27 Aug Practice for peace: yoga and food
Beyond Green recently participated in the Chicago Kids Yoga Festival held on August 17th, 2014. This was a daylong event hosted for free at the Garfield Park Conservatory. The main visionary behind the event was Jen Robertson who managed (with the help of many supporters) to get tons of likeminded locals under one roof.
When we first saw the schedule we knew the event would be fun for adults too. There were musical performances, free yoga classes, and pyrotechnics. It didn’t disappoint.
Beyond Green set up shop as part of the Mindful Business Expo. It was great to hear from others in the community working to spread wellness and health. Many organizations are coupling yoga with healthy eating or gardening for an all-encompassing impact.
The cutest story we heard was from Yoga Gardens, a non-profit that offers yoga classes and a garden for growing and utilizing food in impoverished Chicago neighborhoods. One leader told us they thought 3 kids were coming with them to the festival, but at the last hour a slew of others came running up to the van with signed permission slips before it left. They were a lovely, energetic group outfitted in green shirts reading Namaste.
I Grow Chicago is another organization with a similar mission. They focus on inter-generational connections and provide a safe place for children to interact with the rest of their communities. They host events at different locations that span yoga, the arts, sustainable farming, workforce development, and mentorship.
These are both great organizations bringing fresh food in some of Chicago’s food deserts. Hear more about the areas impacted by a lack of fresh food options via WBEZ’s why does South Shore still not have a grocery store?
We met two ladies who are running afterschool yoga workshops for students and parents: Blissfolds and Reddy Set Yoga. They’ve both thought of ways to incorporate food into their service whether it be in providing a meal or conducting a workshop around local food businesses. These programs are really engaging young kids, and we were impressed with how many little ones could hold their own in complicated yoga poses. Ah, the benefit of youthful flexibility.
Kids stopped by our table to decorate watering cans, and we were able to hear from students and parents about their schools’ food programs—what they like and what is not working.
Breaking from our table for a moment led us on a winding journey to various education and yoga rooms stationed throughout the conservatory. Outside, we passed an urban education garden before descending upon an open field of noise and motion. Yoga practice and drum circles. It was lovely, although we did not get to stay for the fire. Who knew Chicago hosts a regular Full Moon Fire Jam?—Fun!