The Hearts for Haiti fund-raiser featured eight UAF Yoga Club instructors who volunteered their time for the three-hour event. Copyright 2011 Cheryl Hatch

It had been more than a year since the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. It was off the media radar, except for the expected it’s-been-a-year-since-the-quake-and-people-are-still-suffering stories. Nancy Tarnai, public information officer, University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, wanted to do something to make a difference.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, Nancy, a member of the UAF Yoga Club, created “Hearts for Haiti,” a three-hour yogathon at the UPark Gym to raise funds for AMURT HAITI, a non-profit organization that has worked in Haiti since 1988. AMURT HAITI strives to help Haitians help themselves, offering programs for women and children, including one that teaches yoga to young children.

Nancy Tarnai and her son, Alex, collect $30 individual donations from participants before the yogathon. The club raised $1200. Copyright 2011 Cheryl Hatch

UAF Yoga Club instructors pose for a fun group portrait before the start of the three-hour yogathon and fund-raiser, Hearts for Haiti. The instructors volunteered their time. Copyright 2011 Cheryl Hatch

Donna opened the session with 20 minutes of centering and warm-up. Tracy did a 20-minute session on flow/salutations and reminded everyone to send love and light to people in Haiti. Lisa offered 20 minutes of standing poses. Shanti lead back-to-back 20-minutes sessions. The first focused on standing balance poses followed by a demanding core side arm balance series.

UAF Yoga Club instructors Lisa, from left, and Kara and participants do a tree pose. Copyright 2011 Cheryl Hatch

Maya led the group through a series of forward bends and back bends. Morgan gave a session on twists. Kara introduced partner poses, featuring ways to use the weight and support of a partner to deepen stretches and open tight spots. Jody finished the yogathon with savasana/meditation/chanting.

Kara and Jody demonstrate a partner pose, the sun (Kara)/moon pose, near the end of the three-hour yogathon fund-raiser. Copyright 2011 Cheryl Hatch

The event was a joy and a success. We spent an afternoon opening our hearts, minds and bodies, in fitness, fellowship and connection to our global community. And we raised $1200 for AMURT HAITI (100 percent of the funds were donated.)

Congratulations and thank you to all the people who volunteered their time and energy.