A little karma goes a long way
What goes around, comes around. Or so they say.Taking that idea to heart and applying it to their small business, Tanya Paul and Alaina Reichwald, co-owners of the Bikram Yoga Truckee studio, came up with a unique way of spreading some much-needed funding around to local and international groups, nonprofits and individuals in need karma classes.We wanted to raise money for a specific organization, and we didnt know how to do that, Paul said. So we came up with the idea of the karma classes last year when we originally bought the business.Every business in town gets hit up all the time by organizations that are trying to raise money, so were always giving out gift certificates and things like that. But we decided we wanted to do something else, she said.So every Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m., the studio opens its doors to yoga students who pay a minimum $5 donation to take an otherwise normal 90-minute Bikram yoga class, and all proceeds from these special classes are collected and donated to the group or cause the studio has chosen to support that month.At this point, the studio has raised a total of $4,258 since the start of the program in April 2004, and has raised money for groups ranging from the KidZone Museum to the International Red Cross tsunami relief fund, Tahoe Womens Services and READ Nepal. The latter is an Incline Village-based nonprofit focused on building libraries and supporting literacy and education in Nepal.Its been amazing because the community has the chance to come out and do some yoga and give themselves a gift, and then at the same time be able to help out people in our community, Paul said. Paul said she has been amazed and encouraged by how popular the karma classes have been so far, and she added that the studio is currently looking for other nonprofit or charitable groups that would be willing to work with the studio to raise money via karma classes.Its been truly a win-win situation, said READ Nepal Executive Director Reanne Stack. Both for us, because they raised funds for us and gave us exposure, and conversely because I think there are about four people I can think of who came to them [initially] to support Read Nepal and are now enrolled in their program… So its a phenomenal thing that they are doing.Stack said once the studio designated March 2005 as their month, her organization publicized the fund-raising opportunity via their Web site, e-newsletter and by word of mouth, and ended up with record turnouts for the Tuesday evening classes.All who work helped the studio raise $817 for the group, according to Paul, and also raised awareness about the nonprofit organizations mission within the community.
Proceeds from the April 2005 karma classes went to the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe and all funds raised this month will go to support the family of Truckee resident Claudia Diaz. Diaz, young mother of two boys, ages 7 and 5, was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.Paul heard about Diaz through her children, who go to class with Diazs eldest son. According to Paul, her kids teacher sent a letter home with them explaining Diazs situation and her kids wanted to do what they could to help.My kids asked about it first. They went and got their piggy banks and said We want to help. Paul said. And I thought, if they want to help then not only do I want to help but I need to help. And everything seems to fall into place for a reason because at that point we were trying to figure out what the May karma class was going to be.Paul said she hopes that the May karma classes will set a new record in terms of the amount of money raised, and she hopes that the awareness generated by the classes might help Diaz and her family in other ways.So often you read an article in the newspaper or you read a story in a magazine and you think God, I wish there was something I could do to help. And now heres somebody living right here in our own community … and now is our chance to help.