“Some of the most important lessons kids learn happen at a desk. Some happen on a yoga mat.” While this phrase may seem a bit bizarre, like most things that are out of the ordinary, if you take a deeper look, you may discover something enriching and completely extraordinary.
The above statement was coined and publicized by Bent on Learning, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 that is committed to teaching and integrating yoga into as many children’s lives as possible, hoping to increase their confidence, help them feel more relaxed and allow them to assume better control over their emotions. The organization aims to educate these children on the arts of yoga, right in their classrooms, where most of their other learning takes place.
On Wednesday, May 29, Bent on Learning hosted their Annual Spring Fling Benefit at French-Vietnamese restaurant Indochine in Noho. The night was a conglomeration of fashion, philanthropy, art, entertainment and health personalities who joined forces to raise money to support Bent on Learning’s endeavors. Guests included Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Julie Henderson, an avid practitioner of yoga herself, as well as fashion designer Biphu Mohapatra, philanthropist Di Mondo, gallerist James Danziger and fitness and yoga gurus David Barton and Kristin McGee.
The night was hosted by maternity lifestyle expert and founder of Mama Glow, Latham Thomas and the event was DJ’d by Thomas’ 9-year old son DJ Fulano who graced the audience with classic tunes by artists such as The Sugar Hill Gang and Kanye West and provided Bent on Learning founders Anne Desmond, Courtney McDowell and Jennifer Ford with tunes to kick off the party and celebrate the event’s success. Guests enjoyed fantastic cocktails as well as some of Indochine’s signature dishes and hors d’oeuvres, like the summer rolls and seared tuna.
The benefit also consisted of an auction of Art on Yoga Mat in which 14 yoga mats, all donated by notorious artists such as Agnes Barley, EJ Camp, Jessica Lichtenstein, Jonny Detiger and Stephanie Hirsch, were auctioned off to raise money. New York-based photographer Roberto Dutesco‘s yoga mat, which depicted his “Horses of Sable Island” photograph, earned the highest bid of $1,500.
All together, this year’s Bent on Learning Spring Fling succeeded in raising over $72,000, all of which will be used to further the organization’s initiatives to reach out to urban New York City youth through yoga. Thus far, Bent on Learning’s programs have aimed to provide each child with their own yoga mat and to educate these children on yoga up to the point that they are able to individually integrate it into their daily lives. Over the past 10 years, the organization has succeeded in teaching yoga to approximately 12,000 children in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Washington Heights, Harlem and the Bronx, and with this year’s Spring Fling funds, Bent on Learning’s projects are sure to expand even farther.