Improving Happiness and Transforming Lives Through Movement and Meditation

With her passion and expertise, Savannah Carlson works to curate experiences that transform people inside out, whether it be personal development workshops, teaching practical mindfulness tools, or moving the body in sustainable ways. She is Director of Community Operations, Community and Operations for 109 World, a non-profit dedicated to improving people’s happiness and fulfilment through caring for oneself and the planet. She is also a 200 hour registered yoga teacher in the LYT yoga method created by physical therapist Lara Heimann.

Savannah had a typical American childhood living in the suburbs outside Denver, Colorado. She used to play around the neighborhood, work hard to get good grades, and participate in community activities to get into college until an unfortunate incident happened when she was in the last year of high school. It was a shooting incident that deeply affected her as a young girl. But as she moves further away from it, she realizes it gave her a perspective of strength and perseverance. Savannah attended the University of Colorado to study International Affairs and Leadership. This led her to her current organization, 109 World. 

Talking about the organization, she says, “109 World is a wellbeing platform that helps improve your happiness and fulfilment through caring for oneself and our planet. We do this in a variety of ways including mindfulness and volunteer retreats all over the world as well as online and in-person workshops in areas like movement, meditation, and personal development. We also provide many tangible tools via our social media as well as downloadable lifestyle guides for free as a way to provide people with practical tools to improve their wellbeing”. 109 World strives to form authentic human connections. Each program is curated differently and woven with the human spirit within. They have traveled to 11 countries to date and have 400 alumni from their programs. Savannah always wanted to make a difference and use travel as a means of building community and expanding perspective. She didn’t know this could actually happen until she joined 109 World. 

Savannah notes that being a nonprofit comes with a set of challenges. As they are fairly young organizations, their initial and present challenges are more or less the same. They have to be innovative and scrappy at all times to make the most of the resources at hand. Fundraising is another challenge, and they struggle with staying afloat. With only two people as the staff, they are burdened with a lot of work, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. It has been an incredible learning experience, and Savannah is thankful for it all. Although she is not the co-founder of the non-profit but has been a part of the journey for the last 3 years out of the total 5. 

When asked about sharing her success mantra with us, she says- “The biggest message I can share is simply to honor yourself. Whether you are starting your own venture, working for a big organization, or caring for a family – it’s so easy to neglect your inner world. And I don’t mean the trendy ideas of self-care that include face masks and bubble baths. I mean, taking the time each to acknowledge how you feel and what you need. As women, I think we tend to think about everyone around us before stopping to care for ourselves. So I encourage you, whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour, to take some time to tune in and honor yourself as often as possible. We can only give as much love to the world as we have for ourselves, so we must nurture our relationship with ourselves in order to give our best self to the world. This is a lesson that I have learned the hard way and am constantly working at, but something that has been incredibly important for me as I continue to grow”.