However, with the help of the San Diego yoga community, change is happening. Yoga Gives Back is an international non-profit that helps women in India start businesses and educate their daughters through donated yoga classes. Using a micro-finance program entitled “Sister Aid” women that don’t have access to traditional banking receive small business loans. The women meet in groups weekly for support and guidance. There is no charge for interest on micro loans. Instead, the program requires each loan recipient to save at least 50 rupees a month for their daughter's higher education. In addition, Yoga Gives Back funds current education costs for one daughter per family. Microfinance is one of the most visible innovations in anti-poverty policy in the last half-century, and in three decades it has grown dramatically.
Yoga Gives Back Global Team Member, Lynette Braun said “An ancient Indian philosophy and way of life has become part of our pop culture, yet few feel any real connection with Indian people and what they are going through today. Americans spend billions on yoga and yoga-related products every year and yoga has given many people, myself included, a new lease on life. The amount of money one woman spends on a pair of yoga pants equates to about a month's salary for a poverty-stricken family in India. These women are faced with horrific conditions. As a Realtor, my ultimate goal is start a brokerage that uses the principals of micro-finance to help Indian women own property. But by organizing donated yoga classes, I can do something to affect change now. One yoga class will put a girl through school for a year. A mother can start a business and provide for her daughter. We have the opportunity and responsibility to give back to the incredible people that gave us such a profound practice.“
Owners of yoga80, Reegan Lessie and Rob Pastor have joined forces with Yoga Gives Back. After developing a loyal following at their Sorrento Valley location, yoga80 is expanding to Carlsbad. Saturday April 26th Yoga Gives Back will hold a donation class as a part of the Grand Opening of yoga80’s second location in Carlsbad.
The event, entitled Yoga in Action, begins at 1:00 on Saturday with vendors and free samples followed by a screening of the short film “Sister Aid” that shows the program’s incredible impact. Children are welcome for the family yoga class for all levels will begin at 2:00 with all proceeds benefiting Yoga Gives Back.
Nominee for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of The Year Award, Bernad Llave will also be attending Yoga in Action to represent and raise awareness for his foundation, B.strong. Bernard has personal experience with the ways exercise acts as an agent for change beyond the physical. After being an accomplished athlete, Bernard was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He faced intense treatments and a received a bone marrow transplant from his sister. Today, he is not only thriving in fitness events, he is giving back to his community. The mission of his foundation, B.Strong, is to educate the public about Leukemia and provide information on becoming a bone marrow donor, grant temporary financial assistance to low-income leukemia patients and their families, and host sporting events in local communities. Yoga Gives Back is grateful to have Bernard at Yoga in Action as a Guest of Honor!
Global Team Member, Yoga Gives Back