‘We’re all in this together’: Okanagan yoga studio initiative warms those in need

Through donations, The Yoga Studio offers free coats to Vernon’s cold

For Vernon’s The Yoga Studio at Lotus and Lettuce’s yogis, the idea of karma yoga – the path promoting unselfish acts – is front and centre in their karma coats initiative.

Initially launched by Colour Time Ceramic Studio’s former owner, karma coats is a project that seeks to warm those in need by providing free outerwear during the winter months. Michellene Kandert, one of four partners behind The Yoga Studio, said they happily undertook that responsibility after a change of ownership at the Studio.

“We have this philosophy that we want to do whatever we can to contribute to help those in need,” Kandert said. “I know it’s not going to solve the problem. We have to take care of each other. We’re all in this together.”

Kandert – alongside The Yoga Studio partners Shawn McMann, Caitlin Pickett, Mandy Arora and dedicated yogi Brittney Kanugan – are at the helm of the project that sees between 20 and 30 coats per week. However, Kandert said, it wouldn’t be possible without the community’s support.

Related: Yoga studio embraces downtown

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“By and large it’s mostly donated,” Kandert said. “What we really want to establish for the studio is please don’t go out and buy anything for this. We also don’t want more for our landfills.”

Kandert said that those who wish to donate to karma coats are encouraged to instead leave behind second-hand clothing. Purchases from second-hand stores are also appreciated. Warm clothes can be left on the coat rack located outside the studio any time.

With the studio located in the heart of downtown on 30th Ave., Kandert said she often hears tales of downtown being unsafe due to the street-entrenched population.

“We’ve been here for two years, going on our third, and I’ve never felt unsafe,” Kandert said. “I don’t want to say that there aren’t dangers (downtown), of course, there are. I just want to say there’s good that happens there too.

“When I go out and see people take the coats, they’re so appreciative.”



parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

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