As many of our students know, I had the privilege of visiting Mae Sot, Thailand to visit the migrant children of Good Morning School and the surrounding schools that Erin Terzieff and BMWEC (Burmese Migrant Workers Education Committee) have been assisting for the last 6 years. The experience was extremely valuable and “eye-opening”. The children, ages 2-14, had music playing and a ceremony planned for our welcome visit. They were ecstatic about the visit from the Americans that included Erin’s husband, Darrell, the Tam family (who have been another consistent support to the cause), along with myself. Activities were planned daily including yoga classes and an “Iron Chef” competition for the older kids. The Iron Chef competition included budgeting for the meal, going to an open-air market to purchase all ingredients and actually cooking the food for competition. The kids were extremely motivated and surprisingly self-reliant, undoubtedly being the result of living in such a challenging environment.
The experience that stands out the most for me personally is the joy the kids had with practicing yoga. They were attentive, interested and tuned in. I taught mainly the 2nd and 3rd graders who were so focused and excited to be doing something different in their day. We did some more advanced poses such as pigeon and handstands. The handstand was the pose that brought many smiles and giggles in the room.
It was amazing watching Erin work with the kids and interact not only as a teacher but also as a community leader. She has definitely been an inspiration to me and the reason for my continued support of her work. It is important to remind ourselves that the global environment affects us all. The geographic distance should never be a deterrent in supporting each other in humanitarian causes and simply spreading happiness to all humanity.
4 - Year Anniversary Fundraiser Results
We are very pleased with the results of our fundraiser we held to mark our 4 years. Thanks to each and every one of you for helping make this one of Muse’s most successful fundraisers totaling $4,705! We would like everyone who missed the presentation to take a look at the short film documentary that was shown on Sunday. Please follow the link below:
One of our teachers at BYWV, Erin Terzieff, recently updated us on “Good Morning School”. This is the school for which we held our first fundraiser for Burmese refugee children.
Today at GM we went into more detail about the 7 systems of the body.
I got internet installed a couple days ago, so it was the first time we could use video to support the lessons.
The kids were fascinated by the video. We talked about how yoga and science work together.
Then I showed them video of a Bikram floor series demonstration.
It totally changed their postures. Seeing the postures done precisely.
It is really hard to teach, demonstrate, and correct at the same time, so the video was a great resource.
Within just a few days, everything has changed. I can't imagine how they will look by November.
By the way, they LOVE yoga.
Thank you so much Bikram Westlake Village for supporting Good Morning School. They have become such a confident group. Because of our investment and love, they feel they can do anything. And I believe they can.
Enjoy the photos!
LA Talk Radio Interview - June 2011
Mahnaz was again interviewed Thursday, June 23, 2011 by Sophia Venable of LA Talk Radio. Listen below:
Bikram Yoga Westlake Village held its 3rd year anniversary celebration on Saturday, April 16th. We had the honor of having a very special class with Emmy Cleaves, who is the most respected senior teacher in the Bikram yoga community. A 20% discount was extended on all packages with the additional incentive of donating 25% of all sales to aid in the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. We successfully raised $10, 537 from total sales and donations. Through some careful consideration, BYWV will donate the funds to Peace Winds America, which is the sister company to Peace Winds Japan who direct 100% of the funds to the Japan relief.
Peace Winds America (PWA) is a Seattle based NGO (non-governmental organization) focusing on natural disaster preparedness, mitigation and response. Their Japan disaster response is to raise relief funds for their sister organization, Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) who has been responding to this disaster from day one. Peace Winds Japan is one of the largest grassroots humanitarian relief organizations in Japan with more than 15 years of experience in serving people in need from all over the world.
Currently, Peace Winds Japan has been providing relief effort to Kesennuma & Minami Sanriku in the Miyagi Prefecture along with Ofunato & Rikuzen Takada in the Iwate Prefecture. As emergency relief, PWJ has distributed water, food, heaters, mattresses and blankets, sanitary items and baby necessities. Thirty-eight families in Ofunato moved into temporary housings and PWJ supplied all household necessities. They are planning on providing such materials to 10,000 families or more. For stories on more activities please visit: www.peace-winds.org (English page) or their facebook page which has more frequent updates and photos.
3 Year Anniversary
We recently celebrated three years in business. Thanks to everyone for your support! Here are some photos from our commemorative event.
LA Talk Radio Interview
Mahnaz was interviewed Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Sophia Venable of LA Talk Radio. Listen to the interview below:
The Stephen Christie Group "Best of the Best" Video Interview–March 2011
On Sunday, November 14th, Estela Rojas gave a flawless performance and ranked 3rd place at the Regional Championship. Photos of Estela can be viewed on www.usayoga.org. We are very proud of Estela and hope that she will inspire others to take the yoga practice to a new level. Below is her performance:
The Acorn Article - Oct 2010
Bikram Yoga Westlake Village was recently featured on the The Acorn's website. Read article >
We are very excited to announce our new floor in the yoga room. As always, we strive to have the best at Bikram Yoga Westlake Village and we hope you enjoy and appreciate the highest standard of flooring that we have installed. The flooring looks and feels like carpet but is unlike traditional carpeting. It is completely environmentally green and waterproof. The flooring was originally developed for use in hospitals and medical clinics which means that it is fully anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. Not only is the flooring hypoallergenic but unlike traditional carpet, there is no “off-gassing” or toxicity after installation.
In order to protect our new floors and for the benefit of everyone we would like all students to pay careful attention to the same guidelines:
Please bring only water inside the yoga room. Do not bring coconut water or colored liquids inside the yoga room.
Please come in with clean feet. Do not walk into the yoga studio barefoot (as we see some people come in from the parking lot). We have showers, so please rinse feet off before entering yoga room, if needed.
Please pay careful attention to proper line up for class. Since we no longer have our “T” markers on the carpet. Make sure mats are always half-way over the lines and please always accommodate people around you especially people lined up behind you. We would like everyone to be able to see themselves in the front mirrors.
Since we all share the space, we would like to take care of it and make it the most comfortable and clean environment for all students to enjoy.
Two Year Anniversary Event
We recently celebrated two years in business. Thanks to everyone for your support! Here are some photos from our commemorative event.
Fundraiser Update - Good Morning School
Letter from Erin Terzieff:
Hi Mahnaz and Bikram Westlake Students,
I just wanted to update you about my most recent trip to Mae Sot where I spent the month of January working with the students at Good Morning School.
I am happy to report that our students are doing very well. When I arrived they were preparing to take exams for the Thai Ministry of Education’s national test. Although, most schools in The United States have mixed feelings about Standardized Testing, in Mae Sot, it is a critical form of recognition for the Burmese students who are studying there illegally. If they have taken the exams, there is paperwork that documents their education.
This was a great opportunity for me to learn more about their approach to academics. It always amazes me to work with the Good Morning School students because they are inspired learners. They are in school against many odds, but they come with such strong and positive attitudes. They know they are smart and they are eager to learn more, and more, and more , and more......
After arriving at GM, we found out that a couple Third Grade boys were missing school and working instead. This lead to a school wide conversation about how to keep the upper grade (Third and Fourth) students in school, when they are faced with greater responsibilities within their homes.
The teachers and I organized several off campus school visits for our children to see middle schools, high schools, and even post-secondary schools for Burmese Migrants who are interested in continuing their education. These trips were so special. Some schools had libraries, computer labs, animal farms, sports areas, music and art classes. The children from Good Morning School were excited to see the options they have as they continue their education.
However, this brought about greater essential questions as well. Good Morning School is a Nursery through 4th Grade School. How can I ensure that as our 4th Graders graduate, they will have the opportunity to go on?
I will be starting a scholarship fund for the GM 4th Graders to attend 5th Grade. This includes transportation costs, uniform and books, boarding (if needed), and pocket change. Misty Rosas (one of our Bikram Teacher’s) and I have provided a scholarship for our first 5th Grade student and next year, we will have four more students graduating. So I will be sharing details around this in the near future.
Thanks again to Bikram Westlake for your support in building the Good Morning School Nursery. The children are utilizing every inch of it!
As part of a new lululemon promotion, I was chosen as their ambassador to pose for a magazine ad in LA Weekly (Oct. '09) and two billboards; One at Sepulvada / Santa Monica and the other at Olympic / Bundy. Additional photos can be seen in this lululemon facebook album.
Interview with Mahnaz - WomansRadio.com
I was recently interviewed for WomensRadio.com regarding my path to Bikram Yoga and ultimately opening a studio. Please click the play button on the player below to listen.
Fundraiser - Wilderness Conservancy
I would like to thank everyone who helped make our last fundraiser a very special and successful event. We managed to raise $1,723 to help Wilderness Conservancy. It was a very informative and challenging class taught by senior teacher, Emmy Cleaves, and helped support a great organization headed by Dr. Bob Cleaves.
Fundraiser Update - Good Morning School
Photos from Erin Terzieff's last trip to the Good Morning School on the Thai/Burma Border.
I am here in Mae Sot with The Good Morning School community and wanted to send a sincere thank you from all of us here. As a result of our yoga class back in May, we have been able to break ground and begin construction on the building extention. I, personally, am so grateful to my local community for supporting this important project.
Recertification with Bikram in Los Angeles, May 2009
Muse Elementary Fundraiser
This was a special fund-raising class for a program that one of our students, Erin Terzieff, works for. The program is with Muse Elementary which is a school that collaborates with international communities on the Thai/Burma border and in New Zealand that establish schools to foster mutual understanding and awareness globally. One hundred percent of the proceeds of this class went directly to rebuilding Muse’s sister school in Mae Sot, Thailand. The school works with Burmese refugee children living in Thailand.
ACT fundraiser at lululemon in Calabasas
Lululemon hosted an ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!) fundraiser to support ultramarathoners Shannon Farar-Griefer and Jorge Pacheco in their 24-hour run for autism. The second annual pre-run red carpet event was hosted by Tom Bergeron at lululemon athletica, featuring live entertainment by recording artists The Turn and Shawn Hlookoff, appetizers by Marmalade Café, and cocktails.