Jacqueline Ellis has been involved in fundraisers with her yoga studio

Yoga combines well with karma

Westshore studio owner sees value in community giving

Jacqueline Ellis is celebrating 10 years of yoga, and 10 years of fundraising.

The View Royal resident and owner of Bikram Yoga West Shore in Colwood said one of the best things about being out here is being surrounded by people who are so willing to put community first. That commitment is what drives her efforts, including a weekly yoga session called the Karma Class.

“A lot of people can’t afford a lot of things these days. Financially people are pretty tapped out,” Ellis said. “If someone comes in and has nothing, we are not going to turn them away. This is a way to give back.”

The Karma classes are run by an experienced instructor and admission is by donation, all of which goes toward causes that have included BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Baby Molly Campbell and family and KidSport.

Notably the funds raised went to help one of their yoga students, Subha Gill.

“(Subha and I) were both students at Bikram’s Yoga for six or seven months before pain started in her leg and she wasn’t able to do a lot of the poses anymore,” said Gill’s mother, Jeevan Sohi. “It was Jacqueline that recommended one of her chiropractors to see Subha. Through that we were able to find that she had bone cancer.”

Being diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a painful cancer similar to what claimed Terry Fox, forced the UVic student to pull out of school and begin chemotherapy five days before her 20th birthday. Six months in, their doctor said there was nothing more they could do.

“When you are going through something as devastating as watching your child die in front of you, you tend not to think about anything else,” an emotional Sohi said. “(But) there was a lot going on with people helping make sure (we were taken care of) and bringing food … I was not able to acknowledge some of that, because of what was happening.

“I love being out here; I feel the community is wonderful. There are so many things the West Shore community is known for and it is very a close-knit community.”

That support included a financial contribution from the Karma Class and a yogathon at the local studio. The events helped raise more then $2,000 for the family’s expenses, including medication for Gill as she endured the challenging cancer treatments that eventually left her bedridden. Ten months after being diagnosed, she passed away on June 25, 2012.

“It was really unbelievable how people came into our lives who we had briefly met or didn’t know at all … It was very overwhelming for us,” Sohi said. “I remember Subha saying when she got better she was going to repay everything everyone did for her. It just never (got better).”

Sohi keeps her daughter’s spirit alive by giving back the way the community rallied around her family, as her daughter fought for her life. In all, she received more than $20,000 from various fundraisers, but Subhi passed away so quickly they only used $1,500. The rest was earmarked for an annual $2,500 Spectrum Community School dance scholarship in Gill’s name. In addition, every year Sohi and her family donate and serve a lunch at Our Place in downtown Victoria on Subha’s birthday.

The Karma Class at Ellis’ studio also continues and the long-time yoga practitioner said she is always on the lookout for more causes to support. She never has to look for long, because those who take the class brings ideas to her. With more than $20,000 raised over the 10 years the studio has been in business, Ellis looks forward to seeing that giving trend continue.

“We are a yoga studio and don’t make a whole bunch, but it is part of being being able to give back,” she said. “A lot of our students are volunteers, so they are already (community minded) and seeing the need and finding the ways to fill it. We do our best to help.”

Bikram Yoga West Shore, 201-2657 Wilfert Rd. off Wale Rd., hosts their 10-year anniversary celebration this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 19-20) with free classes, door prizes and more. For more information visit bikramwestshore.com.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Police-run Youth for Change and Inclusion camp bids fond farewell to tireless directors

Founder Sgt. Paul Brookes has run camp empowering youth and creating leaders for 16 years

Canadians not afraid to take the plunge for the second time

Most will wait almost five years before remarrying

John Cleese sets fall date for Victoria return

June show sold out, comedic actor returns Nov. 4

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Pacific FC signs 24-year-old defensive midfielder from Panama

González joins the roster following the team’s 2-2 tie game against York9 FC.

VIDEO: Horseshoe pitching association appeals to Greater Victora youngsters

Youth horseshoe pitching club offers fun for all ages, says GVHPA

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Most Read