As I walking into the airport last night, I was quickly reminded of a special event from just a few weeks earlier. I was on my way to NYC for a camp that I had been planning for months, with individuals I had never met before, and in a location I had never been. We had all come together for one goal: to bring the experience of (Bikram) yoga to a group of veterans. What came out of that weekend surpassed our wildest expectations and, I can safely say, was a life changing experience for me personally.
This camp was sponsored by Team Red, White & Blue, an organization that Rule29 has had the wonderful opportunity to not only work alongside over the past few years, but also GIVE back to. (In fact we just launched their new site!) We’re huge supporters of Team RWB’s mission – to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. The camp was a prime example of their efforts to further this mission. It took place between Sept 22nd–24th with over 30 veterans and civilians attending from 10 states – one even coming as far as Germany. For some this was their first experience with yoga and/or Bikram yoga, which was the foundational style of the camp. During this 3-day camp, attendees participated in workshops, classes and a variety of social activities with fellow veteran and local community members. We had over a dozen instructors including renowned Rajashree Choudhury, the Founder and President of USA Yoga who assisted her husband, Bikram Choudhury, in creating the highly successful Teacher Training Program.
The most amazing part of this experience was the collection of stories that were told throughout the weekend. In fact, the story of the camp’s origin is quite interesting in and of itself, but one for another time. Barry Peterson (a Bikram yoga instructor, West Point grad, and veteran), the amazing Jane and Jake Kartsch (owners of Bikram Yoga Bronx), and I had been going back and forth for months working on how we can create an impactful event. That Friday evening, we all met each other for the first time. Barry had flown in from Reno. Nikki (another Bikram yoga instructor), JJ Star (filmmaker) and myself flew in from Chicago. Soon, camp attendees started to trickle in, followed by lots of hugging. That’s when it really hit me. This weekend wasn’t just about yoga, it was about bringing people together. Read the rest of the entry >