Karma Begins At OM
Ask Dana Trixie Flynn, co-founder and owner of Laughing Lotus, New York, the meaning of yoga and she’ll tell you that it’s community expressed. No small wonder that she conceived and brought into fruition yoga’s first annual Lotus Summit (June14th -16th)—a weekend in-house yoga retreat in which teachers, dedicated students and sundry lovers of the light can gather and soak in the timeless teachings of yoga as well as re-connect with old friends and snack on hearty vegan fare.
“There were so many great peeps we’d traveled with along the way,” Flynn said. “After fourteen years of so many beings coming through the center, it was just high time to call everyone home for a family reunion. It was time to link up.”
In the case of the Summit, this “linking up,” has emerged as the relationship between Lotus and Lineage Project: an organization that brings yoga and meditation to at-risk and incarcerated youth. This relationship, now manifest in the form of a Lotus-sponsored raffle benefitting Lineage’s myriad educational programs, was born over an idea Dana and I had one fateful lunch last year that has since become an essential component of the Summit—keeping a kid on a mat and out of the system. As my mother would say, “it’s a mitzvah.”
Indeed Laughing Lotus is no stranger to mitzvahs (aka karma yoga). Both Dana and Jasmine Tarkeshi, co-creatrix of Lotus Flow, with Dana, and owner of Laughing Lotus San Francisco, are ardent believers in the notion that vinyasa is queen, community is guru, and karma is God’s glitter— thus Love Saves the Day, an initiative Jasmine conceived that donates the proceeds of certain specified classes to a monthly roster of charities.
“Jasmine took consciousness into everything we did so that other beings could be happy and free,” Flynn said, reminiscing about the Center’s early days on Christopher Street in 1999. “That was her top priority. That we extend our arms in a big way to organizations we believe in, raise awareness and heal and serve the world.”
Talk about putting your money where your month is! By picking a New York yoga charity, in this case Lineage Project, and holding a raffle rather than a more exclusive auction-type scenario, Dana and I felt we could involve both the entire Lotus community and local vendors in an endeavor that would make fundraising fun while helping kids find inner peace. And what yogi worth their weight in Lulu Lemons wouldn't wanna shell out a mere ten bucks a raffle ticket for amazing karma swag like that? Answer: no one. Tickets are already pre-selling like vegan hotcakes!
Here’s why: I called in Annie Mulgrew (another Lotus teacher) Lisa Merkle (a Lotus devotee) and we put together a cadre of raffle bags jam-packed with goods and servicesincluding privates with Lotus teachers and unlimited memberships to Laughing Lotus all valued at over $500.
Seems everyone in New York wants to help the Lineage kids to learn yoga and meditation including Completely Bare, Broadway Dance Center, Evolution Through Fitness, Barry’s Bootcamp, Nicole Miller, Hyde, Lois Hill, Tao, Broadway Dance Center, Benefit Cosmetics, The Ainsworth, Heartland Brewery, Pure Food and Wine, Glowing House, Tiklari, Clark’s Botanicals, Cecilia Wong, Gotham Tan and l'Âge de Thé. The price of the raffle tickets? A mere $10! A pack of twelve? Just $100!
Since the Summit is a sexy, souped-up celebration of everything Lotus Flow, regularly scheduled classes are suspended in lieu of specialized workshops, lunches and lectures on a range of topics from inversions to injury prevention to loving your body temple. What’s more, Lotus alum and beloved teacher Kate Duyn Cariati (now of Exhale) is flying in from Los Angeles to share her inspiring teachings.
Students can sign up and pay for either the full weekend pass ($325); the Friday Toolbox Intensive ($125), Friday Night Mash-Up DJ-ed by Lotus’ own DJ Essence ($30); Saturday all day including kirtan with Sean Johnson ($140), just the kirtan ($30 in advance/$40 at the door); Sunday all day including Closing Celebration with Lotus Temple Dancers ($140), just the Lotus Temple Dancers ($30).
Since Lotus has also up and gone app-tastic, raffle tickets are now on sale for everyone—not just Summit attendees or Lotus students— either at the good old fashioned front desk or through the Laughing Lotus APP. The product is called Lineage Summit Auction for a single ticket and Lineage Summit Auction Bundle for a pack of 12 tickets. Summit passes for the weekend can be obtained by contacting Lotus directly.
When I asked Dana about what it meant to give the gift of yoga by supporting the Lineage Project, she paused and said, “Just like you can’t imagine a yoga class without breathing, you can’t imagine yoga without touching another person’s life. This is what Jasmine meant by giving and transforming. This is what it’s all about. This is why we do it.”