Yoga participants from across the coast met Saturday in Ocean Springs to benefit the Gulf Coast Women's Center For Nonviolence. The Center helps battered women leave abusive homes by offering them a place to stay. These women say positive energy works both in yoga and fighting violence.
Each of participants had sponsors pledging their financial support to the Women's Center.
"Woman have to go there to flee a very unhealthy and dangerous life. We want to promote the fact that they have a place to go and try to help them survive in a new environment," Gautier Resident Anita Brooks said.
They promoted the center by performing sun salutations, a practice of karma yoga.
"It's very vigorous, but done with the breath it can be very meditative," Mind & Body Co-director Cheryl Catranbone said.
Sun salutations are moves connected together by breaths of air, the women tried to do as many of those as they could, or until they reached their goal of 108.
"We create a lot of wonderful energy because we have a common goal and that's to fight violence, to create good, and it makes for a really good karma when you do selfless service," Catranbone said.
For several years now the center has been full, routinely totally packed, and lately it's fallen on financially hard times.
"It's very very bad. We've had some difficult times in court lately. We have difficult times with our clients. We've had very extreme clients this year. This year we had some clients beat worse than any time in history we've seen," Gulf Coast Women's Center for Nonviolence, abuse consoler Peggy Cuevas said.
"The first teaching of yoga is ahemsa which means non-violence," Catranbone said.
"Until you find peace within yourself and peace within your home, you can't stop peace out in the world and in society," Cuevas said.
A lesson dedicated novice participants can learn from day one.
The Gulf Coast Women's Center for Nonviolence is in Biloxi, but it's specific address is a secret, to protect the safety of the clients.