For Brittany McKay and Jamie Tarasuk, the practice of yoga goes far beyond the 75-minute classes they teach at their Jupiter studio. Since becoming owners of Hamsa Power Yoga in 2019, the women have used yoga to teach love, inclusivity, and mindfulness both in their studio and in the world around them. “When people walk into our space, I want them to feel at home and to feel seen,” says Tarasuk. Adds McKay: “We are openly inclusive. There is a beautiful rainbow of people here.”
The yogis are doing what they can to help improve the lives of homeless individuals through the studio’s Welcome Mat program. To participate in a class at their studio, clients can opt to donate personal hygiene items in lieu of paying the class fee. McKay says she was inspired to launch the donation-based initiative after she encountered an old friend she learned was now homeless. “I like to ask people, ‘Do you live yoga off the mat?’” she says. “I believe yoga is social activism in movement.”
Additional donations can also be dropped off anytime during studio hours, and the studio offers free classes to firefighters, police officers, military personnel, and veterans.
For Tarasuk and McKay, the Welcome Mat is an extension of their yoga philosophy, which encourages individual expression in and out of classes. “We teach that there is no one way,” says Tarasuk. “In every class, people need to feel safe to do whatever they need. Let your intuition guide you.”