Canadians roll out their yoga mats for human rights

Laísa Santos Sampaio is a mother of eight and a schoolteacher in a small community in northern Brazil. She is also a member of a women's project that produces cosmetics, ointments and nuts. Laísa is opposed to illegal logging in her region and has been the target of several death threats and attacks.

On April 26, 2014, people across Canada will be rolling out their yoga mats in solidarity with Laísa. They will be participating in Yoga Day, a national event benefitting the human rights charity Amnesty International, which is campaigning to protect Laísa and other environmental activists.

The Canadian yoga participants will be raising money and awareness for Amnesty. Yoga events will be taking place in yoga studios, schools, workplaces, and community centres in many provinces and territories.

Stephanie Green, owner of OmTown Yoga says, “I wanted to organize this event as a way to come together as a community and take positive action. When we come together as a group we have incredible powers to help support change.”

Yoga Day is a truly national event and everyone with an interest in yoga is invited to take part. Yoga events in 2013 helped raise more than $35,000 for Amnesty International's work.

Environmental activists in northern Brazil could do with the support, as many have been threatened just like Laísa Santos Sampaio. In fact, in 2011, Laísa's sister and brother-in-law were shot dead as a result of their campaigning against illegal logging.

More information on Yoga Day 2014 can be found at


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