By Diane Y. Welch
In recognition of Memorial Day, and to honor the brave men and women who have served — and continue to serve — in the U.S. military, the Carmel Valley-based nonprofit organization Hanumanity Foundation will lead a “Yoga In The Park” class at Del Mar Trails Park.
Participation, which is open to all levels, will benefit the “Yoga for the Wounded Warriors” project, and entry is by donation which will help raise funds for the nation’s wounded military. The classes are offered on Saturday, May 25, and Sunday, May 26, from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Ongoing classes are offered each Sunday at the park, at the same time.
The yoga session will be guided by Swiss native Hubert Pilloud, an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) and former F/A18 fighter pilot and instructor. “This is my tribute and a way to thank to these men and women of the past who made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.
Hanumanity Foundation is a Karma Yoga organization whose vision is to help individuals, groups, and communities achieve their full potential by promoting and making yoga available in all its forms. Karma Yoga is defined as “selfless, meaningful, conscious action that serves humanity and nature,” noted Pilloud.
The foundation’s name is a fusion of two words: “Hanuman” a Hindu religious icon that represents the brave, strong, compassionate, skillful warriors devoted to serving those in need, and “Humanity” as a demonstration of love, kindness and social intelligence, according to Pilloud. Its mission reflects these dual pillars of emphasis.
“We want to promote and participate in local, national and international humanitarian efforts, through selfless, skillful actions,” Pilloud said. “By reaching and serving people, we are creating more interconnections among them, inspiring more awareness on their personal health and well-being, strengthening their sense of community and encouraging harmony and oneness within our inner and outer natures.”
The foundation raises funds when people attend its yoga events, festivals or music events, and they make a donation for entry/participation.
The “Yoga for the Wounded Warriors” event will aid those wounded servicemen and women who practiced yoga during part of their physiotherapy at The Naval Medical Hospital but then who may need financial aid to continue their yoga in a studio beyond the hospital.
For Pilloud, yoga was a life-changing experience. After retiring from the Swiss Air Force he emigrated to the USA five years ago and began yoga classes to help alleviate back and neck problems caused by the extreme “G” forces he’d endured.
“There’s a lot of compression on the spine for fighter pilots,” Pilloud explained.
After a few years of yoga he discovered that he had “grown” more than an inch as his spine became uncompressed.
Last year he attended yoga classes at the Wunderlust Festival in Lake Tahoe and had a spiritual awakening. “I knew there was something that I had to do but I did not know what,” recalled Pilloud.
During his 10-hour drive back to San Diego, Pilloud gained clarity as the business plan for Hanumanity Foundation played like a movie in his head. The next day he wrote that plan and his organization began to take shape last fall.
Pilloud works with a national team of yoga professionals that includes Steve Hubbard, Shari Zollinger, Kelli Harrington, and Michelle Nayeli.
In contrast to his former supersonic career, Pilloud’s own classes are Vinyasa inspired, with a slow flow, based on simplicity, efficacy and efficiency in both movement and stillness, seeking proper alignment with the body, mind and spirit.
“Through this flow, the mind is calmed and excess energy is directed into constructive channels for a higher quality of life,” said Pilloud.
Hanumanity Foundation aims to reach an international audience. “We recognize that our global community is interconnected. Through skillful and meaningful action we seek to take an active role in helping the global community achieve higher levels of consciousness,” Pilloud explained.
For the local “Yoga In The Park” class at Del Mar Trails Park attendees need to bring a yoga mat “along with your smile, a warm heart and your inner playfulness,” said Pilloud. Entry is by a donation which is tax deductible.
Visit http://www.hanumanity.org/ for event location directions, and information about tax-deductible giving. Sponsorships and corporate matching gift programs are welcome, and individual donations may also be made online.