While leading a life marred by drinking and drugs, Tamara Standard discovered the restorative health properties of yoga. After becoming a yoga teacher herself, Standard’s unique vision was to expand yoga beyond the halls of elite yoga studios and into under-served communities.
She first launched the effort in her own neighborhood – San Francisco’s unpredictable Tenderloin district. One day, Standard simply set her yoga mat down on the sidewalk and invited addicts or homeless neighbors to join in. These street yogis quickly became engaged, and Standard saw a palpable electricity grip both practitioners and onlookers, completely transforming the typically downtrodden vibe.
Now known as “Yoga Girl,” Standard moved to Sacramento and began volunteering in community centers to spread the yoga gospel, but quickly realized she needed a team to fill the tremendous need for volunteer yoga instructors. She designed an outreach program with Midtown’s Asha Yoga Studio where scores of teachers now reach a variety of communities: low income, mentally ill, survivors of abuse, LGBT, and people with AIDS.