written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Geni Donnelly, a native of Annapolis, Md., moved to Frederick to open a restaurant. “My husband and I bought the building at 103 North Market which is now Firestone’s Culinary Tavern. We renovated it with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and we opened Donnelly’s Saloon and Fishery.”
After running the business for several years, Geni started Donnelly’s Appraisals and Yogamour, a local non-profit organization. “So here I am — immersed in the Downtown scene!”
She resides in Downtown Frederick on Second Street across from Visitation Academy. “I really enjoy the transition that’s taking place Downtown. It’s progressively meeting the times. It’s a nice little town to be in. It’s a good supportive community.”
Geni and Mike have one daughter and four sons. Their daughter lives in Frederick and is employed by an environmental company based in Oakland, California.
One son is a maker of fine furniture and resides in Brooklyn. He’s currently taking his GREs to get into Architecture school. Another son is in the Navy. Yet another son is attending CUNY in New York.
The youngest son attends the Barbara Ingram School for Performing Arts in Hagerstown. He’s in his senior year.
Regarding the ’empty nest’ that’s quickly approaching, Geni admits, “It’s going to be a hard break to lose my last kids to the big wide world but it’s why we steer them in that direction.”
In addition to operating Donnelly’s Appraisals, Geni maintains her real estate license. Her spare time is devoted to Yogamour, her non-profit organization.
Yogamour And The Philosophy of Seva Benefits Local And Global Communities
Geni explains, “Yoga has a definite philosophy to it. It’s not just about where you go out and you see people doing yoga poses in the park. Or, you see yoga classes and people are doing Warrior 1 or Warrior 2.
“There’s a component to the philosophy of yoga and that’s a Sanskrit word “seva” — selfless service. It’s doing selfless service without a need for reward or recognition. We work under that yoga philosophy.”
She continues, “We raise funds through donations, yoga classes, workshops and trainings. That money goes into our organization where in turn we facilitate sensitive yoga classes.”
Yogamour’s sensitive yoga classes are available to various populations of the Frederick community, including the Heartly House, On Our Own Frederick and Justice & Recovery Advocates of Frederick.
“We do global work as well.” Her partner, Rebeccah Bartlett, handles the International side of Yogamour. “We have a presence in India and Thailand where we work with abject poverty. We bring in dental clinics, eye clinics and yoga programs.
“We do all of this under the umbrella of yoga. Yoga can be a myriad of things. It’s a very wide spectrum. So, I do a lot of yoga in my spare time.
“Yoga is the key to better health and well-being.” With yoga, you can:
* Reduce Stress
* Fuel All Vital Organs
* Attain Better Posture
* Learn Breathing Techniques
* Lower Blood Pressure
* Improve Brain Function
* Increase Flexibility
* — And Much More!
The benefits of yoga have been available for a long time. “Although yoga is maybe 5,000 years old, it’s not a fad and it’s not going anywhere. It works. It’s not leaving.
“It’s being integrated into Western medicine. It’s being used as a tool — all aspects of yoga — as a tool for cardio and more. It’s amazing how the medical world uses yoga now as a complementary therapy for healing.”
Geni’s Biggest Challenge Of Growing Yogamour
“The biggest challenge has been marketing the business. It’s really hard. With all the avenues of social media, just where do you go and how do you get your name out there and let people know where you’re located and that you do offer public donation classes?
“And, that these public donation classes do fuel programs for the community and these underserved populations. I think that’s the hardest. Just getting it out there.”
Advice Geni Would Give Herself If She Could Go Back In Time
“We had started the Yogamour program globally first. Coming back, I had a transitional time in my life. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, went through surgery and treatments in 2011, 2012 and going into 2013.
“So, it put a stop on me being totally involved in the global aspect of it. The local component came after the global component. If I could give my former self some advice, I would have planted the seeds in my community first and then expanded globally.”
Yogamour Is Definitely Making A Difference
“There’s a healing modality to yoga. Not just for the public classes but certainly in the practice of yoga, there’s a myriad of things for an individual.
“Whether you’re taking a public class and you’re lowering your stress levels or you’re increasing your flexibility, improving your brain function, lowering your blood pressure, whatever it might be — yoga does have healing benefits.”
Geni recalls her own experience after being diagnosed with cancer. “My yoga classes helped me through that time-frame. It really saved me, in a lot of ways, mentally and physically.”
She is trained in teaching Trauma Informed Yoga and has taught many clients from Heartly House. “It’s a shelter for anyone who has been a victim or a survivor of sexual abuse and domestic violence.
“I have had such wonderful response and such gratitude from that population. Having that opportunity to make a difference in these women’s lives has been an overwhelming thing to me.
“I think that our model is unique in that we do, in turn, put it to good use. We have certified, qualified, trained teachers that are awesome. I’ve got a good team.
“Right now, we’re offering Trauma-Informed training to educate more yoga teachers, health care providers and therapists in the process of teaching sensitive populations.
“That’s where my heart is and that’s where I feel we will be able to make a huge difference.”
Geni Is Attached To The MindBody App
MindBody is great for her yoga business. “It makes it easy to go to a class and check people into classes and training programs with my phone.” And, the App is international.
“You can be in any town and pull up MindBody. You can find a yoga class within your near proximity. You can find gyms, meditation centers, bar classes — it offers an awful lot of information pertaining to where you’re located at the time. It’s pretty cool.”
A Recommendation From Geni’s Book Shelf
[The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.]
“He is the leader in his field of studying PTSD and Trauma and how yoga has been instrumental in his programs in Massachussetts at the Justice Resource Center. It’s a great book and it’s also on YouTube.”
Support Healing And Well Being In Your Local And Global Communities
Take a public-donation Yogamour class! If you’ve never tried yoga and you don’t think it’s right for you — or if you’ve tried it and didn’t like it — reach out to Geni to discover a yoga class that’s just right for you.
“Try it! There are different forms. There’s really gentle, there’s restorative — I teach power yoga — there’s all kinds of yoga. Yoga can be just meditation and just breathing.”
If you are absolutely certain you don’t want to take a class, for whatever reason, you can still make a donation through the website or contact Geni directly.
“It’s the donations that keep the programs going. Justice & Recovery, On Our Own, the Heartly House — and, we’re expanding that scope. Anywhere that we can help, that’s where we go!”
All help is greatly appreciated. And, collectively, it’s life-changing! “Any involvement is good. We welcome any involvement, participation, suggestions — we’re open!”
Give Geni at Yogamour a shout-out today!
240 – 285 – 7812
Contents Provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast Episode #077: Eric Verdi Interviews Geni Donnelly