School Yoga Program Not Religious, Judge Rules

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Yoga is a powerful tool for helping people struggling in poverty, homelessness, addiction recovery and other life challenges—but these people often can’t afford nor have access to regular yoga classes. Meeting that need is why One Yoga Studio in Minneapolis has created Karma Tribe, to pair yoga teachers with nonprofit organizations that serve homeless youth, low-income immigrants, pregnant teens, among others.

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The program has already reached a wide range of organizations in the Minneapolis area, offering 98 free classes to about 2,000 students in 2012, according to an article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The goal for 2013 is to double that.

Karma Tribe instructor Pablo Charis says that yoga teaches his students that they can accomplish things they never thought possible with their bodies. “When they realize they can translate that same feeling into the rest of their lives,” he says in a video on the Karma Tribe website, “well, that makes me feel really good.”

Karma Tribe is part of a trend of yoga studios in metropolitan areas taking the lead to bring the benefits of yoga to populations in need. In Portland, Oregon, that outreach is being done by Street Yoga , which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and in Boston, Yoga Hope helps women recovery from abuse, addiction, and homelessness.

“Our mission at One Yoga has been to bring yoga out into the community for those who don’t have access,”says studio manager Michele Streitz, adding that “the demand is much greater than the supply of the teachers we have here.”

One Yoga owners hope to partner with other studios and individual teachers throughout the Twin Cities, believing that one overarching organization can better benefit local folks in need.