One Day Without Shoes Bali Style

Yogi’s gather for One Day Without Shoes

Once upon a time a young entrepreneur named Blake MyCoskie took a life changing trip to Argentina, where he witnessed how devastating it was for youngsters to go without shoes. Not only did they suffer from debilitating diseases but many schools refused them an education unless they came to school wearing shoes. Determined to do something about this, Blake (who knew nothing of the fashion industry) set up his shoe company TOM’s and declared that for every pair of shoes purchased, TOM’s would give away a pair to a child in need. That was 6 years ago and over 1 million pairs of shoes given away later (by Sept 2010).

Me and my son go barefoot

While setting up Soul Sanctuaries, our new luxury wellness travel company, we stumbled across the TOM’s story and it blew us away. It was like the missing piece of the puzzle. We were happy that we’d be providing participants with transformational experiences but it wasn’t enough. We were inspired to create our ‘Give a little Soul a Sanctuary’ program, vowing that part of each retreat payment will go directly to a child in need (and we can’t wait to give away the first cheque!).

Every year TOM’s hold a worldwide event to raise awareness about plight of shoeless children called One Day Without Shoes. They believe that curiosity breeds conversation and ultimately action. We were totally on board.

 Kundalini Yoga teacher Daphna Dor leads a healing meditation

Bali yoga resort Desa Seni were keen partners, so we began the day, April 10th, under the shade of an open yoga shala. After energizing ourselves with a Kundalini yoga warm up, we grounded down with some solid Hatha yoga asanas and heart opening exercises. The class ended with a beautiful healing circle and meditative mantra ‘Ra Ma Da Sa, Sa Say So Hung’ , showing compassion for all the world’s unfortunate children without shoes.

 Healing Meditation dedicated to shoeless children

The day continued with yoga classes focused on the feet and heart, yogi’s leaving over the rough gravel of the parking lot. By midday the searing heat on the stones really made everyone very conscious of what it must be like for these kids.

Relaxing at the end of our barefoot day

The end of One Day Without Shoes drew to a close with a screening of new film festival winner ‘Happy’. The film is an inspiring documentary which focuses on what really makes people across the world feel happy. The case for true happiness is illustrated through powerful human stories mixed with cutting edge science. The movie takes us from the Bayous of Louisiana to the deserts of Namibia, from the beaches of Brazil to the villages of Okinawa.

Produced Eiji Han Shimizu talking about his movie ‘Happy’

We were so fortunate that Happy Producer Eiji Han Shimizu had decided to move to Bali (must be a Happy place!) and he offered to show the movie with a presentation and Q and A session. Feeling humbled and happy, we all went home with a whole heap of compassion and gratitude.

Thanks to Desa Seni and its yogini’s for helping us to create such a heart warming day and thanks to Blake and his team at TOM’s for being such a cool inspiration to us.

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