Living Yoga was founded by Sarahjoy Marsh in 1998 as a personal vision for social justice. Sarahjoy began with yoga classes for women in prison, but over her first three years of teaching, the program grew to include yoga classes for men in prison, for homeless youth, for drug and alcohol rehab programs (supporting adolescents and adults), and domestic violence shelters.
By bringing yoga into places where it was never before accessible, Living Yoga gave these students an opportunity to awaken to their humanity, heal their body, improve their self-esteem, and ignite the urge in them to then give back to others. Living Yoga helped students rekindle their sense of being a valuable part of a community. Sarahjoy also understood that being of service to others would transform the teachers, awakening them to their shared humanity with the students, increasing their personal sense of purpose, and offering the opportunity to be a part of a community dedicated to yoga and service.
With a handful of volunteers, Living Yoga became a 501(c)3 in 2002. Through service and volunteerism, our aim has been to transform lives, to connect community members working to heal and improve their own lives along with community members dedicated to service.
Throughout our 16 years of providing programming, we have broadened our target populations to include those that may later face incarceration if intervention and prevention tools are not provided, and we’ve increased our support for our students transitioning out of their mandated programs back into the larger community. Over the years, we have maintained long-standing partners such as Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, Minimum and Medium (2001), Central City Concern (2008), and Volunteers of America (2008).
Today we serve 20 institutions with over 30 different classes/week (more than 1500 classes/year) and have more than 110 active volunteers reaching more than 3100 students each year! We have a small staff comprised of four full-time members, and a volunteer Board of Directors who all work together to support and coordinate our programs.
While we have grown--and continue to grow--Sarahjoy Marsh’s original vision of yoga as a tool for healing and justice remains at our core.
"When students experience being truly seen by us, in their potential and earnestness, how they see themselves starts to change. When we help them shift how they see themselves, then how others see them will also shift." - Sarahjoy Marsh