PYR Helped Me Breathe

Do you remember a time in your life when it felt hard to stop and breathe? Maybe you were experiencing a tough time at home or work. Maybe you were dealing with depression or anxiety.

Was there was someone, or something, that helped you breathe and find your way through?

For me, it was Project Yoga Richmond that helped me breathe when I was in need.

I first discovered Project Yoga Richmond when I needed support the most. I was anxious and overwhelmed before my first class with PYR, but as I entered the studio, I felt a sense of relief.  From the moment I opened PYR’s door, I found so much more than a yoga class. I found a deep sense of calm during tumultuous times; I found myself; I found community.

Will you join me in supporting the PYR community?

Project Yoga Richmond provides this experience to communities across the Greater Richmond Region by providing free or low-cost yoga and mindfulness programs. I support PYR because I believe everyone deserves access to the benefits yoga provides. Benefits like improved focus and self regulation, a sense of belonging, and a reduction in stress and anxiety.

Eager to be part of the community that had been there for me when I needed it most, I deepened my support of PYR through volunteering. I have served as both a check-in assistant and volunteered with one of PYR’s community partnership programs.  Welcoming students to PYR’s pay-what-you-can studio and assisting a summer yoga and mindfulness program for East End elementary school youth, I have seen the impact PYR has had on my life replicated in the lives of countless other students. 

Will you join me in sharing the benefits of yoga with PYR’s students?

As a middle school English teacher in Henrico County, yoga supports my well-being so that I can better teach, but I have also passed those benefits along to my students. I have begun incorporating breath work into my classroom in order to share the stress-management and social-emotional learning skills that yoga provides. My experience as a teacher has taught me that the most important lessons we learn come from students themselves. PYR embodies this ideal wholeheartedly. I have seen first hand how PYR looks first to the needs of their community to empower the students they serve. Whether it is PYR’s programs for youth in Richmond Public Schools, working with ESOL populations in Chesterfield County, or sharing trauma-informed programs at Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, PYR continues to work with and meet each population where they are as they share the benefits of yoga. It is this focus that makes PYR’s programs so unique and impactful.

Your donation will make it possible for more people to discover the benefits of yoga.

Practicing with Project Yoga Richmond has provided me the ability to reset when I’m having a challenging moment or day. Yoga reminds me to breathe and has given me the space and perspective to not let a moment of anxiety or a simple mistake unravel all the good within and around me. PYR offers the network of support I need to share all that I have to offer.

Will you join me in offering this network of support through PYR’s programs?

Consider making a donation to Project Yoga Richmond to help someone breathe and feel supported by our community, no matter what they are facing.

 

Best,

Sarah Delaney, Project Yoga Richmond Student and Volunteer

Yogathon 2018!

 

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PYR’s First Executive Director

The Project Yoga Richmond Board of Directors is excited to announce the appointment of Nadia Gooray as the organization’s first Executive Director, effective immediately.

The hiring of an Executive Director marks an important transition for PYR, as we begin to lay the strategic groundwork that will guide our organization for years to come. As Nadia notes, “The coming year will be about strengthening and refinement. PYR is uniquely positioned in Richmond to offer affordable trauma-informed yoga trainings for instructors as well as for other professionals and community members who wish to understand how yoga can support healing and build resilience. We are developing the framework of a training model to continue our impact in offering spaces for yoga, inquiry, and community building.”

Nadia joined PYR in 2015, first as the Outreach and Volunteer Manager, and most recently serving as the organization’s Program Director.  She believes that the tools of yoga and meditation create conscious, positive change on an individual and community level, and is passionate about working with PYR to make the benefits of yoga accessible to all.  After attending Brown University, and working in development at Garth Fagan Dance, Nadia came to PYR and Richmond from Rochester, New York, where she worked for 8 years in program development and community engagement at Breathe Yoga.  She completed her 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher certification through Yoga Works in March 2017. In June 2018, Nadia completed the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program.  When she’s not on her mat, Nadia can be found exploring her Church Hill neighborhood, listening (and singing) to ‘90s R&B, and discovering a new favorite Richmond restaurant.  

Upon her appointment, Nadia noted, “I’m thrilled to be part of an organization whose call to action is to increase access to the health and social benefits of yoga to communities across greater Richmond.  Since its founding in 2010, PYR has built a deep, vibrant network, with the purpose of supporting and creating a more just and connected community. I am honored to tap into this energy and leverage our strengths as we set out to grow PYR’s impact and reach in the coming years!”

Project Yoga Richmond is a 501 (c3) non-profit founded in 2010 by five dedicated yogis and students of Arlene Bjork: Jonathan Miles, Dana Walters, Michelle Martello, Pam Cline, and Wendy Warren. Upon the sudden death of their beloved teacher, these five yogis created PYR as a way to make the benefits of yoga accessible and affordable to all, through a pay- what-you-can studio and community partnership programs across the Greater Richmond Region. In 2017, PYR provided 23,824 yoga experiences to individuals of all ages, abilities, and income levels.

Please join us in congratulating Nadia on her new position as the Executive Director of Project Yoga Richmond!

2017 Highlights

Thank you to all who have supported us by sharing your time, practice, talents, and donations to make 2017 an impactful year at Project Yoga Richmond! We are blown away by the impact you have made and hope you take some time to pause and celebrate the great things you supported in 2017. Enjoy this reflection of our 15 highlights of 2017! Keep the goodness going by making a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year so we can keep the goodness going in 2018!

1. Provided over 21,200 yoga experiences so far in 2017!
2. Voted Richmond Magazine’s Best Yoga Studio in RVA!!
3. Unrolled 2,432 mats on the VMFA deck during Saturday Salutations to support our community yoga and mindfulness programs!

Photo: Chad Williams of Creative Visual Designs

4. Celebrated 7 years of making yoga accessible across the Greater Richmond Region!
  • Our first community partnership program was at Brook Road Academy in 2011, today kicked off our 7th year of our yoga and mindfulness program there!
5. Started 3 new community programs for Children and Youth this Summer
  • SwimRVA with youth from Peter Paul Development Center
  • Robinson Theater Community Arts Center in the East End
  • Higher Achievement at Binford Middle School
6. Brought back the Yogathon for #GivingTuesday & surpassed our goal, supporting 12 community programs!
  • 160 people unrolled their mats and donated to support 12 Yoga and Mindfulness Programs for one quarter

  • Our students from Brook Road Academy unrolled their mats at our studio during our Yogathon!
7. Started a new program for Adults with Special Needs in partnership with the Special Olympics
  • Partnered with Special Olympic Virginia SO FIT 8-week summer program, which consists of fitness training and nutritional workshops to learn healthy eating habits, PYR is offering yoga to help develop mind-body awareness and connection.
8. Worked with local artists to enhance our community space:
9. PYR hosted leaders in the yoga community for workshops at our studio
  • Nikki Myers, founder of Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery)
  • Melody Moore, founder of Embody Love Movement.
  • Dr. Ariele Foster of Yoga Anatomy Academy for 2 yoga and anatomy workshops
  • Hari Kirtana Das, author, speaker, yoga teacher, led a yoga philosophy and yoga nidra workshop.
10. Provided 25 reoccurring community yoga and mindfulness partnership programs across the Greater Richmond region!

11. Piloted a yoga and mindfulness program at Chesterfield County Jail
  • Offering Yoga of 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR) for participants of The Bridge program at Chesterfield County Jail to support recovery and personal development.
12. Expanded our partnership with NextUp and offered yoga + mindfulness at Lucille Brown and Boushall Middle Schools this fall

13. Started a Trauma-Informed Yoga pilot program in November, offering therapeutic yoga to adults at Crisis Stabilization Unit at RBHA
14. New Class of the Year: Gong Meditation & Yoga Nidra every Monday at 7pm with Stacy Abbott

 15. Moved Acro Yoga 101 to the VMFA Sculpture Garden during the warmer months! (You can still jam with us the second Sunday of every month at our studio at 2pm!)
Thank you for your support! We can’t wait to see the impact you make in 2018!

I am one of those numbers

Tis’ the season for reflection and gratitude. Will you reflect with me for a moment?

Did you know that Project Yoga Richmond is on track to provide over 20,000 unique yoga experiences in 2017? Did you know that PYR partners with 10 organizations to provide yoga and mindfulness programs to children and youth across the Greater Richmond region? Did you know that  PYR has served 4,893 children and youth so far this year?

These might just seem like numbers, but each number represents an individual who has felt the enormous impact of Project Yoga Richmond this year. I am one of those numbers. You can increase these numbers and impact the lives they represent, like mine, by making a gift today.

I know first-hand the benefits that PYR can provide to children and youth, and in this season of giving, I want to share with you how grateful I am for Project Yoga Richmond and the impact it has had on my life.

I have been challenged with brain development issues since birth. I have a formal diagnosis of Dyslexia and I’ve had a dozen major surgical procedures. These are just a few obstacles that have come my way.

I was in the sixth grade when I took my first yoga class at Brook Road Academy at St. Joseph’s Villa. I remember those Friday afternoon classes with Liz being playful and upbeat, but also opportunities for me to slow down and connect my body, brain, and breath.

Practicing Yoga with PYR gives me time and space to pause.

 

 

Your donation will make it possible for more young people like me to discover the benefits of yoga.

On the mat in those early years, I was admittedly a little loud and excitable, often falling out of poses, trying to fold myself into a pretzel, and attempting to leap into crow pose from plank. The teachers from PYR, as well my goofy classmates, were always supportive, forgiving, and patient. They put a smile on my face and made me feel welcome to be myself.

Everyone deserves to feel as supported and welcome to be themselves as I do when I practice, and Project Yoga Richmond does that as they make yoga accessible and affordable to all regardless of physical or financial ability.

When you make a gift to  Project Yoga Richmond, you make yoga and mindfulness programs across the Greater Richmond region possible, including Yoga for ESOL Students, Yoga for Special Needs, Yoga for Recovery, and Yoga for Juvenile Justice, and more.

Now, as a senior, my mindset has shifted a bit. The guidance of Javonne, our current Project Yoga teacher, continues to be therapeutic and calming. I appreciate the softer qualities of my practice. I enjoy meditation and setting intentions and the stress release that regular practice brings. What I love most though is the way I feel afterwards—well rested in a way that only pausing in time and space among friends can offer.

 

Will you join me in giving back to Project Yoga Richmond by making a gift that impacts lives like mine?

Sincerely, 
Matt Stone
Brook Road Academy Student 
Project Yoga Richmond Programs Student

Support Matt, and the practice of our students across the Greater Richmond region by making your tax-deductible donation to PYR today!
Click here to make a gift today!

 

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