Yoga for Liberia

10711134_10152459630314811_4362849391058415129_n Six months ago Liberia, a country already suffering from poverty and lack of food, received more bad news: lab tests confirmed multiple cases of Ebola, an epidemic that has now killed almost 3,000 people and counting, according to the United Nations’ health agency. This Friday, Dara Harper, a yoga instructor at the Wacheva Cultural Center and wife of Newhouse professor Ken Harper, will host two yoga classes in Newhouse 1’s Miron Room (room 303). Professor Harper has built relationships with people in Liberia over the past six years through his project Together Liberia, which empowers Liberians to share their stories through training, equipment donations, and relationship building. People who attend the yoga classes are encouraged to donate $10 or more, all of which will go to the Harpers' friends in Liberia.

“It’s heartbreaking to think about what people all over the world endure. These people are now much closer to my front door,” Dara says. “This gives us a way to extend our reach past our norm.” One question Dara will address in the hour-long yoga classes, which start at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., is this: What is bliss? Following mythologist Joseph Campbell’s definition of bliss, Dara sees bliss as a way of being useful to both yourself and the world around you.

A typical Liberian makes only $1.50 per day. These classes present an opportunity for students to contribute money that will go directly to those suffering in Liberia, giving them more money for food. “Hundreds of dollars will make the difference of life and death for some people,” Dara says. “There are people who are not only dying—they are starving while they are dying.” The $15 you’re thinking of spending on that shirt at the mall will go so much further in the hands of a Liberian looking for food.

“It’s entirely cruel what this disease is doing. It makes you suffer,” Dara shares. The Ebola outbreak has forced Liberians — who normally greet one another warmly with handshakes, slaps on the back, high-fives, and friendly embraces — to suffer alone, out of fear of contracting the disease, which is spread by contact with bodily fluids. They may not be able to reach out and shake one another’s hand at the moment, but we can reach out and make a difference in their lives from an ocean away.

What: Yoga for Liberia

When: Friday, Sept. 26, at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Where: Newhouse 1, Miron Room (room 303)

Why: to attend a kickass yoga class and donate money to those suffering in Liberia

Suggested Donation: $10

Accepted Payment: cash, credit, debit, check, and PayPal

Additional Information: no prior sign-up required; walk-ins welcome

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