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Saturday, December 09, 2006

christmas is for the children

and so it was appropriate that the latest seva event by the yoga groove collective was a fundraiser for a charity that heals and educates orphaned and abandoned children in cusco, peru:

Yoga Groove Collective presents: SEVA
A night of celebration & activation to benefit Casa de Milagros, a home for 30 orphans in Peru.

Join Seane Corn, Hala Khouri, Ted McDonald, Davida Taurek and Marla Leigh for a playful, musical and devotional yoga celebration.

Seane, Hala and Ted will tag-team teach a 90 minute yoga class followed by ecstatic dance with Davida and live drumming by Marla. Be prepared to move, dance and sweat. The proceeds for this event will go to Casa de Milagros, a home for 30 orphans in Peru.

according to hala khouri, who introduced the evening's groove collective members to the group of yogis gathered at the yoga works main street studio, this was the collective's fourth fundraiser. since i had attended two of their previous events, one at sacred movement last april and another at yoga works montana last may, i kept wondering how i could have missed that third one. darn.

for tonight's two-hour class, core members seane corn and hala khouri (who both teach at sacred movement) were joined by yoga instructor ted mcdonald (who teaches at malibu yoga and inner power yoga), ecstatic dance instructor davida taurek, and percussionist marla leigh. and since ted led a yoga retreat at the casa de milagros this past summer, i can only assume that the choice of charity was ted's doing.

the casa de milagros website at www.chandlersky.org offers this additional information:

Casa de Milagros (Home of Miracles) is a children's home in the Sacred Valley near historic Machu Picchu, Peru.

Casa de Milagros provides shelter, food, clothing, basic medical care, and education and arts programs that promote self-confidence and self-worth for children in need. This is done in a truly unique environment in which progressive programs are used to foster a healthy and positive consciousness. Based on the philosophy that we must start at the root of the problem, healing and educating children so that they can give back to their community, The Chandler Sky Foundation aims to provide positive long-term benefits to the region's social and environmental problems.

since there were only about two dozen of us in the room, we arranged our yoga mats in a large circle with the five teacher/performers gathered in the middle. the lights were dimmed, the ipod was cued, and we were ready to begin.

as was the format in their other team-taught fundraisers, the first teacher to step up to the plate was seane corn. she started the class with a short meditation, which seemed almost like a prayer offered up to a higher being. she stressed the importance of raising and caring for the children of the world. it was up to us to mold and shape them because the future of our planet was in their hands. after a collective "om", seane had us do some easy warm-up moves, and after we came into our first downward dog of the evening, ted took over. he led us through some slow surya namaskars and standing forward bends. a short time later, hala continued the flow by having us move through some side balances and twists. they continued taking turns leading us through different yoga asanas, after which davida and marla transitioned the group to the ecstatic dance portion of the class. we started out by walking slowly forward and back, from side to side. in no time, we were bouncing around, gyrating hips, waving arms and legs, and in some cases, writhing around on the floor. eventually, the rhythmic movement came to end, and we cooled down with some seated stretches, followed by side twists, and finished with a relaxing savasana.

once again, it was a wonderful evening with a talented group of people for a very worthy cause.

until the next yoga groove collective event comes around, i have to be sure to keep my eyes and ears peeled so i don't miss it, whenever and wherever it happens to be!