Urban Zen Reaches Out

yogacitynyc | 30 September, 2010 10:09

Yogis, mark your calendars!  On September 30, Anusara teachers Elizabeth Rossa and Elena Brower will host Give Your Yoga at the Urban Zen Center, an evening of yoga, philanthropy and live music to benefit Women for Women International, a grassroots organization which provides women survivors of war and civil strife the tools and resources they need to move from crisis to stability.

Both Rossa and Brower agree that any way you slice it, giving is the resounding theme of the evening. “The ‘giving’ aspect has many angles to it,” says Rossa,  “Elena’s and my decision to give our teaching, the participant yogis giving their time and financial offering, the simple, sweet giving of oneself to a practice that sometimes challenges us to confront not only the joy of being alive, but the shadows as well”.  Brower adds, “We hope to encourage those in attendance to give the gift of yoga to themselves, again and again, so they can be offering their best in every enterprise of their lives. We connect with our resources and our hearts.”

Rossa, owner of Tribeca’s Shri Yoga, became involved with Women for Women International (WFWI) after hearing founder and CEO Zainab Salbi speak at a salon hosted by a Shri student. This summer Rossa became a sponsor ‘sister’ to Josephine,  a woman in Rwanda, providing a financial contribution of $27 every month to help Josephine work toward becoming self sufficient by getting an education and work training. The sponsorship program is only one of WFWI’s outreach initiatives- in 2012, Kate Spade New York and WFWI will expand their Hand in Hand program, establishing sustainable employment for women in Afghanistan. The program created over 400 jobs this past year in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Rwanda, and Kosovo.

Donna Karan, founder of the Urban Zen center and longtime yogi who has practiced with both teachers says “Elizabeth Rossa and Elena Brower are legendary teachers and leaders in the New York yoga community and it is an honor for the Urban Zen Foundation to join forces with Women for Women International.”

Karen Sherman, the Executive Director of Global Programs at WFWI, is admittedly not a yogi (she’s more a Pilates gal) but looks forward to unrolling her mat alongside participants on the 30th. Sherman is filled with gratitude toward the teachers and the Urban Zen Center for helping to create awareness for the organization.  While acknowledging that the two communities are different in scope, she says “what bring us together are our humanity and our core values, and our awareness of the need for global citizenry.”

The evening may be all about ‘giving’, but we think it’s fair to assume those in attendance will feel they are receiving quite a bit as well.

Registration for the September 30th event is now open at urbanzencenter.org, tickets are $100. Proceeds benefit Women for Women International and the Urban Zen Foundation.

-Biba Milioto for YogaCity NYC