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How does our yoga follow us off the mat?

Maha Community,

A few weeks into quarantine I heard from a longtime friend that a queer friend of ours had died by suicide in her home. She was sheltering in place alone in the Bay Area (rest in peace, Finley Kipp). Finley used to live in my neighborhood here in Philadelphia, and in fact her house at 50th and Baltimore was where I used to stay when I came here to visit in my early twenties. 

That’s when I fell in love with West Philly, where I now live. 
Last month, Maha instructor Alan Foran got word that a trangender friend of theirs had died by suicide, quarantined alone in Washington, D.C (rest in peace, Elena Hochkeppel).

While these events were not surprising to me, they are absolutely, utterly devastating. As a queer woman, I have buried more young friends who died of drug overdose and suicide than I have fingers on both of my hands. 

LGBTQ+ youth are five times more likely to die by suicide than heterosexual youth. These rates skyrocket even higher if a kid is rejected by their family of origin, as well as when they endure verbal or physical harassment by their peers. 

This crisis is affecting all of us deeply, yet the most vulnerable among us bear greater hardship. 

I feel so helpless about this, and because I’m in such a supportive bubble here in Philly, I sometimes forget how dangerous it still is to be a queer kid.

The Attic is an incredible, independent organization just a few blocks away from Maha that support LGBTQ+ youth. LIke Maha, they are offering programming online and continuing to support their community during the Covid-19 crisis.

I am excited to announce a dual fundraiser to generate funds for the operating expenses of both Maha and The Attic. As Maha struggles to pay our expenses (June revenue is way below our fixed expenses), we recognize that there is simultaneously an urgent need to support those with less privilege and resources.

Join us for this fundraiser on Sunday! I’ll be teaching an hour of all levels, accessible yoga. Haley Purdy will follow with an hour of Yoga Nidra (called ‘yogi sleep,’ a guided meditation that relaxes the entire body). 
Donations will be split 50/50 with the Attic. Registration is open here, and is offered on a sliding scale. $25-100 suggested donation, with no one turned away for lack of funds. Reply to this email if you want to register for an amount different than those offered in the software.

I’ve set a bold goal to raise $7000 total so we can give The Attic $3500 and make a meaningful impact. Generous donors are matching donations up to $2000! 

Can’t make the workshop but still want to contribute? Thank you! Venmo your donation to @mahayogastudio with PRIDE as the note and we’ll throw it into the pot. 

I’ll report back next week and let you all know how much we as a community were able to contribute. I am so grateful for your support, and using our yoga to affect tangible, meaningful change in the world. 

Love, 

Justicia