There’s No Place Like Om: Yoga and Charity

Yoga devotees will participate in a broad effort to generate positive energy and raise money for New Jersey charities.

Photo by Ed Lara/Courtesy of Global Mala-NJ.

Yoga devotees will converge on the new Newark Schools Stadium this month to channel energy from good food, soothing music, and 108 sun salutations into raised awareness of healthy and sustainable living practices—all while raising money for New Jersey charities.

The September 23 event is part of the Global Mala Project, a worldwide initiative based on the premise that, when people move and breathe together, they generate positive energy, resulting in what organizers call a “symbolic mala of peace.” (A mala is a set of beads used by Hindus, Buddhists and yogis in meditation.)

Yoga may not cure the world’s ills, but it seems to have brought some good vibes to Newark. When Global Mala-NJ started five years ago, it attracted 82 participants to a local Portuguese social club, says organizer Debby Kaminsky, founder of Newark Yoga Movement, a nonprofit that brings yoga to Newark school children. Last year’s event brought out 550 people; Kaminsky expects to double that this year.

The event promises free massages, goodie bags and a special area for kids. Among the high-profile yoga enthusiasts striking poses will be Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and ex-con-turned-motivational speaker Earl Best, aka “The Street Doctor.”

A related event, Yoga Festival by the Sea, will take place the same day on the Asbury Park boardwalk. In Newark, the gathering is scheduled for 9 am to 3 pm; doors open at 8:15 am. Suggested minimum donation is $27 for adults, $5 for children. The Asbury Park event runs from 8 am to 2 pm; admission is $25.
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