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Feeding bodies, minds, & spirits: Saskatoon Yogathon Raises Thousands for Global Food Crisis

Feeding bodies, minds, & spirits: Saskatoon Yogathon Raises Thousands for Global Food Crisis

by Oxfam | May 17, 2010

Oxfam supporter Sheena McCallion wanted to do something in support of the world food crisis. A long-time social justice supporter and yoga enthusiast, Sheena was motivated to combine two of her major interests into a fundraiser for Oxfam. “I was inspired to coordinate the yogathon as a way of turning my despair over the state of the world to action, which was empowering and gave me some hope.” Her event raised the fantastic sum of $2,327.00!

She explains, “as a yogi and yoga teacher, I had been thinking about social action through yoga for a while. There is a concept called karma yoga that is not often explored through mainstream classes, which fits well with social action. It basically involves performing services for others without attachment to the outcome, ie. without expecting anything in return. I figured that we are so privileged to be able to practice yoga the way we do, we ought to share that fortune with others.”

The concept was simple: teachers from various studios would donate their time to teach a class, participants would collect pledges/make a donation to attend up to seven yoga classes, and there would also be a silent auction.

The event itself required a fair amount of planning, but everything came together well. Once she got yoga instructors from around the city on board, and secured a location, all Sheena needed were participants!

Of the 35 participants and 7 teachers, Sheena says they “were very enthusiastic, as you can tell from the amount of money they raised! Some participated in every class, without taking breaks at all! Some came for a class or two. They also enjoyed experiencing a variety of styles of yoga and meditation.”

The 7 hour event also included a talk given by Michelle Beveridge, one of Oxfam Canada’s Public Engagement and Campaign Officers. According to Sheena, it was “very powerful and set the intention for many participants in the event, as they learned about food security and its impact on people.”

Asked if she would consider organizing an event like this again, Sheena responded that she could see the yogathon becoming an annual event, citing Global Mala, the day of action in yoga occurring each September, as a good fit.

According to Sheena, the yogathon “was very rewarding for me – and good for the yoga community.” If you’re interested in organizing such an event in your community, please contact Jo Saliba, our Special Events Officer at 1.800.466.9326.

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