadly I only had one member that borrowed a book. I guess my marketing was lacking, or I lived in the wrong Melbourne suburb. Needless to say, I’m delighted by the resurgence in new indies.
We read that the spiritual concept of “YOKE” means to connect, bond and unite. Who do you hope to connect with through this publication?
Building connections has been the best thing about braving a new indie ... it has been the most beautiful and surprising in terms of connecting with people from all over the globe. From yogis, artists, monks, priests, mindful and spiritual leaders, to illustrators, writers and photographers. There are some pretty amazingly inspiring people doing great work to better our planet, and their community. We proudly feature many amazing humans, aiming to celebrate the breadth and depth of humanity at its best. #Grateful!
By profession you see yourself as a digital creative, yet you are dedicated to living a natural yogic life. What sort of impact does this hybrid have on YOKE Magazine?
We seem to be living in this unconscious bubble. Constantly told that technology is connecting us, and although I love technology and its ability to enhance our lives, it's also a double edged sword. We receive so much stimuli constantly, that we can’t help but see how this is making us fragmented and more isolated, and somewhat narcissistic. It's almost like we need to disconnect to reconnect, and that’s really one of YOKE’s drivers. I don’t think we can avoid technology, just being mindful of the addiction and how it’s making us more fragmented and less connected with one another. I’m grateful for the practice and philosophy of yoga, and I guess that’s why there was a need to produce something tangible and somewhat timeless ... to get us off our devices, for even if just for a short while into something deeper.
There appears to be a very large and recent trend in creative lifestyle publications, yet YOKE maintains a very different aesthetic and feel. What do you believe is unique about the magazine’s perspective?
We don’t think of YOKE as a lifestyle magazine at all. Maybe cultural! As Dominique Antarakis, our Deputy Editor said, “True lifestyle – whatever that is – is bloody hard to find, and even harder to define. But why do we try? Why do we get so caught up in that elusive pursuit of a better ‘lifestyle’; when what we should be pursuing is a better life?”
And that’s our unique perspective. That we are interested in real people and their lives, not their lifestyles. The stories and people we feature allow for you to look within and ask yourself what you believe in, and to some degree asks how present and awake you are in the world. At the end of the day, we are all the same. And seeing yourself in someone else’s eyes is hopefully a way of working towards unity.
What do you look for in the writers, artists, yogis and photographers who contribute to the magazine?
The main thing really is a passion and burning desire to be part of a powerful movement that helps create well-being for all, through art and creativity, and of raising consciousness and community. These ‘C’ words are everywhere right now, however they are powerful if you actually live them. There is certainly something bubbling, a powerful desire that a lot of people have for change. That’s whom we hope to attract, as partners, contributors and our readers, that are genuinely interested in positively influencing the world around us.
Which print publications or projects inspire you?
At the moment: I LOVE YOU, ACNE PAPER, Apartamento, Works That Work, The New Yorker, So It Goes, and I was really inspired by Ampersand, a unique small independent that is no longer in production, and of course Kinfolk. Oh and I really love Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, who is a marvelous hunter-gather of literature around creativity and spirituality. Along with ONBEING, who do fabulous online rich content and community projects.
What should we expect from YOKE within the next year?
Fun meaningful collaborations; fabulous activism; innovative connection through new partnerships; delicious artists; diversity; tapping into some extraordinary minds. Ultimately to continue our core ethos: inspire people to tap into their own creativity and potential, by being present in the world, that hopefully inspires social change and more fulfilled lives.
And we’re ‘Creative Partner’ with the Sydney Fringe Festival again this year, where we are bringing to life a thought provoking series that embraces courage, creativity, and self-empowerment. We’re calling it a Creative Rewilding ... a living-breathing continuum of YOKE’s ethos – to increase positive impact and creative expansion with our hearts, minds and efforts. We hope to continue this creative social movement, with deeper face-to-face conversations and gatherings, that allow for more room to create and evolve as community. Who wouldn’t fine that attractive!
The above images are courtesy of Cynthia Sciberras, Founder, YOKE Magazine
Interviews, mediations and storytelling: www.soundcloud.com/yoke-mag
To purchase a copy of YOKE Magazine visit our YOKE collection here
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