If you’ve ever spotted a happy group of yogis practicing on the beach at Lowdermilk Park, chances are they were led by yoga instructor Lauren Fox. She’s the founder of Donation Yoga Naples, which combines good health with goodwill by supporting local nonprofits through donations from those who take her classes. Here, she shares how her grassroots yoga movement is growing and inspiring Neapolitans to make yoga a way of life—plus some of her favorite things to do and try in Naples.
What is Donation Yoga Naples all about?
Donation Yoga Naples has the intention to bring mental and physical health and happiness to every student that attends a donation class or event, while also seeing peace signs over dollar signs. This idea is what led me to creating Donation Yoga Naples, which gives all students the freedom to pay what they can afford for their yoga practice and gives us the opportunity to donate half of all proceeds to local nonprofits. I feel so passionate about giving all students, from all walks of life, the chance to practice their asana and karma yoga together!
I end almost every class I lead with the words “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu,” which translates to “May all beings everywhere be happy and free!” Can you imagine what the world would look like if this were a reality?
Do you teach at other studios around town?
Teaching yoga with Donation Yoga Naples is my sole career and, most importantly, my biggest passion right now. I also instruct weekly and monthly yoga private lessons, teach the children at Naples Preschool of the Arts, lead multilevel yoga at the South NCH Wellness Center and substitute teach for BKS Yoga Studio. My goal for the next fall is to start Florida SouthWestern’s dental hygiene program and continue to teach yoga with DYN.
What do you see as the future for Donation Yoga Naples?
My plan for Donation Yoga Naples growth is to continue to promote the new studio space, fill those classes and eventually be able to afford a larger studio space and hire instructors who are like-minded and passionate about teaching donation yoga classes. Once this concept takes off here in Naples, my hope is that donation yoga studios will spread to other cities in our country and all over the world. Yoga is for everybody!
Besides yoga, what are your favorite pastimes?
I love spending time with my husband, Patrick, and my grandparents Donald and Doris, listening to music (especially classic/folk rock from the ’60s and ’70s), walking and cuddling my rescued dog Millie, observing wildlife, riding bikes, kayaking and traveling the world.
If you could trade lives with anyone for a day, who would it be?
The Dalai Lama. I love how he educates on the philosophy of kindness, and I can’t think of someone who sees peace signs over dollar signs more. One of my favorite quotes of his is, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
What are your summer beauty essentials?
Taking off makeup and putting a smile on, putting down the burger and picking up a Bunny Wrappit from Food and Thought, and letting my hair grow long so I can donate it to a child with cancer. Beauty comes from within and is all around us. You’ve got everything you need and so much more! You are perfect as you are.
What is your “must see” or “must do” in Naples?
You must visit the Conservancy of Southwest Florida! I was lucky enough to live there while in elementary school while my aunt Dyanne was manager of the Rehabilitation Center in the ’80s and early ’90s. I was able to see the effects that our species has on the native species and learn about all the beautiful wildlife that is right here in Naples.
Where would you go on a once-in-a-lifetime getaway?
I would love to travel to Thailand to see the wildlife, practice yoga on the cliffs overlooking the water, meditate in one of its gorgeous temples, and eat the amazing food! Who is coming with me?
Try Donation Yoga Naples:
Daily in the studio (2400 Trade Center Way, Naples)
Saturdays at Lowdermilk Park, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Sundays at 18th Avenue South beach, Naples, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
The Karma Cup: First Thursday of the month at Kunjani, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Yoga on Tap: Last Saturday of the month at Naples Beach Brewery, 11 a.m.-noon
Follow along on Facebook for details and upcoming classes.