Sometimes, a little karma goes a long way.
While research has shown that yoga is good for the body and mind, MYSJ has shown that it’s beneficial for community building as well. This past November, all of the proceeds from MYSJ’s Friday evening Karma classes were donated to Eastern Edge – bringing in a total of $1,051 for the province’s only artist-run gallery.
The Karma program has been in place since MYSJ opened in February of 2012, with nine months out of every year being dedicated to local charities says Brooke Johnson, a teacher at the studio. Johnson estimates that since its inception, the program has raised approximately $1,000 per month for over 30 local charities. (The total funds all Moksha (Canada) and Modo (international) studios have raised as a collective, since Moksha started in 2005, is $3.2 million.)
“Karma Yoga classes incorporate all seven of our philosophical pillars. We charge $5 cash for our Karma classes (versus $18 drop-in), so it removes price as being a factor for people who wish to gain access to a hot yoga class. We then take the funds raised and give them to our selected monthly charity. Every Moksha/Modo studio in our franchise offers one to three Karma classes per week,” Johnson says.
Business & Arts NL recently provided a list of arts organizations that could use support, Johnson says. “We’ve also had a few students who visit our studio mention that Eastern Edge is a really great small organization doing wonderful things to support Canadian arts and culture,” she adds.
Hannah Morgan, fundraising and outreach co-ordinator with Eastern Edge, says they are thrilled to be the latest Karma recipient. As a not-for-profit centre and registered charity since 1984, she says, the donation will go a long way and will specifically be used toward their artist-in-residency goals and the programming of more artists in the upcoming year.
“As the most easterly artist-run gallery in Canada, Eastern Edge is a vital cultural institution in St. John’s and across the country. We are the primary location for contemporary art and its conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador. Functioning as an art gallery, city arts centre, active educator, artist resource, public library, and social cultural space, Eastern Edge Gallery supports contemporary artists and increases public awareness, understanding, and access to contemporary art,” Morgan says.
“There have been challenges over the years with the ever-shifting funding bodies for arts and culture both on a provincial and national level. Committed to the artistic communities in St. John’s and beyond, our hope is that we can improve and expand the opportunities to include a more diverse representation and build a safe and powerful platform for marginalized voices.”
Johnson says the “squeeze on funding for the arts” is why MYSJ decided to support Eastern Edge.
“Artistic expression is so important to individuals with creative talents, dreams and pursuits and it brings people together. One of Gord Downie’s quotes is relevant to this: ‘Music brings people together. So my function in anything I do is to help bring people closer in.’ Through the arts we are given the opportunity to connect people and connect people to emotion, which is not unlike what we try to do at Moksha Yoga St. John’s,” she says.
“At MYSJ we offer our service at a discounted rate to be more accessible and we partner with local charities to share the funds raised as a way to spread Karma and the goodness of yoga to others.”