Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Karma Yoga blends fitness with giving

When I started as Rec&Ed executive director last year, I spent several weeks visiting and trying many of our camps and classes. One day, fitness supervisor and yoga instructor Victoria Cendrowski invited me to "Karma Yoga," the monthly 90 minute Power Yoga Pilates class she offers to the community. She and her daughter Chelsea, both experienced yoga instructors, volunteer their time to offer the class in addition to the many classes they teach through Rec&Ed. Karma Yoga is free, with the "fee" being a suggested $10 donation to a local or global charity.

Longtime Rec&Ed yoga instructor Victoria Cendrowski
offers Karma Yoga once/month.  
"How hard could it be?" I thought to myself, distantly remembering the one yoga class I had taken years ago through Rec&Ed. My daughter Madeline, then an 8th grader at Slauson, was eager to try too. So I dusted off my old yoga mat and we arrived at the Eberbach Cultural Arts Building that Sunday morning. As soon as we started, I realized two things: 1) Victoria and Chelsea are talented and serious yoga instructors and 2) I probably should have done a couple of downward dogs before coming!

Madeline quickly got into the flow, so to speak, and easily posed, balanced, and stretched her way to a energized state. I was often a half beat behind, but enjoyed the community feel of the class (everyone was friendly and looked vaguely familiar, as is often the case for those of us who've lived here a long time).

I left feeling amazing. It was a fun, relaxed, and somewhat challenging yoga experience, plus I had contributed to a great cause -- in this case, the Rec&Ed Scholarship Program.

"Chelsea and I have been doing Karma Yoga for close to four years and have raised more than $10,000," Victoria told me recently. "Chelsea came up with the idea. We both wanted to do volunteer work together and it is just heart warming for everyone involved." 100% of the donations have gone to local charities such as Food Gatherers, Safe House Center, Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley as well as global charities like Doctors without Borders.

Join this month's Karma Yoga on Sunday, November 24, 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. at the Eberbach Cultural Arts Building's Dance Studio. The charity this month is Acumen, a non-profit that "raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty." To RSVP for this Sunday's Karma Yoga or be added to the email list, contact Victoria.

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