The Yoga 4 Homeless mission is to bring the healing power of yoga to homeless men, women and children worldwide. Our team believes that yoga can provide a path toward personal transformation and equip homeless people with the tools they need to get off the streets and become functional in society.
Yoga 4 Homeless was started by Andrew Beinbrink in December 2015 with a simple goal of donating yoga mats to the homeless so they wouldn’t have to sleep on the cold, wet concrete during the winter. After providing yoga mats to homeless in the San Diego community and hearing how much better they slept, Andrew was inspired to provide more than yoga mats.
Once the project started building more momentum, the next logical step was to partner with a number of yoga studios and local businesses including Lululemon. Realizing mats weren’t enough, we spoke with local homeless shelters and community centers and saw the opportunity to bring the healing practice of yoga into the homeless community.
After a few months of research and studying the homeless epidemic, we decided to focus our efforts on bringing yoga teachers and classes to homeless shelters and community centers. We are currently working with a few shelters and homeless community centers in California and Texas and looking to expand.
We are also establishing a Yoga 4 Homeless teacher training program and curriculum that we will be able to take to different communities and establish more qualified teachers.
The backstory of Yoga 4 Homeless:
Beinbrink recounts his epiphany for Yoga 4 Homeless:
I’ve always had a place in my heart to support people in need. Ever since I can remember I’ve had compassion for the homeless. Growing up I volunteered for Habitat For Humanity and I’ve also been part of mission trips building homes for the homeless in Mexico.
In 2014 the church that I attend from time to time, Existence church was doing a shoe drive to donate shoes, clothes and blankets to the homeless of San Diego through the San Diego Rescue Mission shelter. For the drive I decided to throw a party for my birthday where I encouraged people to bring clothes and shoes to donate instead of just gifts.
Fast forward to a cold morning in October of 2015 when I was walking in my neighborhood and noticed an elderly homeless man I’ve seen before who was sleeping on the cold wet concrete. The man, who I believe was a Vietnam veteran, had a prosthetic leg and was with his dog. I just stopped beside him and felt an intense moment of compassion and human connection with him. I thought to myself… this is not right, no human deserves to sleep on the streets.
So I immediately went back to my home only 100 yards away and grabbed a blue yoga mat and went back to the man and left the mat with him as an act of kindness and compassion. I thought a yoga mat would be better than sleeping on the concrete.
Later that day I posted the story on facebook to share with my friends and at the end of the post said: “wouldn’t it be cool if the yoga community would get behind supporting the homeless.”
From that personal experience a seed was planted in me to do more to help the homeless.