Yoganna by the sea benefits Malama Pono

HANALEI — On the last Thursday of every month, practicing yoga can do more than promote your own balance, health and wellness.

It’s a chance to uplift others on the island as well through Anna Myers’ Yoganna By The Sea fundraiser class, located by the lifeguard tower near Pine Trees in Hanalei.

“Yoganna By The Sea is a very gentle kind of yoga class,” Myers said. “It’s mostly hatha yoga, but in today’s lingo, it’s a fusion class. I intersperse Pilates in the class and I make it safe for people.”

For the past five years, every Thursday has been dedicated to helping schoolteachers on the island get supplies for their class, but other organizations like Aloha Angels have done a great job with that goal.

“They have helped our schoolteachers so much and I needed to think of some other organization I could help,” Myers said. “I’ve been worried about women’s health services on the island.”

So, she’s set her sights on Malama Pono’s Women’s Wellness Program and is gearing up for her class on May 25.

“I think everybody’s always thought of them as doing HIV and AIDS work for people here on the island, but I found out about the women’s health services,” Myers said. “I think what they do is really good.”

Malama Pono offers a range of women’s wellness services including family planning and sex education, though it’s primary focus is HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases.

The organization expanded into its new location in the Kukui Grove Health Center, suites 205 and 207, in 2015 and with the new space, new programs were added.

The women’s wellness program was one of those, and another was the Fatherhood is Sacred class.

The suggested donation for Yoganna By The Sea classes is $5 and all of the money donated during the Thursday fundraising class will go to Malama Pono.

“Usually it’s around $40 or $50 every time, and it’s money no strings attached,” Myers said.

Class sizes have ranged from two people to 20 during the Yoganna By The Sea Thursday events, and students meet at the Pine Trees location at 8:30 am. for a walking warm-up.

“This is where my Western training comes in, since I’m a certified fitness trainer. I believe muscles stretch better when they’re warmed up,” Myers said. “Then I like to say we do stretching and breathing and smiling.”

The class is over at 9:45 a.m. and Myers suggests bringing a towel or mat for practicing on the grass and water to drink.

“There’s no Sanskrit and I actually weave some Hawaiian words into the practice,” she said. “It’s a joyful class.”

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