Yoga at the White House

Easter weekend proved to be very special for one local yoga instructor.

Anne Marie Kramer was one of many who took part in last Monday’s White House Easter Egg Roll, this year taking on a “healthy” role under the Obama administration. The annual event, which started with First Lady Dolly Madison in 1814, took place on the White House’s South Lawn. More than 30,000 people attended the event, according to a press release.

This year’s theme was called “Let’s Go Play.” First Lady Michelle Obama wanted to use the event to promote education, exercise and healthy living, Kramer explained. She runs Zuda Yoga Center, which has two studios – one in Folsom at 220 Blue Ravine Road and one in Sacramento’s midtown at 1515 19th St.

A White House press release stated that the Easter Egg Roll would feature healthy eating demonstrations, live musical performances, as well as dance and yoga workshops. Children and their parents were encouraged to eat turkey burgers and guacamole, drink mango smoothies and try other assorted healthy dishes, made by various chefs.

Her participation in the event came as very good karma and a connection to the White House, Kramer said during a phone interview as she drove through Ohio Thursday afternoon.

“One of my fellow yoga teachers is engaged to a producer who works at the White House,” she said. Through that connection, Kramer and other instructors found themselves invited to the popular event.

Kramer described it, “from start to finish, as filled with amazing energy and ever so fulfilling.”

“The reason I was there,” she said, “was to teach children about yoga. We started at 6 a.m., working with a group of 50 kids at a time. We did that for more than 12 hours.”

She said everyone seemed to enjoy the festivities and the exercise.

“The children enjoyed the yoga lessons,” she said. “They were laughing and having a very good time. It was a real joy.”

While Kramer and her fellow instructors didn’t personally meet with the Obamas, they were able to have a private tour of the White House.

“Being at a place rich in history … it was overwhelming, walking down the (White House) hallways and seeing the Oval Office and other rooms,” she said.

Kramer and the others had a lot of interaction with the Secret Service.

“The agents were very accommodating. Whatever we needed, (the agents) got for us. They were very nice and polite,” she said.

To the best of Kramer’s knowledge, this event was the first time yoga was ever taught on the White House Lawn.

“I’m very proud to be a part of something like that,” she said.

While it was an honor for her to be invited to the White House, Kramer’s true sense of joy was being able to reach out to the kids and teach them about yoga.

For now, Kramer will focus on her two studios and the growing number of yoga students.

“The Folsom studio is having a strong turn out,” she said.

As for next year’s Easter Egg Roll, Kramer said if the White House invites her back, “I’ll be there, ready to teach more children yoga’s wonders.”

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