Yogis Can Help in Haiti

It’s hard to believe I’m already writing about events that are going to take place in 2014, but here we are! 

One of our wonderful teachers Dani Robinson became involved with the organization Yogis Can Help and is teaching a Vinyasa Flow and Yin class at The Green Yogi on Saturday January 4th from 3-5pm! The suggested donation is $10. An amazing price for a class that feels even better spent, since all money is going towards Dani’s upcoming trip to Haiti. Dani and her friend Veronica Rottman will be traveling to Cange, Haiti to donate yoga supplies, teach classes, and lead a Teacher Training for some of the staff of an NGO, Partners in Health, so when they leave the oncology patients can still practice yoga!

This is not Dani or Veronica’s first trip to Haiti, they traveled to the country in January 2013 with the organization Yogis Can Help in an effort to bring the benefits of Yoga to populations under-served.

Read on to hear her story and Be Inspired!

Just to provide a little background and answer the potential Whys we are hosting this fundraiser… In January of this year, myself and Veronica Rottman visited Haiti for 10 days, during which we visited the still very under-developed, densely populated capital of Port au Prince, and spent the bulk of our time in Cange, a northern city up in the mountains. Cange is home to the NGO, Partners in Health, bringing free medical care, chemotherapy, surgical procedures, and medication to Haitian men and women suffering with cancers and diseases. It is through PiH that we connected with an oncology nurse and social worker to organize yoga classes for the patients and staff in Cange.

It was the most rewarding experience in our careers. We had roughly 20 patients  and 12 staff members a day, teaching separate classes for each. Most of our patients were women in various stages of breast cancer. Some had undergone full double mastectomies, some single, some were in their first bouts of chemo, some had tumors protruding from their chests and had just been up to make the trip into the mountains for treatment. Their response to Yoga was astounding. A few members of the staff fell in love with Yoga as well, and since coming back to the States we’ve been preparing a simple but thoughtful teacher training plan to the few promising staff members whose enthusiasm for Yoga echoed our own.

On our first trip we were able to donate mats, blocks and straps, along with our time and teaching. This trip, we head straight to PiH to not only teach the patients again, but also to hold the first ever teacher training, so that the staff may carry on providing Yoga for the patients once we’re gone. We will also be visiting the small town of Jacmel for 5 days to lead intertested locals in the training as well. We will bring additional materials to donate to both groups. We’ve created a TT manual that we will print and leave with our trainees and additional written practices to leave with our patients/students.

All funds raised to go toward the described goals. We are but humble yoga teachers, we’re making this happen regardless how much we raise, but right now, we are still short of our goal and dipping into our own pockets. Any funds raised beyond our costs will be donated to PiH.

If you’re interested to hear more about our journey, I wrote this piece for MindBodyGreen when I returned.

There’s not enough gratitude to express, please feel my sincerest and heartfelt thanks!

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