Salute the Sun for good causes

Yogis gather Saturday to raise funds for Wingspan, Odanadi
2013-05-16T00:00:00Z 2013-05-17T13:47:33Z Salute the Sun for good causesHannah Gaber Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

If you're going to do 108 sun salutations, you probably have a good reason.

Local yoga teachers Lisa Schrempp and Kate Donovan do. Two, actually. And community members are invited to join them.

Saturday marks the 10th year of "Project 108," a cause-driven outdoor group yoga event.

Schrempp started it in 2003 when she scheduled a group yoga practice for people who wanted to express their desire not to go to war in Iraq.

"We were kind of just doing it as a ceremony to the lord of yoga, Shiva, as a gift," Schrempp said. She says the number 108 is sacred, and offering sun salutations is a Vedic practice that can be in exchange for a request, or a simple act of praise.

"We really enjoyed it, and Kate was with me, and we did it again the next year." That was when they decided to make the events fundraisers.

Schrempp says the yoga gatherings are "available to everybody, whether they want to do the salutes or be a sponsor."

This year's event benefits Wingspan, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community center in Tucson, and Odanadi, a national and international organization that liberates and rehabilitates victims of human trafficking.

"We try to look for things that are timely," said Donovan.

She said Wingspan made sense with the current discussion of same-sex marriage and transgender individuals in schools in Arizona.

She said Odanadi also resonates after the recent escape by three women who were being held against their will for a decade in Cleveland.

Participants find sponsors who pledge an amount per sun salutation. Schrempp said she currently has four lined up.

While Schrempp says small pledges like a penny per salute are welcome, the event rewards participants who bring at least $108 with a T-shirt.

Schrempp says though the high count of sun salutations might sound daunting, once people get started, they often find it's not as hard as it seems.

"It is kind of a good challenge for some people," she said, "My mom, she's 78, and I think this will be her fourth or fifth time doing it."

So if you're interested in sharing the benefits of your yoga practice, and in taking part in a long-standing local activity, bring your mat and be ready to salute the sun on Saturday.

If you go

• What: Project 108: Yoga Stops Traffick

• When: 6 a.m. Saturday.

• Where: The east side of Himmel Park, 1000 N. Tucson Blvd.

• Information: Registration is not required. Yoga mat and water recommended. To download sponsor sheets and get more info, visit: www.facebook.com/Project108Tucson

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