She has many success stories to share, from a special needs child’s lung capacity doubling in a matter of weeks—resulting in a decrease in the number of seizures—to children finding confidence, compassion and peace within themselves. The power of practicing yoga has trained Krista’s mind and those she reaches to be more focused, with hearts full of love and compassion, and to connect on a deeper level within themselves and with others. There have been many studies done related to the benefits of yoga, proving that through the yoga lifestyle, one can decrease stress and become more centered while building muscle strength, flexibility and balance.
Immediately after meeting Krista—when she hosted the movie screening of Happy at her Sterling location—it was evident to me that she was living a life which helps create self-sustaining communities that focus on loving others. I knew her positive energy and giving nature would have a lasting impact on me. If a person is not able to afford a class or needs some consulting, money isn’t her motive, and she is willing to give her services because she believes everyone deserves peace. In a world where we constantly hear of one violent tragedy after the other, and in a culture where the desire to earn a dollar has become a violent cancer, Krista’s practice is one of AHISMA, a teaching of both physical and verbal.
Last year, Krista’s young daughter asked her if slavery still existed in the world, and Krista was saddened to tell her yes. Even children her daughter’s age are robbed of their youth and forced to work as slaves in the black market of sex trade. Yoga, a fitness approach designed to transform oneself into a beacon of peace and tranquility—which Krista practices daily—was rooted in India, where there are an estimated two to three million sex trafficking victims. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, human trafficking is a $32 billion dollar industry worldwide, second to drug trafficking and tied with illegal arms. Twenty million people are victims of human trafficking.
After responding to her daughter about the issue of modern day slavery, Krista’s heart grew heavy, and she learned that the 2012 Off the Mat Into the World Global Seva challenge was to focus on the issue of sex trafficking in India and worldwide. According to the 2012 Trafficking Report released by the U.S. State Department, India is a source, destination and transit country.
Women and girls are trafficked within the country for purposes of forced prostitution. Women and girls from Nepal, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Russia are subjected to this form of trafficking in India. Due to the lucrative nature of this underground business, much of the law enforcement is corrupt, and many entrepreneurs in the country are reported to be politically connected, making prosecution of traffickers difficult.
The goal of Off the Mat Into the World is for participants in the project to raise $20,000. The program raises awareness of sex trafficking and helps support survivors by providing refuge, rehabilitation, economic opportunity and, ultimately, empowerment. Initially, Krista thought the project was too big for her to participate in, but the goals of the program were too important for her to ignore. After an evening brainstorming with her husband, she decided that they were going to raise the money to help these victims.
Throughout the entire year of 2012, Krista didn’t charge a fee for her group classes at BE Yoga. Instead, she asked for donations. After five to six classes per week, workshops, multiple garage sales, fundraisers, and kirtans—including D.C.’s first ever Kirtan Festival—she has raised around $20,000 to go to the Global Seva.
In February 2013, Krista will be traveling to India with a group from Off The Mat who were all able to raise over $20,000 individually. There, she will spend time working with and observing the programs being funded by the money raised. When I asked her what she had learned on her journey, she responded that she had learned she could find support in places she never would have imagined, that she could inspire others by working for a cause, and that she was actually capable of raising $20,000!
Krista’s yoga lifestyle proves to be an expression of love for one another, a positive example to the community and a true creator of hope for victims throughout the world of this horrific trafficking plague on the underground economy.
To learn more about BE Yoga, visit www.beyogayurt.com. To learn more about Off The Mat Into the World visit www.offthemateintotheworld.org. Off the Mat in India can be found at: www.offthematintotheworld.org/india partners.html
Megan Imbert has a passion for making a difference in the word, devoting much of her free time to philanthropic causes. She aspires to cultivate positive change through her writing. She has experience in television production, winning an Emmy Award, and is now a marketing specialist in the IT field. She can be reached via email at
or you can follow her on Twitter: @meganimbert.