A Mindful Race with a Compassionate Twist

June 17, 2015

Editor’s Note: In April 2015, Yoga Alliance announced four special grants that would help anyone in the yoga community create an exciting event to celebrate this momentous occasion. Meet one of our winners!

International Day of Yoga is quickly approaching and the yoga community is bursting with excitement! We’re thrilled to be able to help yoga teachers and studios share their practice with others and serve their local communities through our International Day of Yoga grants.

The third of our four grant recipients is Lahari Yoga in Alberta, Canada!

Established in October 2014, Lahari Yoga is a studio based in St. Albert, Alberta Canada that specializes in reaching out to non-traditional members of its community including teens, hockey players, firefighters and people with limited mobility.

Larissa Whiting, owner of Lahari Yoga, said staff members Michellene Kandert, Marley Reyburn and Alex Perras came up with the idea for an event inspired by the show The Amazing Race during a brainstorming session. Teams of two or more yogis will traverse the city on foot to designated “Kula Corners” where they will have to perform simple tasks to earn points: Choose a yoga pose, take a picture doing that pose in front of the designated Kula Corner, post the picture on social media, tag Lahari Yoga and add a description of the yama or niyama that corresponds to each Kula Corner with their thoughts on how this principle would be helpful in solving global climate change.

After posting their picture, teams receive a clue about the next location to visit. Bonus points will be awarded to teams that get others in the area (especially non-practitioners) to try the pose with them. Teams will race on foot to reduce their carbon footprint, and are encouraged to limit their use of any paper or plastic products throughout their journey.  The winning team receives the Kula Cup; Larissa said the teams are racing for fun rather than material gain.

After visiting all of the destinations, teams will return to Lahari for a fun-filled festival of kirtan, mala beading and a free outdoor class for anyone in the community to attend. Any donations received during the festival will be split between two charities: the Africa Yoga Project—a nonprofit that educates, empowers, elevates and employs youth from Africa using the transformational practice of yoga—and Girl Up, a campaign by the United Nations Foundation to encourage girls to take action in their communities.

This service-focused event is nothing new for Lahari Yoga; earlier this year, they held a fundraiser to help disaster relief efforts in Nepal. In addition to making donations to Girl Up and Africa Yoga Project, participants in the race are encouraged to bring a donation for the local food bank. “There's something magical that has happened at our studio: it's truly becoming a kula where the members care about each other and want to help each other,” Larissa told us.

Larissa said she believes the world will be a better place if more people practice yoga, but that change can begin in small ways. 

“My plan is to simply continue to grow and nurture our yoga studio and our community of kind, compassionate yogis who really care about the bigger picture,” she said.

We’re proud that we could be of service to you, Lahari Yoga—keep up the good work, and we wish you the best of luck for this event! Want to learn more about their event? Visit Lahari Yoga’s Facebook page for more information.

Don’t forget to discover the other three winners of our International Day of Yoga Grant as well! Keep your eyes out for more articles about our winners, and if you’re near any of these events, be sure to attend to support your local yoga community!


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