This is a story from our longtime volunteer & Board Member, Suresh Srivinas. He dedicated his Christmas Day to the youth at Outside In, a local shelter offering Homeless Youth Services and Medical Services. **Names have been change to protect the identities of our clients.

Sam & the band of 5 were waiting for me, munching on the cookies which Carri, another Street Yoga board member, had sent.

“Those are for after class!” I exclaimed.

I was a few minutes late due to the blankets (more on those later). I started with an awareness exercise. First with the breath, adding sounds, and then thoughts, and finally other body sensations. Breath, sound, thought, body sensations, so it went for 5 mins.

Time for a check-in.

The kid’s diverse needs filled the room. Holding space, the class was emerging. One kid was asking for spinal work, another for better reaction, another had pain in the back, Iris needed to learn to relax, and Sam was well but his body sick.  I was giving them what they needed, as Patanjaliremarked, thus began a full hour of safe yoga practice.

We do this important work 52 weeks of the year, Christmas Day included.

We practiced volcano breathing, some twists, cats & cows working the spine. Next came some half & full sun salutations to honor the energy we receive from the sun.

We practiced being warriors.

We worked on balance targeting the quads & opening the heart. Pulse awareness followed. Time to slow down. We came down to a frog and practiced a soak get online & release with twists.

Relaxation followed with crocodile posture, watching the breath in a zen style repeatedly counting the exhales from 1-5. We folded into lotus and practiced the Relaxing breath of 4-7-8 for a few cycles. Finally it was time to sink to the earth. Another twist ensured.

We used a progressive deep relaxation of each body region while reminding theme that this state of relaxation was their birthright and available any time they need it.

The class was over, the giving continued. Iris inquired about my words regarding relaxation being our birthright, I quoted John Kabat-zinn: “We are human beings not human doing’s”.

I had 6 Gaim yoga straps packed in nice paper. Everyone got one. I could see the gratitude in the eyes and hear it in their words. I read the holiday greetings to the  kids from Carri & her children.

I shared with the kids that Carri’s daughter gave her allowance to support Outside In & Street Yoga. In addition, my friend Mina had worked hard to make 8 beautiful fleece blankets as gifts for these kids for the holiday. We were blessed with beautiful choices and everyone picked their favorite. One kid got a pink one with guitar, another had a beautiful leaf. Iris and I carried the rest and handed it to 3 more kids.

The day came to a close, but the giving continues and we care about these children and need your support to sustain and nourish this work. Thank you.

Our Goal is to raise $30,000 between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Every Dollar Matters.