Thursday, June 29, 2017 This Week's Paper

Salute the Sun at Yoga Relay Event

Tacoma’s only non-profit yoga studio and healing arts center will be holding an outdoor fundraiser June 23 not only to raise money for their free community programs, but also to welcome the sun during these weeks of summer’s eve.

Samdhana Karana Yoga, or SKY Yoga, is holding this second annual Sun Salutations Relay in Wright Park in order to accommodate the maximum number of people, given last year’s very successful inaugural relay that attracted a good-sized crowd. Teams ranging in size from two to 10 people (individuals can participate too) will complete 108 yoga positions known as sun salutations in relay style, taught by various yoga teachers from multiple Tacoma area yoga studios. The relay is suitable for beginners and experienced yogis alike. Participants can register at and start collecting pledges to raise funds for SKY’s ongoing outreach programs that provide free and reduced cost yoga classes to underserved populations both in the studio and in communities.

Sarah Casto is president of the SKY Yoga board of directors. She said the studio has two current outreach programs and two in the works. Through the Madison Family Literacy Program, a partnership of Tacoma Community College and Tacoma Public Schools, SKY Yoga executive director and instructor Kate Fontana works with primarily Latino women in movement therapy and yoga. And through New Tacoma Apartments, which is for low-income seniors over 60, Fontana teaches yoga to classes made up mostly of Vietnamese speaking students.

A couple of programs in the works include partnering with American Lake VA Hospital to help returning soldiers with PTSD and other ailments, and another program SKY hopes to begin soon at a local low-income counseling center.

In addition to these programs, SKY Yoga offers free yoga classes open to the community every Saturday, and all classes at SKY are on a sliding scale basis to expand affordability and the studio’s outreach to help spread the benefits of yoga to the whole community.

“SKY is a come-as-you-are studio,” Casto said. “Yoga is for anyone and you can use it to better your life no matter your physical ability. It’s about opening that up for all people,” she said about SKY’s mission.

The Sun Salutations Relay kicks off at 11 a.m and runs to 3 p.m. Mats will be provided, and participants and their family/friends are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets to sit on, and also their own refreshments. SKY will provide the instructors, music and the encouragement. Completing all 108 sun salutations takes an average of three hours, according to Casto.

“Sun salutations can be different depending on the style of the teacher,” she said, noting that the relay will include both difficult and easier yoga positions. The relay will be held come rain or shine.

Those who wish to donate to the fundraiser can visit and click on “donations” under the “mission” tab. There, you can either choose a team to sponsor or make a general donation the studio.

SKY Yoga is located at 3014 6th Ave. For more information, call (253) 254-6157.