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Times of the Islands Magazine

Ambu Yoga Partners With Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation to Raise Funds

Mar 22, 2018 10:24PM ● By Kevin

Photo courtesy of Ambu Yoga on Facebook.

Ambu Yoga opened in Captiva two years ago, always aiming to be in collaboration with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) for fundraisers. Founded by Yali Zawady, the business is a multi-style yoga studio offering instruction for all skill levels, offering heated/non-heated studio classes, beach yoga, SUP yoga, guided meditation, and more. 

"When I started the studio, [I was] always impressed with the foundation," Zawady said. "They have several programs, and I wanted to connect with them. I did a lot of volunteer work when I lived in Columbia, so I decided to collaborate with a specific program, the sea turtle program."

Throughout the year, Ambu fundraises for SCCF. One event they fundraise through is New Moon Mediation, which occurs every 28 days, usually on the beach. During the meditations, Ambu serves as a voice for SCCF, creating a bridge between visitors and the organization.

"A lot of people come to the island and relax, but we bring in a different element to appreciate the beach as a nice addition to what we offer for fundraising," Zawady said. "We've been growing each year with the money we've been collecting."

One student, Zawady reported, matches the funds raised once a year, because he supports a business that has a purpose, especially one that improves the environment. So far, Ambu has raised $3,500 for SCCF and plans to make its annual donation in July.

"Really, we are sharing this space on earth," Zawady said. "So, that's been amazing. This project has been growing slowly and we love it."

Another community member matches donations from Ambu to the sea turtle program, as well. So once all funds are donated for the year to this program, it all ultimately doubles. Something that Zawady was really excited about.

For International Women's Day, Ambu Yoga hosted a women's circle at the studio, which was a part of an international sisters circle. More than 1,000 circles signed up, worldwide. The donations from that event at Ambu went to the local Zonta chapter.

The organization aims to empower women through service and advocacy. Zawady said Ambu Yoga plans to work with Zonta again in a few months.

"We are a little studio and we are excited about this," Said Zawady. "It's a big deal for us as a small business."

They will also partner with South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, helping to add vegan options to their menu and eliminate the use of plastic straws. The reason behind the latter, Zawady said, is because sea turtles are negatively impacted by plastic straws, specifically.

"We're really excited about this and the positive impact it will have," she said. "I focus on reducing waste. We don't have plastic water bottles, we have bottles at the studios, and drinking fountains. We are digital as much as possible. It's something that's really important to me."

They have also connected with vendors to work on reducing packaging. It's also not about making people feel bad if they aren't necessarily being mindful of the packaging they're using, Zawady added. It's instead about raising awareness and empowerment.

The studio at Ambu Yoga is a sacred space for students on the islands. Hosting a strong community, Ambu students call the studio home and are welcomed from around the world.

"Yoga has been the platform that connects people, and in turn to do things that are good," Zawady said.

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