As the 15th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I have been thinking a lot about passion, purpose, and causes. I truly believe that fitness & philanthropy go hand in hand. I have said before - one of the most incredible aspects of discovering a passion for fitness, are the diverse, talented, and illuminating people I have met. One such person is Emily Stone. I think it is fitting that this week to kick off September, we highlight someone who is trying to make a difference by combining her passion for fitness with her desire for impacting lives. Read below my Q & A with this dynamic woman.
Meet my friend and fellow fitfam tribe member Emily Stone. Emily and I met at Barry’s Bootcamp, where we immediately bonded on all things sweat. As we got to know each other, one thing was clear: we both wanted to channel our abundant energy into meaningful causes and use our workouts as a platform for connectivity and change. It seemed simple: Here was a room full of people we knew. Couldn’t we get them to sweat for a cause or to sponsor us to do the same?
SusanSweats: I see that the event you’re doing is called Seva with Flava: Barry’s Cares for Lineage Project. What’s Seva and can you tell me a little about your event?
Emily Stone: Seva—pronounced “say-vah”— is a Sanskrit word that means selfless service. In ancient India, seva was thought to evolve spiritual growth and build/deepen community. In terms of this event, I wanted to do something experiential that would involve a community getting together to sweat and have fun while raising funds for Lineage Project. Plus, we are also having a party afterwards with cookies and cocktails.
S: That sounds fun! What’s your workout history? How did you come to Barry’s Bootcamp?
E: I don’t want to put a time on it, but I’ve been working out since Spandex was invented. In my heyday, which was the nineteen hundred and eighties, I was the KWEEN of high impact aerobics. This was when I developed a few repetitive stress injuries which I then cemented into full-fledged injuries when I became a marathon runner in the nineties. Then I became a yoga teacher.
S: Why yoga, what changed?
E: My body. Don’t get me wrong, I still workout, as you know. I go to Barry’s and SLT, only I do both mindfully. I think I started to focus on the word impact in a different way. As in, what impact am I making in the world as opposed to what impact will this class have on my body and how skinny can I get which used to be a huge focus for me. I began to be more mindful of what my actions had on those around me. I started thinking more about privilege and what it means to have it and not have it. That’s when I became aware of Lineage Project.
S: Can you tell me about Lineage?
E: Lineage Project brings mindfulness programs to incarcerated and vulnerable young people to help them manage stress, build inner strength, and cultivate compassion and non-violence. Lineage serves kids who are homeless, behind bars, suspended from school, and otherwise in great need.
S: Wow. Do you teach for them?
E: No. I’m on the board of the organization and I mostly fundraise which sometimes feels like filling an ocean by crying into it. That said, I’ve spent a lot of time at Horizon, a detention center where we teach in the Bronx, and I’ve seen the effect of the mindfulness practices on the kids there and it motivates me to keep going. These practices keep them from getting into fights, help them to sleep better at night and feel less nervous when they have to go up in front of a judge, which court-involved youth actually have to do a lot more than you think.
S: So why a bootcamp class for a mindfulness organization? Wouldn’t it make more sense to do a yoga class?
E: The million-dollar question! For one, Barry’s is my home. Secondly, I wanted to introduce the fitness community to Lineage Project. I mean, there has to be a meaning to the hashtag fitfam. This is where the ol’ impact comes in. What IMPACT are we having as we do what we do? I love my boutique exercise classes as much of the next gal, but every now and then, I take a holy moment to take action and get together a posse of like-minded individuals, aka a fitfam, a raise the roof for a cause that’s meaningful. The idea is to get involved with something. To take action. Barry’s has a program called Barry’s Cares. So they’re already practicing seva. I guess seva’s like working out, once you carve out the time for it, and you start seeing the benefit, you never look back!
Attend the 9/17 Seva with Flava: Barry's Cares for Lineage Project Event!
Barrys Bootcamp Noho
Saturday September 17 at 5:45p + live DJ
Goody bags, cocktails & tasty snacks afterward!
Buy event and raffle tickets here.
Or sign up at: http://www.barrysbootcamp.com/noho/buy-classes: Click on MVP tab.
Bio: Born in New Orleans and raised in Brooklyn, Emily Stone is a writer and yoga teacher living in New York City. Books include: Did Jew Know? A Handy Primer on the Customs, Culture & Practice of the Chosen People (Chronicle Books); Visvamitrasana: Volume I of the Sage Series (Inflextion). Currently, she’s writing a young adult novel.