The Embarcadero Waterfront Park during last year's Charity Yoga Event.
Waterfront Park, a patch of green sandwiched between city and harbor, is lined with palm trees and fountains. On Saturday, Aug. 19, it will also be packed with yoga students.
By last year’s estimate, more than 600 people will crowd the park for the sixth annual Charity Yoga Event, spreading out mats and stretching their limbs under the directions of distinguished yoga instructors. Live music is provided by local group Dub Sutra, and afterwards the event will host an extensive wine and beer garden, with vendors such as Kashi, Indo-Love, Suja Juice and Mush.
The Charity Yoga Event is organized and run by Kim Bauman, Pacific Beach resident and founder of the One Love Movement. Bauman was adopted at a young age from a South Korean orphanage. As a young adult in America, she sometimes felt directionless. Though she did frequent charity work, it took her a long time to find what she was truly passionate about.
Bauman’s life was changed when she won a charity contest in 2011. The contest challenged its participants to raise as much as they could for disaster relief in Haiti. Bauman, having collected $21,000 over a period of six months, was offered a trip to the country, where she would have a chance to work on the ground with the refugees, seeing the money she’d raised put to use. It was while working at a Haitian orphanage that she had a revelation.
“I realized how blessed I was for being adopted,” Bauman said. “These kids would never get the life I had.”
Bauman had found a new direction. That year she launched the first annual Charity Yoga Event, with the goal of raising awareness for underserved children across the globe. Initially, the charity focused its efforts on groups native to San Diego – organizations like the Monarch School, San Diego Youth Services, and Outdoor Outreach, which work to provide education and foster care for at-risk youth. Though the foundation continues to donate to these organizations, it has since broadened its horizons.
To date, the One Love Foundation has raised more than $150,000, $50,000 of which has gone to countries outside the U.S., such as Tanzania, Haiti, Uganda and the U.K. In 2015, the foundation purchased a children’s shelter in India. Today, the shelter houses 19 children, and Bauman flies out twice a year to visit.
Though the Charity Yoga Event is the group’s largest fundraiser, they hold smaller events throughout the year. In 2016, they held a benefit concert at city hall, and offered outdoor yoga classes at Tower 23. Bauman also keeps a list of future projects; ways in which the foundation hopes to extend its outreach. One is the expansion of the Charity Yoga Event to cover other cities across the U.S. Another is what she refers to as the Prison Project; though as-of-yet undefined, it will be centered around providing service and creating projects for both the incarcerated and the recently released. In the very long-term, Bauman hopes to someday find the orphanage she was adopted from, and launch a One Love project to help the children still living there.
In the meantime, the Charity Yoga Event is more than enough to work with. “Every year this event brings together the people that enjoy the spirit of yoga both on and off the mat by practicing kindness and compassion,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing to see so many people share a common goal in helping others.”
Charity Yoga Event
Where: Embarcadero Waterfront Park
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19