Bent on Learning raises money, gets key media attention

Bent on Learning — which teaches yoga to New York City public school children (and by yoga we mean that in the broadest sense, bringing body and mind awareness together) — just ran its annual Spring Fling Benefit, and it not only raised $72,000, it got Wall St. Journal notice:

“Should we be honest?” Anne Desmond asked Jennifer Ford and Courtney McDowell, her co-founders of Bent on Learning, when prompted for the group’s biggest challenge in continuing the flow. In unison, they exclaimed, “Money!”

Bent on Learning stretches underserved, inner-city schools’ physical education for the unheard of annual price of $175 a student. (Many mainstream city studios charge at least that amount per month.)

“All we need is a classroom and yoga mats,” she said. “Specifically, what we teach is moving, breathing and focusing. That is the core of our curriculum, and it’s really not much more than that.”

Still, Ms. Ford said yoga often has far-reaching benefits for the 3,500 students the group teaches every week.

Eddie Stern is among those with deep ties to this organization, of course. It’s an incredibly solid model of what a yoga program can do in the context of the public school system.

The Journal coverage is noteworthy because, while the New York Times still sets the media agenda more than any other outlet, the Journal hits a very particular audience best of all: corporate executives and other business people. You’d expect readers of the Times to have familiarity with yoga and programs like Bent on Learning; the Journal’s might be a bit more untapped.

Not now.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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