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May 31, 2019

A Philly nonprofit increasing yoga accessibility and inclusivity

Roots2Rise offers free and donation-based classes in public spaces and low-income neighborhoods

Nonprofits Yoga
roots2rise community yoga Photo courtesy/Roots2Rise

A Roots2Rise indoor community class at Dobbins Technical High School.

It is well known that most individuals can reap great rewards from the practice of yoga — both physically and mentally. However, there are some barriers that can restrict all individuals in a community from the experience,. Namely money.

Roots2Rise is a local nonprofit that seeks to overcome this barrier by providing free and donation-based yoga classes throughout the Philadelphia area — with a focus on those who may not have access to our city’s luxurious boutique yoga studio scene.

To wit, the organization contracts yoga instructors from diverse backgrounds, including social workers, trauma specialists and educators.

RELATED READ: Free yoga series at LOVE Park announced

Here’s more about Roots2Rise:

Mission: “There's an unfortunate stereotype that exists around who yoga is "for" -- i.e. thin white women of a certain socioeconomic status. But these practices can be really profound and everyone can benefit from them,” explains Roots2Rise Community Programs Director, Maria Flaccavento.

“At Roots2Rise we feel it's our responsibility to deconstruct the stereotype and expand access in meaningful, sustainable ways. Everybody deserves that,” Flaccavento, continues.

Impact: Roots2Rise offers weekly classes in public spaces — with all equipment provided —including Free Library branches, Parks and Recreation facilities and even in Philadelphia schools. In 2018, the nonprofit held over 700 free or low-cost yoga classes, many of them offered through organizations such as Lutheran Settlement House, the Support Center for Child Advocates, and Pathways to Housing.

roots2rise outdoor yoga Photo courtesy/Roots2Rise

A Roots2Rise yoga class taking place during their Parks on Tap 2019 series.

“Whenever possible, we work with other nonprofits or similar organizations in the city to offer more wide reaching, available wellness offerings — for example, teaching alongside Get Healthy Philly initiatives, presenting at the Faith and Spiritual Affairs Conference: Health Justice, partnering with the Rail Park to offer a new Spanglish yoga series, and more,” Flaccavento adds.

Plus, all donations and funds raised by the organization are used to support their year-round programming providing accessible yoga for all Philadelphia residents.

How to get involved: Roots2Rise will be offering donation-based community classes at the following locations in Philly all summer long: Skyline Series on the roof of the Parkway Central Free Library Branch (Saturdays, 10 to 11 a.m.), Spanglish Yoga at the Rail Park (Tuesdays, 6 to 7 p.m.), Happy Hour Yoga with Parks on Tap (Thursdays, 6 to 7 p.m.), and Yoga on the Manayunk Bridge (Sundays, 10 to 11 a.m.).

However, the organization’s reach spans to more locations than that. Check out their full list of programming here

You can also chose to simply donate to Roots2Rise, without participating in one of their yoga classes here

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