SOLYOGA PARTNERS THE PRACTICE OF YOGA WITH ADVENTURE, TRAVEL AND ACTIVISM.
by Andrew Wickenden '09
"Design and Spanish are, at their core, tools for expression, ways to communicate," says Ben Crosky '07. "At HWS, I got a degree in communication, problem solving, innovation and expression that happened to be labeled architectural studies and Spanish."
Soon after Crosky graduated, he harnessed some of those common bonds between architecture and Spanish to start his own company. Though it's not what you may expect.
BEN CROSKY '07
After a year in Europe and another working for Smithsonian Student Travel, where among other things Crosky coordinated logistics for more than 6,000 students attending the Presidential Inauguration, he transferred those skills in communication, problem solving, innovation and expression to the establishment and growth of SolYoga Trips.
According to the company's website, SolYoga, "is the fusion of inspiring yoga, adventure travel, experiential learning and responsible activism." Through international partnerships with yoga teachers, yoga studios and nongovernmental organizations, SolYoga's mission is, "to inspire growth, cultivate peace and spread love through our trips, community involvement and activism."
"At SolYoga," Crosky says, "we collaborate with yoga teachers to create yoga-inspired adventures around the world. By combining yoga, travel, adventure, service and learning, we open deep-rooted channels for growth. For example, we not only tackle our fears by flying upside down on a zip line, but also by going up into a headstand, or trying to communicate with a taxi driver in a foreign city."
Clients travel to one of nearly a dozen countries, where they practice yoga, immerse themselves in culture, and give back. "We work with NGO's, like Earth Train in Panama, so that we can make an impact on the local community rather than using it for our own benefit," Crosky says. "It also gives our travelers the most authentic experience possible."
"We partner with online journals for stories and giveaways and are now partnering with local organizations like Summer of Solutions in the Bay Area. And, of course, we really work with our teachers so that students can have the most potent travel/yoga/spiritual experience." And those fusions—of yoga and travel, learning and activism, businesses and communities—are evidence, Crosky says, of one of SolYoga's most defining qualities as a business: "our desire to create unique and sustainable partnerships."
"The biggest thing that I took away from HWS was the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people," says Crosky. "At SolYoga, we work with NGO's in Panama, Nicaragua, India and D.C. We work with yoga teachers, musicians, dancers, philanthropists, adventurers, composers, artists, filmmakers, healers, writers and more. We are obsessed with surrounding ourselves with amazing people and amazing companies and with sharing success by creating partnerships in which everyone benefits."