Yoga event to benefit isles' homeless kids


POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Relax, take a deep breath and help feed Hawaii's homeless children at an all-day yoga marathon scheduled for this weekend.

“;Yoga for Peace: A Global Mala Event,”; organized by yoga instructors Debbie Azama-Park and Maria “;Jai-Ma”; Steele, is an all-day event that includes yoga practice, 108 modified sun salutations, mantra and meditation. The event, benefiting H5 (Hawaii Helping the Hungry Have Hope), is held in conjunction with the United Nations' International Peace Day and intends to bring the local yoga community together for a common cause.

Eighty percent of proceeds benefit H5. “;They have been very active, open and creative in creating programs for the homeless,”; Steele said. “;We really feel their passion and commitment to help make these people's lives better.”;

Azama-Park added, “;We wanted to choose an agency that helped children. Having kids that are hungry is unfathomable to us.”;

Yogis of all levels are welcome to participate. Most people who practice yoga are already familiar with sun salutations, Azama-Park said. “;Beginners can do what their body is willing to do. They may not be able to do the whole thing, but some beginners will amaze themselves. Many people didn't think they could do the 108 sun salutations, and it's a huge accomplishment.”;

One hundred people participated in last year's event, and organizers hope to double that number this year. In response to the economy, admission has been reduced to $50 from $108.

Hundreds of yoga events across the globe for Peace Day will be conducting sun salutation rituals. This one takes its name from the sacred prayer beads called “;mala”; that are used in India and Tibet as meditation guides. The mala, comprising 108 beads, is symbolic of the prayer for peace, hope and charity the event will be sending to the world, Azama-Park said.

Azama-Park and Steele started this annual yoga marathon for peace last year. They were interested in creating an event that linked the local yoga community with yoga practitioners around the globe.

“;As people gather with the intention of peace in their heart, this radiates, and we can work together to heal the planet. It's all in the numbers; the more people doing this at the same time, the stronger the effect,”; Steele said.

“;As we move with this intention together, the breath synergizes, and it is as if one universal breath is breathing us all. When we move and breath together, you feel this, and this experience of oneness is what will help to change the world.”;




Yoga for Peace

        » Where: Hawaii Tokai International College, 2241 Kapiolani Blvd.

» When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday


» Cost: $50 for an all-day pass; $34 for the sun salutation ritual only


» Register: E-mail Debbie Azama-Park at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Maria Steele at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for a registration form, or pick one up at Open Space Yoga, Down to Earth, Definitic Yoga Hawaii, lululemon and Bikram Yoga Studio in Kaimuki.


» Information: www.hnlyoga.com or www.globalmala.com