May Volunteer of the Month

Meet our May Volunteer of the Month, Carolyn Henao!
Here is a quick interview with Carolyn:
“I love Project Yoga Richmond because it is so inclusive and creates a strong sense of community.
At every class,  there is such a strong mix of different types of people, both men and women of all different backgrounds, that come together in order to practice yoga and meditation.
PYR offers not only a clean and beautiful physical environment for our practice, but also amazing and welcoming energy from all of the teachers, employees, and volunteers I have met.
My favorite yoga pose is One-Legged King Pigeon or “Eka Pada Rajakapotasana.” This is my favorite because when you grab the foot from overhead and lean back it offers such a nice backbend/heart opener and it also stretches the legs and opens the hips. Opening the hips and the heart releases stagnant emotions and helps with physical as well as emotional flexibility! :)”
We are so grateful to have Carolyn as a part of our PYR family!
Be sure to give her a big thank you next time you see her at PYR class or event!

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

Meet Kisha!

What first brought you to the practice?

Fitness. I was a 12-year-old who loved to dance and be active, but I was also self-conscious about being overweight. My favorite dance workout video was made by MTV’s The Grind (a 90s dance show) and it had a sample yoga practice at the end. That was the beginning of my love affair with yoga.

Why do you continue to practice?

I continue to practice because yoga has taught me so much about myself and how I walk in the world. While my physical practice is great for building strength and flexibility, the rest of my practice (meditation, mantra, pranayama) has allowed me to cultivate flexibility and strength in my spirit.

Yoga has taught me to pause. When I’m having a bad day and I want to lash out, I remember my breath and remember that I get to choose. Sometimes I still choose wrong, but I always have the opportunity to think about how I want to react instead of just reacting. Yoga has also created a place for me to go when I need to reconnect with myself or encourage myself to reconnect with others. I’ve learned how strong I can be in body and spirit. I have tools that help me deal with anxiety and depression. Yoga has helped me engage with my body in a different way that reminds me to love it and appreciate it.

How do you think yoga benefits the world today?

Yoga benefits the world by showing people that there is always another way to be. There is always the opportunity to find peace in their hearts and spirits. There is a way to be compassionate and wish others well. Yoga benefits people by helping them find who they are, which encourages self-love, which then encourages us to share that love with others.

When and Why did you first start practicing at PYR?

I began practicing at PYR in 2012. I was first introduced to PYR at a yoga event by the river. I came to PYR to practice at a time when I was trying to get back into my personal yoga practice. I was having a hard time finding a place that felt comfortable and safe. PYR was that place for me.

I practice at PYR because I love the sense of community. I adore the teachers and volunteers that I’ve met. The atmosphere is warm, welcoming and kind. PYR embodies what I believe we seek when we practice yoga: loving-kindness, growth, and community.

How has PYR impacted you and your life?

PYR has given me the basis for my belief in what a yoga community can be. When I first started practicing at PYR, I was interested in growing my personal practice, but the more I took class there, the more I felt called to teach. I didn’t even know that was something I wanted to do, but I wanted to encourage and support others the way I felt encouraged and supported.

What impacts do you see PYR making in the community?

I see PYR inviting people to the practice of yoga for the first time or the 50th time. Our community is so diverse and when I go to a PYR event I see that; I see the curiosity and the melting away of fear that yoga is supposed to be just one way. PYR brings people in!

Aside from Asana, what other things do you like to practice or do?

I’m a great big nerd. I love to read (fiction mainly, but I’m beginning to branch out), I enjoy podcasts, cooking, and knitting. I’m working on gardening: I can keep things alive if they’re outdoors…usually

Practice with Kisha during Ebb and Flow – Slow Flow Yoga every Wednesday at 5:30-6:30pm at PYR’s studio starting September 5th!

Two New PYR Ambassadors!

We are excited to announce that two powerful yoga instructors have joined PYR’s family!
Meet Sherida Kemp and Kisha Hughes, long time PYR students and advocates, and now PYR Ambassadors!

Sherida began her yoga journey here at PYR 5 years ago by attending PYR’s Breathe. Bend. Be. class with Sara Lovelace.  She has remained a Thursday night regular and has been teaching yoga for two years, with a passion for creating adaptive, playful yoga classes for seniors and individuals with limited mobility, and at churches.

 

Kisha was introduced to yoga as a teenager.  When she moved to RVA in 2011, she discovered PYR at a Living Social event and then attended her first PYR class shortly after (Live Your Yoga with Sue Agee).  She, too, has remained a PYR regular.  Kisha is passionate about teaching yoga to beginners, women,  LGBTQAI+ communities, and anyone who finds themselves on the fringes of traditional yoga spaces.

 

You will see Sherida and Kisha subbing at the studio as we work to integrate them into the regular schedule – either at the studio and/or out in the community as the join us in making yoga spaces more accessible and equitable!

The latest on classes and special events, plus an inside look at how practicing with PYR helps our community. Sign up here.