Yoga, known for its benefits to the individual mind, body and soul, also can be good for a community.
Feel Good, Do Good yoga, a monthly yoga class that raises money for Jefferson County nonprofits, will return for a third year in 2019.
Held on the first Monday of each month at Madrona MindBody Institute at Fort Worden, the class has raised more than $6,400 during the past two years.
“Part of our goal is to have a wide representative of nonprofits,” organizer Renee Klein said. “It helps a wider net of people in the community.”
Each class is led by a different teacher from the Port Townsend yoga community, and each benefits a different nonprofit, including the Jefferson Community Foundation, Dove House Advocacy Services, the ReCyclery, the YMCA and Jumping Mouse Children’s Center.
“Depending on the recipient for the class, sometimes the teachers will bring in a theme,” said Shayann Hoffer, one of the participating teachers. “For example, if it’s for the Humane Society, the theme might be ‘cats and dogs’ and the focus will be on the poses named after animals.”
Beyond raising money, the classes provide a space for those new to yoga to experience it for the first time.
“We wanted to get more people to experience the benefits of yoga,” Klein said. “Many people think you have to be young or super flexible to do yoga. We thought, ‘Here’s a way we can expose the community to yoga, because people might be more inclined to come to a class when they care about the cause it is supporting.’”
Hoffer said the classes are for all levels and teach basic standing, sitting and lying-down poses, as well as breathing techniques students can apply in their everyday lives.
“It can help in reducing stress levels and becoming more mindful,” Hoffer said. “You start to recognize thought patterns and physical patterns, and sometimes emotional patterns as well.”
In past years, the classes have held 17 or 18 students each week, but occasionally popular nonprofits draw large crowds.
Classes can hold a lot of students, Klein said. Students are welcome to donate what they want. Last year, they raised $3,000.
For Hoffer, both a yoga teacher and director of the Jefferson Teen Center, the program is a way to meet potential students and to raise money for teens.
“I really want to try to get the youth involved in the class,” Hoffer said. “I want to bring yoga into the after-school program. We could allocate part of the money raised to get yoga mats. Then it becomes a direct connection of the yoga benefit to the kids.”
At each class, a representative from the nonprofit will explain what they do at their nonprofit, so students have an opportunity to learn more about all the different nonprofits in the county.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Klein said. “Yoga helps people feel good, and donating to worthy causes helps them do good, too.”