We are so grateful to all our friends, supporters, teachers, and community members who came out to our friend-raiser event last week in Wyckoff, NJ, with special guests The Karma Monkeys. We had so much fun with all of you. We hope you enjoy this slide show of photos taken by professional photographer Erika Kao. Thank you, Erika!
Our program of the month for June is Family Connections!
Family Connections is a non-profit community-based counseling and family service agency. Every day, they help children, adults and families transform their lives for the better through the provision of innovative counseling, skill-building, training and prevention services. Their goal is to serve the complex needs of their communities, which includes early childhood social and emotional development, adolescent development and safety, trauma, mental illness, addiction, unemployment, poverty, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect.
Since 2015, Kula for Karma has been serving children ages 2-8 at Family Connections who have significant emotional and behavioral challenges. Our instructors over the years have made a real difference for these children who struggle with such difficulties as impulse control, history of abuse, delayed development and serious defiance. We are grateful to have such a passionate team of patient and energetic instructors to help spread Kula’s mission to such a special population (including our Teacher of the Month for June, Yukiko Murai).
ユキコ ／ Yukiko Murai（村井由起子）
Yukiko has moved back and forth three times between Japan and the U.S. in the last 15 years. Having given birth to four children, she knows more than anyone else how Yoga can assist and support women before and after childbirth. She started teaching “Pelvic Adjustment Yoga” with a wish to help as many mothers as possible. She has earned RYT200, and is a certified trainer of Yoga Ed. Kids Yoga, Maternity Yoga, and Pelvic Adjustment Yoga.
Yukiko has taught kids yoga (3 to 13 years old) at nurseries, preschools and elementary schools in Japan and the U.S. since 2010.
She has led Teacher Trainings of YOGAed (http://yogaed.com/), and has taught kids yoga at Family Connections since January 2016. Her focus is to teach mindfulness through breathing and centering. Thank you for all you do, Yukiko!
Join us at Athleta's Flatiron location in NYC for a special yoga class and shopping event to benefit Kula for Karma, with yoga teacher and program director Yuliana Kim-Grant.
This powerful class combines classic Vinyasa with an emphasis on alignment and breath to achieve Ananda/Bliss and Freedom in both body, mind, and spirit. Yuliana believes in creating a safe space for her students to explore, to take risks, and to play in their practice in the hopes of providing a transformative experience for everyone from the beginner to the advanced yogi.
Thursday, June 22
6:00pm to 8:00pm
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Nyack Hospital’s mission is to provide competent, innovative and accessible emergency and acute care services to the residents of Rockland County and surrounding areas. Kula’s relationship with Nyack Hospital started in spring 2016 when we launched their first weekly Yoga for Oncology program. Seven months later, we launched their first Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis program. We are very excited to celebrate our one-year anniversary with Nyack Hospital, and are looking forward to a very bright future!
Yael’s earliest memories of yoga was when her older cousin told her all about the ashram he was living on, much to the concern of older family members. Shortly after, her high school history teacher handed her a copy of “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass saying he thought she would love it. This began a lifelong study of Yoga, Sufism and Kabbalah, guided by a passion to find the common ground of different spiritual traditions.
Yael has a rich background in fine arts, dance movement therapy, core energetics and special education. She says, “One of the wonderful things about being a yoga therapist is that it lets me draw on my extensive and varied experiences to create practices that are tailored to the profound needs of my students. I see yoga as a practice that aligns the body/mind with the deepest knowing of self. I’ve learned that the body never lies and by listening to its wisdom we can gain access to our purpose, passion and presence.”
Yael has been teaching yoga since 2003. She received her 500-hour certification in yoga/yoga therapy from Yoga Mountain and studied Yoga and Ayurveda with Dana Slamp at Prema Yoga Therapeutics. She is a certified RYT500 with Yoga Alliance and a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) with the International Association of Yoga Therapists .
Her classes are gentle, deep and playful. She combines alignment, learning the measure of our bodies, fluid movement, breath and inquiry to find strength, focus and ease. “I want to share the love, joy and healing found in yoga with my students so they can find a greater sense of authenticity, connection and well-being in their lives.”
We are thankful and inspired by all you do, Yael!
We are proud today to unveil our new Kula for Karma logo and tagline: “Discover the Heart of Therapeutic Yoga.” Our updated brand identity signals a renewed focus for Kula for Karma as we celebrate our 10th year.
We engaged award-winning NYC-based brand strategy and marketing firm Wasabi Rabbit to develop the new identity. While our name remains the same, our new brand identity reflects the outcome of months of strategic soul-searching and a renewed sense of clarity about our mission.
“Kula for Karma has always been a nonprofit organization driven by volunteerism and a desire to give back to those most in need of therapeutic yoga,” says the organization’s founder and President, Geri Topfer. “That spirit isn’t easy to quantify or express in communications because it’s really about love—it’s something that comes from the heart. The new brand identity created for us by Wasabi Rabbit captures that spirit beautifully.”
Executive Director Penni Feiner adds: “This is a banner year for Kula for Karma. Nobody else was really doing this when we started the organization 10 years ago. Now we’re at a turning point as we reflect back on the things we’ve accomplished in the last decade, and look ahead to what we want to accomplish in the next decade. Wasabi Rabbit helped us get strategic clarity about our mission, and gave us a brand identity that reflects that. It’s an exciting and modern new face for Kula for Karma at a pivotal moment in our evolution.”
“The visual and verbal elements of the brand were created to work together,” explains Dennis Hunter, Kula for Karma’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “At the center of the logoform is a heart, radiating outward with warm, earthy colors into an icon that evokes the idea of a lotus flower, a traditional symbol of yoga, life and healing. At the same time, the tagline also refers to the heart, and emphasizes Kula for Karma’s pioneering leadership in the field of therapeutic yoga.”
Today’s reveal of the new brand identity is the opening salvo in a year of celebrations that will culminate with Kula for Karma’s 10th annual Gala, in November 2017. Planning for the Gala is already underway, and sponsorships are available for both individuals and institutions.
Stay tuned for more news about this year’s Gala. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media channels to keep up with day-to-day news about Kula for Karma. And sign up for our email newsletter here on the web site!
We look forward to connecting with you soon!
Geri Topfer, Founder and President
Penni Feiner, Executive Director
Our Program of the Month is Care Plus NJ!
Care Plus NJ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, recovery-focused mental health and substance abuse services. Services are offered on a voluntary outpatient basis to adults and children. There are a total of 23 sites, including three outpatient centers, ten residential facilities, offices at three local hospitals, and seven community offices, which make their services convenient to clients located throughout Northern New Jersey. Since 2010, Kula for Karma has been offering chair yoga to the clients at the main headquarters outpatient center in Paramus, NJ. Our instructors over the years have shared with us that clients seem very receptive, and even empowered by the weekly yoga classes. The Kula team has created an atmosphere of safety and respect in the classes, and the staff at Care Plus say: “Kula for Karma cares about the needs of this population. The clients are very grateful to be able to take yoga conveniently at our site (Care Plus in Paramus, NJ) without being judged or charged a fee.”
With programs still going strong after seven years, Kula is proud to continue offering therapeutic yoga at Care Plus NJ. Learn more and help us expand our programs here: http://www.kulaforkarma.org/programs/
The physical and psychological benefits of therapeutic yoga, meditation, and stress management are well-documented in medical literature. We created this infographic to summarize just a few of the benefits we observe in students participating in our Kula for Karma programs. Feel free to download and share the infographic to help spread the word about the healing power of therapeutic yoga.
Our Volunteer of the Month for March is Deirdre Treitler!
Deidre Treitler (RN, BSN, RYT) has been teaching Hatha Yoga since 2004. She began teaching Yoga at Holy Name Medical Center, where she has been employed as a Registered Nurse since 1997. Deidre has integrated holistic and complimentary therapies over the past 20 years in her work with patients and clients in psychiatry, pulmonology, oncology and cardiology. She currently teaches a gentle yoga class for cardiac and pulmonary patients as part of the stress management component of rehabilitation. She also co-authored, and was the primary investigator, in a research study evaluating the effects of Hatha Yoga on perceived stress and quality of life in phase 2 cardiac rehabilitation patients. This research is presented in the article, “Evaluating the Addition of Hatha Yoga in Cardiac Rehabilitation,” published in MEDSURG Nursing Journal this month: http://www.medsurgnursing.net/
“When I first heard about Kula for Karma, I immediately wanted to jump right in and work with the underprivileged, and patients with multiple medical needs,” Deirdre says. “I have always believed that the practice of yoga should be available to everyone, free of charge, and that yoga is preventive and rehabilitative medicine. It took a few years before my schedule allowed me to join Kula, but it happened, and the perfect fit for me at Care Plus opened up! My experience with the clients at Care Plus is unique. The clients suffer from a wide variety of mental health issues, in addition to other comorbidities. I love the strength these clients exude! This population is unique in their ability to be completely honest. They say what they feel, they say what they think, the filters are gone, no nonsense, just sheer honesty. Every week I witness great kindness, love, dedication and so much compassion for one another in this group! I feel blessed to be able to teach, and to learn from this population.”
We are truly proud and grateful for the work you do, Deirdre. Thank you!