Yoga enthusiasts, and those interested in giving it a try, gather round for this year’s Central Alberta Yogathon taking place in City Hall Park in Red Deer.
The annual event is partnering with the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation for the second year in a row to raise funds for the youth of Central Alberta impacted by mental illness.
The endowment fund set up in the name of Lindsey Moore was done by her family after she lost her battle with mental illness and took her own life.
Shannon van Parys, one of the organizers of the yogathon and executive assistant with the event’s sponsor Stantec, said the loss of Lindsey was felt throughout the community of Red Deer and surrounding areas.
The Smiles Thru Lindsey endowment will fund local youth programs meant to educate youth and help prevent similar tragedies from occurring.
“When the yogathon found out about the foundation, it was just a natural match to work together,” van Parys said.
Yoga is a natural stress reliever. Many people turn to yoga as a form of release for whatever is bothering them.
The yogathon is a “natural tie” to the foundation.
“Yoga is often recommended to people as a natural way to manage problems in life, its not just about fitness. It creates a better mindset as well,” said van Parys.
The four hour yogathon will be a family-friendly event, with all ages and yoga experience welcome to participate.
The organizers are even considering having a children’s area set up for the younger participants to learn the flow of yoga in a different environment.
Van Parys says to not be intimidated by the term “yogathon” as you don’t have to be an experienced yogi to participate.
“It’s really just an opportunity to try something new and fun in a beautiful environment,” said van Parys.
She also added those participating are not expected to go through the entire four hours of yoga on full blast.
“It’s not a race, if you need to stop and take a break, then take a break.”
The success of last year’s yogathon made the organizers reach out to Stance to help make it bigger and more accessible to the community.
The organizers of the Central Alberta Yogathon wanted to make the event something that involves the entire community.
While also reaching out to more people, the organizers have set a fundraising goal.
Last year, the event was a little more informal and raised $2,500. This year the goal is to raise $15,000.
The money raised through the yogathon will be donated to the Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation.
“Every little bit helps. There is a gap is in programs available to youth suffering from mental illness, we want to see that help is made available,” said van Parys.
According to van Parys, for young people and their families it is sometimes hard to navigate the programs available to them.
She hopes the money raised will help those in need find the guidance and help they need.
“There are a lot of great programs available, but sometimes it can be daunting and frustrating trying to navigate through them,” she said.
Participants have two options in helping the event get to its goal.
The first is to register for $35. With just a registration, the participant will be treated to all the same things as anyone else.
Registration will include a participant gift, four hours of yoga and refreshments.
The second is to take pledges from friends and neighbours. Participants who raise more than $200 in pledges will have their own registration fee waved.
“The yoga will be doable by everyone, but challenging enough to be worthy of taking pledges for it,” said van Parys.
It is expected there will be over 100 yoga enthusiasts at this event, which will be lead by 10 local yoga instructors.
The Central Alberta Yogathon will be held at the City Hall Park in Red Deer on Aug 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“The outpouring of support we have gotten thus far has been just incredible,” van Parys said.