Anyone who practices yoga knows the power it holds as a resource to cultivate physical and emotional wellbeing. If you've never tried yoga, please take my word for it and know what a powerful force it has been in my own life.
yogaHOPE was established as a nonprofit in 2006 by Sue Jones to bring yoga to underserved populations. Just like me, Sue has a personal story of how yoga has transformed her life. She founded yogaHOPE (by the way, the acronym stands for Healing Ourselves through Personal Empowerment) to bring yoga's benefits, free of charge, to women recovering from domestic violence, homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness.
Through a corps of volunteers (including my Saluting the Spirit teammate Kat Larsen), yogaHOPE brings weekly classes to 10 Boston-area facilities: substance-abuse treatment facilities, domestic-violence safe houses, homeless shelters. These women are mired in a cycle of insecurity and self-loathing. Through yoga, they can start to notice the negative messages they are feeding themselves, and break the cycle -- it allows them to see that they can choose their thoughts and build confidence. As they begin to believe in themselves, their lives change.
yogaHOPE is also developing the Trauma-Informed Mind-Body program, a structured 16-session curriculum, based in scientific research, that gives students/practitioners the tools to heal the aftermath of emotional trauma and to begin to make healthier choices for themselves.
I couldn't believe more strongly in the value of yogaHOPE's mission, and I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to join the organization's Advisory Board recently. On June 5, Kat and I will be completing 108 sun salutations to raise money for yogaHOPE and two other very worthy organizations (one operates two nonprofit fitness centers in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood; the other provides holistic healthcare to low-income populations, e.g., acupuncture to people living with HIV/AIDS and military veterans with PTSD). The money yogaHOPE receives will be used, for example, to pay staff who are developing and evaluating the Trauma-Informed Mind-Body curriculum and to cover the cost of materials for the women who are participating in the pilot classes.
Remember that your donation is tax-deductible, and visit yogahope.org to read more about the organization.
Update as of 5/19: If you aren't visiting this page for the first time, you may notice that I've upped my goal. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, being new to the board this year, I set my initial goal lower than other board members'. THANK YOU to those who helped me reach my initial goal... Now I think I can do better! Second, I learned at our board meeting this week that overall fundraising for this event is lagging way behind. We were actually hoping that we would outperform previous years at this event so we could focus our efforts on program development rather than fundraising in the coming year. Instead we find ourselves in the opposite situation, and I am trying to do my part to help us catch up.
Please consider making a donation. I would appreciate it very much, and so will the people yogaHOPE serves.