Naples business spreads the good word of yoga to Haiti
NAPLES, Fla. - With the support of Bala Vinyasa Yoga and Lululemon, the Naples-based business, Wellfit, is bringing yoga to Haiti, teaching classes, mentoring local teachers, and hand delivering a supply of yoga mats to the locals.
This project will run concurrently with the MTB Ayiti’s Haiti Ascent Stage Race, a mountain bike race that takes place over intensely rough terrain.
MTB Ayiti literature describes their mission as one of “encouraging sustainable and adventure tourism”.
The aim is to “drive economic development and grow Haiti’s burgeoning tourism industry by coalescing a vibrant and profitable ecosystem of tour companies, hospitality providers, and cycling-related services.”
Jill Wheeler of Wellfit sees yoga as a perfect addition to the variety of activities MTB Ayiti aims to foster.
She looks to Haiti as a destination for yoga retreats.
“This isn’t for the person looking for plush, 5 star luxury--it’s an environment that will be in sync with the dedicated yoga practitioner who is looking to simplify and get to the basics in a natural, beautiful setting”.
At the Ascent Stage Race, Wheeler will work alongside a team of Haitian massage therapists.
She will offer yoga-centric stretching pre and post race at a massage/stretch/healing station located on the route of the race.
She will also be scouting potential retreat locations on the island.
“Initially, we were going to ask large yoga gear companies from across the country to partner with us,” said Wheeler.
Then we realized this was a chance to engage our local community.
We reached out to yoga-centric businesses and, thus far, have gotten terrific support from Bala Vinyasa and Lululemon.
We’re hoping other area yoga studios will see the potential in this project in engaging their students in an impactful initiative.”
On January 30, Wheeler will travel to Haiti with armloads of yoga mats, donated by lululemon and the students at Bala Vinyasa.
“The response has been overwhelming,” says Wheeler. “Within days of our requests, we were receiving a steady stream of mats.”
Wellfit plans for this event to be the start of a longer term involvement in developing a retreat culture in Haiti.
“It’s critical that we aren’t the only ones involved. Working with other institutions, like MTB Ayiti, that has an experienced board of directors, means that our efforts are going to be that much more impactful. There is great leadership and great vision surrounding this dream of an improved life for Haitians with more economic and educational opportunity, of showcasing Haiti’s environment while making it accessible to those who wish to interact respectfully with the terrain.”
There are a number of ways to get involved with the project:
- Check out, like and share Wellfit Institute’s and MTB Ayiti’s Facebook pages
- If you’re an experienced mountain biker looking for a serious challenge, consider signing up for the MTB Ayiti Race - January 30-February 2, 2013
- Donate new or used yoga mats--contact Jill Wheeler at Wellfit, email@example.com, for more information on how to do this
- If you do decide to do the race, haul some donated mats down to Haiti while you travel!