For Marcia Camino, there's more to yoga than going to class to exercise and relax. The owner of Pink Lotus Yoga (PLY) in Lakewood firmly believes that the practice of yoga ultimately is about fostering a sense of community, not just within the four walls of her Lakewood studio but in the surrounding community at large – through outreach and involvement. That is why Camino is sponsoring "Bend for Beck," a fundraiser for a local nonprofit organization, on Saturday, September 29 at her studio. All proceeds benefit the Creative Arts Therapies programs at Beck Center for the Arts.
When Camino opened her studio at 18103 Detroit Ave. in December 2011, she didn't want to have her own space to just teach students a wide variety of yoga styles; she also wanted a place where people could come to grow, connect and build awareness with each other and the world around them.
"Every yoga studio has a mission to build a community," Camino says. "I wanted to bring that sense of community to extend beyond my students' yoga mats. Practicing yoga isn't about the time you spend in the studio. It is about involvement and mindfulness in every aspect of life."
Camino, a Lakewood resident for the better part of a decade, practices what she preaches. Over the years, she has held a number of special fundraiser events benefitting a number of non-profit organizations, including the Cleveland Foodbank, Edna House and even her Detroit Avenue neighbor, Lakewood Congregational Church and its Youth Homeless Awareness Sleepout. What's more, for the past five years, even before she owned her own studio, Camino has encouraged her students to take alternative transportation to class– walking, biking, carpooling, public transit – instead of driving. She calls this Pink Goes Green and has offered incentives to those who participate.
Working and living in a city where bicycling plays a major role in daily life, Camino was thrilled when the city of Lakewood last year began an intensive public process to build a strategy to make Lakewood the most bike-friendly community in Ohio through its BikeLakewood master plan, which includes installing bike racks near businesses throughout the city. So thrilled, that she commissioned -- with the city's blessing -- Cleveland 3D metal sculptor David Smith to create truly unique bike racks for installation in front of the PLY studio.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, at noon, Camino, Smith and local officials will dedicate Big Pink Yoga Dude and Yoga Dude Junior, the studio's two new bike racks. Named by the artist, these sculptures are sure to be conversation pieces, thanks to their size and eye-catching color – opening the racks for use by all bicyclists in Lakewood.
Smith, a self-proclaimed yoga addict, met Camino seven years ago in a yoga class at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. She was his first yoga teacher, and he was one of her first yoga students. When he initially started practicing yoga, Smith says he suffered from debilitating neck problems. Since then, Smith has pursued a consistent yoga practice, following Camino to her various teaching locations over the years. He credits regular yoga with healing his chronic neck injury.
"I truly believe in that yoga does wonders for the mind, body and spirit. The disappearance of my neck problems are testament alone to that," Smith says.
He adds that as Camino's long-time student and friend, he not only is one of her biggest supporters of her yoga business but also of her community outreach efforts, which is why he designed the "Yoga Dudes" bike racks for her.
"I wanted to support Marcia's good work at her studio and in the community. The bike rack and the fundraiser were logical ways to help," says Smith, who has turned his passion for metalworking into a career over the past 12 years.
"Lakewood already has some notable works of public art, so we wanted to contribute with bike racks that added to the city's unique character. Big Pink Yoga Dude and Yoga Dude Junior will be sure to turn heads," Smith adds.
The dedication is part of the studio's new PLY Outreach Endeavor – recognizing the work of Smith and other local artists, as well as featuring the goods and services of other local businesses as part of a fundraiser to benefit Lakewood's own Beck Center for the Arts' Creative Arts Therapies programs, with the intent to help support programming at this unique creative and performing arts center.
Camino, who became a certified and registered yoga instructor in 2004, will kick off "Bend for Beck," this special day of community outreach by teaching two donation-only yoga classes:
? 9 to 10 a.m., Gentle Yoga
? 10:15 to 11:15 a.m., Amrit Yoga
The Noon dedication will be followed by a studio open house and reception until 4 p.m. The day's activities will also include a silent auction of 24-inch replicas of Smith's yoga bike racks, known appropriately as Little Yoga Dudes, as well as a raffle featuring donations from studio students, friends and other local artists and businesses. All proceeds will benefit Beck Center for the Arts' Creative Arts Therapies programs.