November 26, 2012

Rethink Yoga. Rethink You.

Kim Shand, a nationally-renowned yoga expert, knows that life is not always fair. Born with severe scoliosis and vertebrae not fully formed, her prognosis was bleak. Doctors thought she would be paralyzed. She was expected to have stunted growth and a long list of medical complications. They wanted to pump her little body with medicine, screw a metal halo into her skull and brace down her back.

At age five, Kim’s parents introduced her to yoga and strength training. Her life changed physically, mentally and spiritually. She says her body self-corrected and miraculously, cartilage grew around her under-formed vertebrae.

Then in her early adulthood, Kim life fell off-balance after her father and uncle passed away and after losing her job. You’ll be amazed by how she bounced back and rediscovered yoga and is inspiring tens of thousands of people to take control of their health.

It’s hard to believe from these pictures and video that Kim endured such a painful start in life.

In a special edition of Go Inspire Go’s “Tea with Toan”, we met Kim on the mat in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to share Kim’s inspiring and empowering story and life lessons that will inspire you to rethink yoga and rethink your life.

Instead of living a life full self-pity, Kim grounded herself on the mat and embraced the challenges – which in turn stretched her possibilities beyond the limits of what seems humanly possible.

Through yoga, Kim’s life mission is to inspire as many people as possible to be present enough to listen to their bodies. “I am teaching people how to take responsibility of their health and lives. They have choices,” Kim explained. “The health care system in America is broken. We need to empower the country to regain their health.”

Kim believes yoga should be accessible to everyone, that’s why she gives away “as many free yoga videos” as possible on her Rethink Yoga website.

At Go Inspire Go, we love ripples… many of her students are giving back to her by helping her produce many of the free videos you see on her website.

I’ve experienced Yoga with Kim in person and often start my day getting into the rhythm and rhyme of Kim’s yoga videos.

Her uniquely calm melodic voice and energy are as soothing as they are strengthening. You can’t meet Kim or experience her yoga videos without feeling recharged, refocused and ready to receive and seize life’s lessons. We’d love to hear your thoughts about how yoga has changed your life in the comments section below.

Make it your GIG to Be in. All the Time.

1. Move Your Body, Mind and Spirit: Free Yoga on Rethink Yoga's YouTube Channel
2. Download the FREE 31 Days/31 Poses ebook on RethinkYoga
3. Share this video with others who need to Rethink Yoga

What can YOU do?

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November 13, 2012

6-Year-Old Halloween Hero Quadruples Goal, Brings Holiday Spirit to Sick Kids, Pt. 2

Go Inspire Go Surprising Nico at Home

When you hear about Nico Castro, a courageous 6-year-old boy from Northern California who, despite his battle with brain cancer, brought Halloween to his friends in the hospital, you can’t help but want to use your power to help this real-life superhero.

“Even though he's worse off than some of these other kids in the hospital, he's worried about them,” Nico’s mother, Marlene Castro, said. “They can't go trick or treating and they can't get candy.”

After Nico was diagnosed with brain cancer last fall, he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to celebrate Halloween, his favorite holiday. Thanks to a break in his treatment, this caped crusader was given the all clear. “He likes being Batman because it covers his bald head. He’s self conscious,” Marlene Castro said, holding back tears.

But the news was bittersweet. Nico was sad his friends in the hospital wouldn’t be able to experience Halloween. “What about the other kids?” he asked Raul Castro, his father. “Can we go to Target and get costumes for the kids?” But with the mounting hospital bills, it was impossible for the family to buy costumes and goodie bags for 50 of his friends at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center.

They came up with an idea: start a costume drive to bring Halloween to the hospital. This Halloween hero’s goal was to collect 50 costumes and goodie bags. Since Go Inspire Go (GIG) is about featuring everyday heroes, leveraging social media to build community and spark civic engagement, we had to tell Nico’s story and multiply his good deed.

Nico’s tight knit community pitched in and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from viewers around the country. Watch the video that sparked a nationwide movement:

After GIG shared his story, Nico quadrupled his goal and collected more than 200 costumes. Additionally, supporters sent him more than $1,500.

The local and national media have ensued. A producer at NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams called me the day after we uploaded the video. I invited them to join us as we produced a follow up of Nico dropping off costumes to his bed-ridden friends in the hospital. Check out our follow up video:

Garvin Thomas and his local NBC affiliate Bay Area Proud segment contacted me to feature GIG and Nico’s cause.

“I'm so honored to be his mom,” Marlene Castro said. “God really did bless me by making me this little boy's mother. He adds so much love and so much light to our eyes and it's great to see that he's able to touch and impact others lives as well. It's inspiring for all of us."

Courtesy: Marlene Castro
I will always remember the image of Nico walking down the halls of the hospital as he delivered costumes and goodie bags to his sick friends. He put on his sanitary mask – a fire fighter’s costume clenched in one hand, the other clasping his older brother’s hand -- my heart sank. But that feeling didn’t last long. As soon as the parents and children saw Nico, their eyes filled with joy and smiles widened. Their spirits were lifted.

Jackie Jumper’s daughter received a witch costume and coloring book from Nico. "It's all very overwhelming for me,” Jumper said. “It's overwhelming to be here with Anne, but it's more overwhelming that a child who is so sick can think of other children at this time and what they need… It's not just a costume or a coloring book. It's about children being happy around these wonderful holidays that they enjoy so much. I remember Halloween growing up and it was one of my favorites. It's just special to these kids… It's very heartwarming and special for him to do that."

Courtesy: Marlene Castro

The kindness continues to ripple outward. Sydney Burnett, a 14-year-old who was given a costume from Nico, couldn’t stop smiling. “It makes me think I don’t have it so bad. He’s worse off than me and he is helping others. It makes me want to do something to help someone else,” Burnett promised.

What can YOU do – to give back to someone in need?

* Special thanks to everyone who responded to our calls for donations:
-Green Apple Books, Sparky’s Balloons, Amanda Rivas and the Rivas Family, DayDreams and Nightmares and Amy Pankratz, founder of Wonder Capes for making superhero capes for Nico and his brother and sister.

(1)    Contribute to Make-A-Wish:

(2)     Brighten someone’s spirits. Volunteer at your local hospital or cancer center.

(3)     Share this story with a child in your life and encourage them to take action.

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November 4, 2012

GIG Social Good Spotlight: Nonprofits Providing Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief

Go Inspire Go is proud to present this month’s Social Good Spotlight, to raise awareness of organizations doing good in their communities in order to inspire others to take action and ultimately make real social change. For more information and to read past Social Good Spotlights, click here.

GIG SOCIAL GOOD SPOTLIGHT: Nonprofits Providing Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief

Compiled by Marcia Estarija Silva

Source: ASCPA
Going to see an emergency vet at an evacuation center

Please take a moment to think about how you can use your power to help those in need. It's the simple, small acts that can be a game-changer when it comes to rebuilding lives.

For this Social Good Spotlight, we are featuring local and national nonprofit organizations helping communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Read on to learn about what they're doing and how you can pitch in.

Atlantic City Rescue Mission
The Atlantic City Rescue Mission meets a critical need in a five-county area of southern New Jersey by serving all populations of homeless men, women and mothers with children and its mission is to provide emergency shelter services and food in addition to its being a full-service, Christian social service organization. It is currently handling a surge of requests and continues to provide shelter, meals, clothes, food-baskets and referrals for housing assistance. Their sleeping dorms are at capacity and overflowing.

Visit for more information and to make a donation to the Sandy Relief Fund.

Donations desperately needed

Center for Food Action
The Center for Food Action provides emergency food, housing, heating, and utility assistance to low-income people in northern New Jersey. The organization was able to reopen four of its eight sites this past Friday and distribute nearly 60 emergency food packages to hungry families on a first come first serve basis. Two of those sites have electricity and phone services, while the other two are distributing food without power. The situation is critical and food and funds are needed today.

Visit to donate money or check out the list of most needed food items.

Source: DOROT
Volunteer calling homebound seniors

DOROT’s mission is to alleviate social isolation among the elderly and provides services to help them live independently as valued members of the community. DOROT volunteers have helped isolated and homebound seniors in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy by making telephone reassurance calls, delivering emergency meals and supplies, and assisting with delivering meals to its home–delivered meal program participants.

To donate or volunteer, visit

All New York City evacuation centers allow families to bring pets, and the ASPCA has been working closely with them as well as shelters on Long Island to care for more than 400 evacuated pets. Its field team is coordinating animal relief efforts, distributing crates, food, litter and other supplies for thousands of animals throughout the region. The ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide.

Check out the ASCPA blog to get updates from the ground and visit to make a donation.

Red Cross
Thousands of Red Cross disaster workers are providing aid and comfort to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Shelters are open across multiple states and feeding operations are ramping up as communities become accessible.  Meals are being provided at shelters and mobile kitchens have been deployed. Trailers full of relief supplies have also been deployed to help people as they begin to clean up their homes.

Check out news updates and find out how you can give blood or provide financial support at

World Vision
World Vision has distributed relief items – basics like flood clean-up kits, blankets, tarpaulins, hygiene kits, food kits, and other essential items like warm clothes and shoes - through local partners in Queens and the Bronx boroughs of New York City and Yonkers, with more distributions scheduled for the days ahead. World Vision teams are assessing other areas of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The organization targets the most impoverished and vulnerable communities in each state and supports local partners - such as churches and community groups - to facilitate clean-up efforts.

Visit to find out more about its relief efforts and make a donation to its U.S. Disaster Respond Fund.

Find more Social Good Spotlights here. If you know of an organization that you think should be featured, please help us forward their stories to inspire the world and contact us

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