Claudia Deen is better known by the media as the wife of Bobby Deen, son of Paula Deen, but to those who knew Claudia (pronounced Cloud-ya as well as an English person can pronounce it) before she married Deen, she was a hard working, funny and caring individual who was majoring in film at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) and training with the Savannah Striders to run in the first ever Rock N Roll Marathon in Savannah.
Deen left for a position in Chicago and came back after meeting Bobby Deen and later marrying him, but she was still the same old Claudia that everyone knew, just with more influence and why not use that influence to do some good?
Deen was born in Venezuela and was concerned over the recent events in which several people died while protesting the current government and its practices. Her friends who were still there reported problems with neighborhoods where there was no access to running water or electricity. In addition there was very little food available, so Deen decided to host a yoga event not only to raise funds, but to raise awareness as well, to help however she could.
On Saturday, April 12, she hosted an outdoor yoga class with Kendall Beene-Crowder who took 38 men and women (though mostly women) through a series of poses and stretches that challenged even the best of yogis, but was doable for beginners as well.
Sherry Feathers, who had never really done yoga before kept up pretty well, though the constant downward dog poses left her previously injured arm hurting a bit and some of the over 50 crowd had difficulty going into a full bridge or reaching back and grabbing their feet without going into muscle spasms.
Still, it was a fun event and everyone contributed as much as they could for the cause.
The event was held early Saturday morning at Huc-A-Poos on Tybee, a local eatery that is famous for its Pizza and beer.
Jim Sinclair, who also does yoga, volunteered to run the sound system, while Bobby Deen helped pass out raffle tickets and took pictures of the event.
The outdoor patio was cleared of tables and umbrellas as women clad in yoga pants and white shirts (representing peace) wiggled their way into place, laying out mats and stretching and chatting excitedly about what a great idea it was to do something like this and get everyone involved.
There were two Venezuelan flags hung and a chalk board with messages written to encourage peace in a troubled country where people's freedoms are being sorely tested, with many being held in prison just for voicing concerns about the way the country is currently being handled by the socialist government.
An American flag waved in the breeze as if to remind everyone how blessed we are to live in a country where we have freedom of speech and can form groups without being persecuted by the government.
While things aren't perfect in the U.S., we at least can voice our opinions freely and take steps to correct injustices and Deen did exactly that and hopes to spread the love to her native country as well.
Many laughed as the instructor told everyone go into happy baby pose, or as one woman called it, the child birth pose, where participants rolled onto their backs, hugged their knees to their chests, grabbed the bottoms of their feet and pushed outward and up with Feathers urging Claudia to pull out the camera and post the photo on Facebook!
As the music played a calming song, everyone laid back on their mats as the sun warmed their already sweating bodies, but it felt really good to soak in the sun as the music and the breezes and the smells of the beach all added to the idyllic setting.
If you would like to help in the cause, there are several organizations collecting funds, though even prayers are welcome.
Deen also writes a health blog called Chicaloverde where you can go to get updated information and learn some healthy tips for better eating and exercise.
While yoga may not bring peace to the world, it does help you become aware of your body's limitations and helps align muscles and spine so you are able to see where your weaknesses and strengths lie which was rather insightful considering the cause.
If everyone was in tune to all the parts that make up the whole, whether in one's own body or one's own country, maybe we would stop fighting with one another and work together, helping the weak become stronger and not letting the strong parts become so powerful that they prevented the weaker areas from functioning and therefore collapsed the whole system.
We need each other and until we learn to work as a team looking out for everyone, we will all struggle with balance and while it may be funny to roll over with a thud or land a foot on your neighbor's shoulder while trying a new pose in a yoga class, it doesn't quite have the same effect when a government attacks its people rather than listening to them and working out a peaceful agreement.
Say a prayer for all countries, families and individuals who fight with one another and pray we can all find peace and share that love with one another.