Lakewood's Pink Lotus Yoga Studio Kicks Off Community Outreach Endeavor With "Bend for Beck" Celebration On September 29
For Marcia Camino, there’s more to yoga than going to class to exercise and relax. The owner of PinkLotusYoga (PLY) in Lakewood firmly believes that the practice of yoga ultimately is about fostering a sense of community, not just within the four walls of her studio but in the surrounding neighborhood at large – through outreach and involvement.
That’s why Camino is sponsoring “Bend for Beck,” a fundraiser for a local nonprofit arts organization, on Saturday, Sept. 29 at her studio. She will kick off Bend for Beck by teaching two donation-only yoga classes -- a Gentle Yoga session from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by Amrit Yoga at 10:15 a.m to 11:15 a.m. A studio open house and reception will follow these classes from noon until 4 p.m.
The open house will feature a silent auction and raffle with artwork and goods from local artists and businesses. All proceeds benefit the Creative Arts Therapies programs at Beck Center for the Arts, the leader in comprehensive arts education in Northeast Ohio.
When Camino, who became a certified and registered yoga instructor in 2004, opened her studio at 18103 Detroit Ave. in December 2011, she didn’t want to have her own space to just teach students a wide variety of yoga styles; she also wanted a place where people could come to grow, connect and build awareness with each other and the world around them.
“Every yoga studio has a mission to build a community,” Camino says. “I wanted that sense of community to extend beyond my students’ yoga mats. Practicing yoga isn’t about the time you spend in the studio. It is about involvement and mindfulness in every aspect of life.”
Camino, a Lakewood resident for the better part of a decade, practices what she preaches. Over the years, she has held a number of special fundraiser events aimed at benefiting different non-profit organizations, including the Cleveland Foodbank, Edna House and even her Detroit Avenue neighbor, Lakewood Congregational Church and its Youth Homeless Awareness Sleepout.
What’s more, for the past five years, even before she owned her own studio, Camino has encouraged her students to take alternative transportation to class– walking, biking, carpooling, public transit – instead of driving. She calls this “Pink Goes Green” and has offered incentives to those who participate.
Working and living in a city where bicycling plays a major role in daily life, Camino was thrilled when the city of Lakewood last year began an intensive public process to build a strategy to make Lakewood the most bike-friendly community in Ohio through its BikeLakewood master plan, which includes installing bike racks near businesses throughout the city. So thrilled, that she commissioned -- with the city’s blessing -- Cleveland 3D metal sculptor David Smith to create truly unique bike racks for installation in front of the PLY studio.
Smith, a self-proclaimed yoga addict, met Camino seven years ago in a yoga class at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. She was his first yoga teacher, and he was one of her first yoga students. When he initially started practicing yoga, Smith says he suffered from debilitating neck problems. Since then, Smith has pursued a consistent yoga practice, following Camino to her various teaching locations over the years. He credits regular yoga with healing his chronic neck injury.
“I truly believe that yoga does wonders for the mind, body and spirit. The disappearance of my neck problems are testament alone to that,” Smith says.
At noon, as part of PLY's Bend for Beck fundraising event, Smith will join Camino and local officials in dedicating Big Pink Yoga Dude and Yoga Dude Junior, the studio’s two new bike racks. Named by the artist, these sculptures are sure to be conversation pieces, thanks to their size and eye-catching hot-pink color. The dedication will officially open the racks for use by all bicyclists in Lakewood.
Smith says that as Camino’s long-time student and friend, he not only is one of her biggest supporters of her yoga business but also of her community outreach efforts, which is why he designed the “Yoga Dudes” bike racks for her.
“I wanted to support Marcia’s good work at her studio and in the community. The bike rack and the fundraiser were logical ways to help,” says Smith, who has turned his passion for metalworking into a career over the past 12 years. “Lakewood already has some notable works of public art, so we wanted to contribute with bike racks that added to the city’s unique character. Big Pink Yoga Dude and Yoga Dude Junior will be sure to turn heads.”
The dedication is one of the highlights of the studio’s first public event in its new PLY Outreach Endeavor program. Following the dedication, the studio will host an open house and reception until 4 p.m., which includes a silent art auction featuring 24-inch replicas of Smith’s yoga bike rack sculptures, known appropriately as Little Yoga Dudes, as well as artwork from other local artists. There also will be a raffle with donations from studio students, friends and other local businesses as part of the fundraiser. Camino invites the community to drop by for any or all of the day's activities.
“Bend for Beck is just the start of Pink Lotus Yoga’s active and ongoing involvement in Lakewood, the west side and the greater Cleveland area and even beyond those borders,” says Camino. “It officially kicks off our new PLY Outreach Endeavor. Each month we’ll select one non-profit organization to raise funds for in the studio.”
According to Camino, this monthly effort will be modest, ranging from a “Change for Change” donation box set up in studio where students can make cash donations, as well as special, donation-only classes, where proceeds will go to that month’s designated charity.
Bend for Beck will be one of two larger fundraising events the studio hosts each year. The next will be in the spring and will focus on Harvest for Hunger, Camino says.
“We have exciting things on the proverbial drawing boards,” she says. “Keep an eye on Pink Lotus Yoga. You won’t be disappointed with what we offer – both on the mat and in the community.”
For more information about Pink Lotus Yoga Studio, visit www.pinklotusyoga.com. For more information about Beck Center for the Arts, visit www.beckcenter.org.