On September 30th, Elizabeth Rossa and Elena Brower will be rolling out their yoga mats and asking you for more than just a perfectly-balanced tree pose. They’re asking you to give your yoga at a benefit for Women for Women and the Urban Zen Foundation, designer Donna Karan’s do-gooder retail and social change organization.
Rossa was inspired by an agonizing personal battle with a development-hungry landlord that ended in the shuttering of Shriyoga’s beautiful studio on Greenwich Street. She left her entire investment behind and relied on the generosity of friends and neighbors to offer classes in donated lofts.
Then, she met Zainab Salbi, the founder of Women for Women, an organization that provides women survivors of conflict with tools and resources to move from crisis to stability. “She was asking us to help, as a global community, to put these women back on their feet so they could serve their families and rebuild their communities,” Rossa remembers. “And I personally knew what it felt like to have openhearted, generous people reach out and help me rebuild and restructure Shriyoga.”
Rossa decided to team up with fellow NYC yogi Elena Brower to help Salbi’s cause. Their charity event, Give Your Yoga, will be an evening of yoga and music (provided by Garth Stevenson) benefiting Women for Women and the Urban Zen Foundation. Instead of Versace gowns and Armani suits, think yoga pants.
The night costs $100—a small price to pay for a night with uber-yogis Rossa and Brower (who will also be celebrating her 40th birthday) and to make a difference for women around the world.
“As New Yorkers, we already have a sense of unity and outreach, in some instances more than any other city that I have visited,” Rossa says. “The yoga practice has become popular because of its unifying effects, and this benefit is another beautiful opportunity to come together, find center, and find the courage to keep giving.”