On & Off The Mat – A Yoga Blog

by Christy DeBurton

 

On a beautiful November morning four volunteers from Yoga Serves and the Michigan Mountain Biking Association joined up to trim back the trails at Barton Nature Area one last time before winter. It was a lot of hard work for only 4 people, and we were exhausted afterwards, but we got the job done! (Check out my Fitbit stats below!) Here’s to hoping next time we get some more volunteers! ;)

 

Click on pictures for a slightly larger view.

 

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Growing Hope’s mission is to help people improve their lives and communities through gardening and healthy food access. On March 13, Yoga Serves volunteers completely cleaned out a hoop house at Growing Hope whose name is “Kathy.” They removed many cinder blocks and planks of wood, and then carried 8 wooden planting stations in. Kathy is ready for the spring planting and we hope to set up another volunteer opportunity with Growing Hope in May to do just that! If you are interested in helping out, please join us. Details for this and all upcoming Yoga Serves projects can be found at http://www.yogaroomannarbor.com/yoga-serves.php

 

 

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Food Gatherers reached its goal of collecting 200 tons of food at Rockin’ For the Hungry during our Yoga Serves’ shift this past Saturday! A big thanks to our 5 hardy volunteers: Maggie, Cathy, Carissa, Megan and Carole!

 

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Five Yoga Serves volunteers spent this past Saturday afternoon out at Tilian Farm Development Center, helping two new farmers (of Arbor Hills Farm) get their greenhouse ready for planting. We spent a few hours preparing the soil to be tilled by weeding and picking up rocks. Although it was physically demanding and might not sound like that much fun, the time went by quickly while we enjoyed interesting conversations with the farmers and our fellow volunteers, and the work was actually quite meditative.

 

Dan and Katie, the new farmers, are planting a variety of vegetables and herbs for sale through their CSA, as well as at the Westside Farmers Market this summer. They’re also planting vegetables for juicing and even plan to do some pickling and canning of produce. We are hoping to be able to help them out again with some of these activities later this season. The 3 hours of manual labor that we put in just to get the soil ready for planting sure gave me a greater appreciation for how much hard work goes into the food I eat! Thank you Jen, Kelly, Gayle and Tristan for your time and effort!

 

Click on the pictures below to see a slightly larger version.

 

 

 

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Thanks to the eight volunteers who came out for our Annual Earth Day Project, sprucing up Hollywood Park next to Abbot Elementary School!  We picked up trash and cut down invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle, then took a nice walk through the woods with our Natural Area Preservation leader and headed back to The Yoga Room for a delicious vegetarian potluck brunch!

 

 

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For our annual Earth Day project this year, 10 hardy Yoga Serves volunteers (plus a toddler and The Yoga Room’s mascot, Annie the dog) came out on a chilly but sunny Sunday morning to help out Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation by planting some native fruit trees at Virginia Park and doing some general clean-up.  We were told that our pear and apricot trees should start producing fruit in the next 2-5 years, so we look forward to checking back then to see if we can enjoy a tasty snack!  Thanks Anne, Steve, Jerry, Colette, Colin, Lisa, Mallory, Linda and Bill for all your hard work! Mike Levine of Nature & Nurture donated the trees, and he said that this had been a dream of his to plant them in his neighborhood park.  We’re happy we could help that dream come true!

 

 

 

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How often do you volunteer for any kind of community service work?  A recent study published by the Corporation for National and Community Service showed that only 26% of Americans volunteer.  I heard someone say recently, “If you are privileged enough to be living a good life–blessed with a job, food on your table and a roof over your head–it is your responsibility to give something back and help those who have not been as fortunate as you.”  I agree.  As Americans, many of us forget how good we have it.  Even when our job is less than ideal or the place we’re living isn’t our dream home, we have it way better than the much of the world.  We need to remember that maybe we’ve got it pretty good–and for those to whom much has has been given, much is also required.

 

One easy way to give back right here in our own community is to get involved in Yoga Serves, a volunteer group made up of yogis and yoginis from around Ann Arbor.  The beauty of Yoga Serves is that it’s up to you how often you volunteer.  There is no real time commitment or obligation.  Each month we take part in one or two community service projects–things like serving dinner to the less fortunate at the Delonis Center, salvaging food at the Food Gatherers Warehouse, sorting hats and gloves for low-income kids in our public schools and repairing trails in our local parks.  If that month’s project fits with your schedule, sign up and come help out.  It’s only a few hours of your time at most. If it doesn’t work with your schedule, check the web site for next month’s project.  Just show up when you can and give a few hours of your time.

 

If you’re interested in getting involved, please join us for our next vegetarian potluck where you can sign up for upcoming projects and share ideas for new projects.  We’ll be meeting this time at the Ann Arbor School of Yoga on Sunday, October 27, 2013, 5-7pm.  The food is always delicious, and it’s a great way to meet others who share similar interests.  If you can’t make the potluck, check the web site page here to see what service projects are coming up and contact us to get involved. 

 

 

 

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Thanks to our Yoga Serves volunteers Catherine, Christy, Bill, Colette, Rachel, Anne (not pictured), Joanne (not pictured) and Christina (not pictured) for helping out at The Home Grown Festival Saturday evening!  We had a busy but fun time checking IDs and selling tickets at the ever-popular Michigan beer & wine tent!

 

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For Earth Day this year, Yoga Serves tackled a couple projects at Bandermer Park: re-building a washed-out section of trail and pulling and cutting down invasives.  Thanks to the big group of volunteers who came out, we get the jobs done quickly and had lots of fun in the process!

 

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The Education Project works to ensure Washtenaw County students in homeless and temporary living situations enroll, regularly attend and succeed in school. Every year, they work to supply winter gear for families who don’t have the money for such items or who are moving abruptly and often, so may lose them. Yoga Serves members helped sort a collection of hats and gloves to send out to all of the schools to distribute to students in need.

 

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