Project Yoga 2
(Photo courtesy McAbbott Studios)
Nadia Gooray wants to change the world, one cleansing breath at a time.
She’s outreach manager for Project Yoga Richmond, a nonprofit that seeks to bring yoga to people who would otherwise never experience it. Its members offer classes on a pay-what-you-can basis and also offer 22 outreach programs including sessions for seniors, at-risk children and court-involved youth, children with autism, other special needs populations, and people in recovery. Visit their website for a complete list of outreach efforts.
“Our mission is simple and yet so powerful,” says Gooray.
About 1,200 to 1,500 metro area residents are involved each month in Project Yoga’s outreach efforts or regular classes at its Dickens Place studio. Gooray and Rebekah Holbrook, the president and a board member for the project, cite yoga’s transformative benefits to health and life.
“It’s bringing a healing and transforming modality to people where they are,” says Holbrook.
Project Yoga opened in 2010. Its instructors are ambassadors of sorts to particular populations. For example, it offers three outreach programs for low-income seniors. It offers chair yoga to older practitioners, which provides a stable support to a senior to use while exercising. “It’s been amazing to see the increased mobility of the seniors,” says Gooray. “It’s really magical.”
Project Yoga has worked with Aspree Adult Day Services clients for three years. Sessions are held weekly and help clients with mobility skills and in calming them, says Roxanne Allen, lead direct support professional for Aspree. “My clients love it,” she says. Allen adds that she was surprised initially at how the instructor adapted to client behaviors and how the clients in turn easily adapted and were comfortable with yoga instruction.
Gooray notes that the yoga classes for autistic populations provide multiple benefits. Learning breathing techniques helps with self-regulation for this group, and the classes give a point of connection with others.
“It’s a conduit, a bridge, to say, ‘We see you,’ ” she says.
A weekly roundup of health and medicine news
- Byrd Park is the setting Saturday for the third Richmond SpeakUp5K road race and festival. It begins at 9 a.m. and is family-friendly for walkers and racers. There’s also music and food, and strollers are welcome. It’s a fundraiser for the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, which seeks to promote awareness of anxiety and depression in teens and tweens.
- A device developed at Virginia Commonwealth University that tests eye movement as a diagnostic for Parkinson’s disease has earned a $1 million grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The grant goes to VCU’s schools of medicine and engineering to confirm that the device is accurate and that it enables physicians to make the diagnosis long before symptoms appear, according to Mark Baron, a professor of neurology and principal investigator.
- Mosey on up to Montpelier on Saturday for the annual Hoedown for Hope fundraiser for the nonprofit Wings of Hope Ranch. The event will be held at the ranch from 3 to 7 p.m. and will include music, games for children, a silent auction, a horse demonstration, s’mores over the bonfire and a barbecue dinner. Wings of Hope pairs children “who face conflict and challenges” with rescue horses, with a goal that the kids and horses will help each other love and trust again. The ranch is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Advance tickets cost $20 for ages 17 and older, $10 for ages 16 and younger. A family pass including game tickets is $60. Add $5 to admission at the gate.
- The Virginia Department of Health reports that about 80 Virginians have tested positive for hepatitis A apparently linked with consumption of strawberry smoothies from a restaurant chain, Tropical Smoothie Café, in early August. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, fever, nausea, jaundice, dark urine, light-colored stools, fatigue and loss of appetite. Symptoms may occur up to 50 days following infection.
- The American Red Cross wants you to give blood on Sunday to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Here are some of the local donation sites and hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at VCU Health, 1250 W. Marshall St., Suite 2-300; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at John Tyler Community College, 800 Charter Colony Parkway in Midlothian; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, 8220 Meadowbridge Road, MOB I in Mechanicsville; and 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Southside Area Chapter Office, 22 W. Washington St. in Petersburg.
- A program that provides low-cost health insurance to children and teens in Virginia is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The program, Family Access to Medical Insurance Security, has served 630,000 children, according to Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a release.