Mariposas Take on Yoga


By Abby Melick, long term volunteer

Under a canopy of almond trees, standing one-legged in tree pose, are a group of Mariposas, finding their breathe. Yoga has finally found it’s permanent home here at the Mariposa Foundation.

This spring, thanks to the helping hands of multiple visiting volunteer groups, we were able to complete a long-time dream: the construction of a beautiful, recycled yoga deck. Made from repurposed wooden pallets, the yoga deck has already become a cherished space here at the Center.

Twice a week, a phenomenal local instructor from Puerto Plata-- Lorena Medina Bournigal-- comes to the center to teach yoga classes to our oldest girls, with a focus on the 7th and 8th graders. Lorena’s position is made possible by the sponsorship of a group of women from the “Yoga Effect” project, who, after taking an interest in the Mariposa mission, donated countless mats in addition to the platform funds.

While classes have been occurring since the beginning of the year, the brand new, sustainable platform has enhanced the Mariposa yoga experience tenfold. In the open air, with the blue sky and whispering spiderweb of leaves up above, mindfulness and peaceful reflection are easier to access. In a typical class, the girls do Sun Salutations to warm-up, stretching their hands up and then flowing skillfully into the classic poses-- Downward Dog, Baby Cobra and Child’s Pose, to name just a few. Some of the girls have already become true yoga masters, capable of twisting limbs and focusing breathe into the most advanced of poses.

But yoga isn’t the only thing the new platform has been used for! To inaugurate the addition, our annual Earth Day celebration was held here. Theater and musical performances, a Robotics demonstration and a recycled materials fashion show found their way across the stage at the end of April, to the cheers and applause of Mariposa friends, family and supporters in the crowd. A yoga presentation was the grand finale, with the Mariposa yogis demoing the skills and moves they’d learned throughout the semester.

The space has also been used for relaxing reading time with the youngest Mariposas, dance parties with the visiting volunteers, and as a quiet writing space for the 9th and 10th graders’ Honors Writing Workshop.

Yoga has the power to relieve stress, increase energy and support mindfulness. Our fantastic yoga program and new platform are wonderful examples of what your generous donations look like in effect. Thank you for making this place of peace a reality!