A full moon illuminated Bliss Living Yoga’s rooftop terrace in George Town on Wednesday evening as yogis centered their minds on chilled-out beats and supporting a charitable cause.

The evening’s practice, led by teacher Manuela Izaacs, paid homage to India, where fundraisers hope to establish a 100-person shelter for survivors of human and sex trafficking near New Delhi’s red light district.

The Yoga Medicine Seva Foundation has partnered with anti-trafficking groups Her Future Coalition and Rescue Foundation to launch the shelter this year.

Ms. Izaacs aims to raise US$5,000 toward the organization’s US$100,000 goal. Proceeds will provide health checkups, vocational training, food, clothing and rehabilitation services to women and children at the facility.

“India is really where this practice originated from and I owe so much to this practice. I feel it is really fitting to give back to this nation that has given so many of us in the West so much,” Ms. Izaacs said before Wednesday’s class.

She encouraged the 27-student group to extend its focus beyond the evening’s practice and look to a larger world of possibilities.

“I always say to my students, the hardest part about being a mindful person or a yogi isn’t actually when you’re on your yoga mat and doing these shapes and poses. The hardest work starts when you leave your yoga mat and you get faced with things that are challenging,” she said.

“As a yogi, it’s important for me to take what I preach and I what I cultivate on the mat and take it with me into my life and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”

Ms. Izaacs shared troubling human trafficking statistics from the Yoga Medicine Seva Foundation with the class. She said India has the highest number of enslaved people in the world, an estimated 18 million. The foundation estimates 400 women and children go missing every day in India, many of whom end up in human trafficking.

Once the class began, Cayman’s Collin Bodden, known as DJ Royal, offset the grave statistics with a backdrop of smooth beats, fit for an evening of meditation.

“Tonight I will be spinning some music to get everyone in an eclectic mood. Music changes moods, so that’s what I’m here for, to make sure I captain how everyone is feeling emotionally,” he said.

“Yoga is about letting go and also becoming one with yourself, so [I chose] a lot of low tones, music that has a bass drive but not too many words. It’s more feeling and instrumentals that are grooved for that kind of evening.”While DJ Royal had never spun for a yoga class before, he is already planning to return to Bliss for another night of fundraising.

Ms. Izaacs still has more than US$4,000 left to raise, and hopes to team up with the DJ again. Wednesday’s class brought in US$600.

“We’re just going to move and groove and celebrate what we have and the fact that we live in this beautiful place where we are able to help others,” Ms. Izaacs said.

Those interested in donating can visit the Yoga Medicine page on www.crowdrise.com.

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  1. Wow, it feels great to see the West acknowledge the contributions of India in terms of yoga. Ms. Izaacs seems like a great teacher who is doing a great job. I recently teamed up with a yoga teacher training center (https://spiritualpunditz.com) in Rishikesh and will surely spread the word about Yoga Medicine Seva Foundation. Keep rocking, guys!