Yoga Group Assists Wounded Warriors
By JOHN LENTZ
A local yoga group's efforts have resulted in almost $13,000 in donations earmarked to assist injured veterans.
For the owners and members of the Southern Pines Yoga Co., the month of November 2011 involved more than just the opening of their studio beside the Fresh Market grocery store on Beverly Lane.
On that same day, the group began fundraising efforts to help support severely injured servicemen and women through a nonprofit organization dedicated to their well-being.
"For the second straight year, the Southern Pines Yoga Co. has held its 'Salute the Troops' benefit to raise awareness and funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, receiving a great response from the local community and beyond," said studio owner Michelle Kaiser. "With our staff having strong ties to the military, the day after the opening they decided to take their yoga 'off the mat' and into the world by holding a 'mala,' or public yoga display, to raise money and show their support to the military."
A mala is a specialized event in which yogis, or yoga practitioners, undergo a strenuous sequence of poses, 108 in all, that match the number of beads on a prayer string.
"In our 'Salute the Troops' event, each participant gained sponsorship for the number of sun salutation poses that they completed," Kaiser said. "This is a physically challenging event which lasts approximately two-and-one-half hours. Others sponsored yogis or made donations through the studio."
Kaiser said that in 2011 the studio raised $4,100, with that amount more than doubled for 2012.
"This year, we were ecstatic at the response from the community to our fundraising efforts," Kaiser said. "We were hoping for a repeat of the $4,100 we raised last year, and really didn't expect anything like the amount we received. The staff has been overwhelmed with gratitude due to the generosity of the community, and as a result the Wounded Warrior Project will receive $8,759.60 from this year's Southern Pines Yoga Co. event."
Kaiser said that checks were mailed to the Wounded Warrior project this week.
"As of today, the Wounded Warrior Project in Jacksonville, Fla., should have already received $8,550 in checks from our studio," she said. "Another check for $209.60 is in the mail to them today. Our goal is to hold this event every year."
Kaiser said that the Southern Pines Yoga Co. takes the sacrifices the military "very seriously."
"Our community has been directly impacted since 2001 by the war on terrorism, and local families have benefited from the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization," Kaiser said. "The vision of the Wounded Warrior Project is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation's history. Their purpose is to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members."
Kaiser said that fundraising efforts continue year-round at her studio.
"Everyone is welcome to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project by either dropping off their donations to us, or by sending it directly to the project's website at www.woundedwarrior
project.org," she said.
Kaiser expressed thanks to Fresh Market for its support.
"They have generously donated water and fruit trays to us both years," Kaiser said. "We appreciate their contributions to this effort."
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@thepilot. com.
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