Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

~ Lao Tzu

Civic engagement is the glue that binds a democracy together, while prosocial behavior, including altruism, has been scientifically proven to increase meaning, belonging, and happiness in people’s lives. Altruism is an evolutionary necessity to human existence, and a central theme in Jo’s life – from elementary school beach clean ups to working with Best Buddies, an organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). A Golden Key International Honor Society member, Jo has continued to serve communities across the globe in a variety of contexts, including her most recent work offering empowerment workshops for women in Saudi Arabia. Through her award-winning unregistered nonprofit, Project Surya, Jo has taught yoga at halfway homes, provided English lessons at an orphanage in India, and rallied groups of Project Surya team members in the UAE, India, and NYC to participate in events and fundraisers to address pressing community needs.

Project Surya is an international karma yoga initiative offering meditation, mindfulness, and yoga to the underserved; fundraising campaigns and events; and spiritual ceremony for partner organizations.  If you are interested in planning an event or initiating a class for a group in need, please visit the contact page. To read more about Project Surya in the press, visit the press page.


Project Surya

Shedding light on issues in the global community, Project Surya is an award-winning service initiative established by Hawaiian karma yogi, Joanne OS Qinaʻau.  Bringing yoga, meditation, and mindfulness to the under-served, fundraising, events, and dedication of spiritual ceremony are contributions offered by Project Surya.  If you are interested in planning an event or initiating a class for a group in need, please visit the contact page.

Oasis in the desert

Empowerment in Riyadh

Project Surya is currently offering free workshops in empowerment techniques for women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Flier from the event

108 for Peace

  • Community fundraiser and awareness event in Brooklyn, NY
  • All funds were directly donated to the NYC nonprofit STEPS to End Family Violence
  • Participants from across the city performed 108 sun salutations in Prospect Park
  • The event was supported by Third Root Community Health Center and Hiking Yoga

Horribly misquoted, but very grateful for the page three coverage in one of India's top national papers.
Grateful for the page three coverage in one of India’s top national papers (despite being misquoted!).

Kashi Ganga Cleanup

  • To raise awareness about the pollution problem along Varanasi’s River Ganga, Project Surya organized a karma yoga day
  • 500 participants from across Varanasi gathered in support
  • Media features in the Hindustan Times, Gandiv Daily, Aaj, Dainik Jagran, Compact, Hindustan (Hindi), Sahara, and interviews with STV, KTV, and City Channel
  • Sister organizations signed a Declaration of Commitment to ensure the future health and cleanliness of Varanasi

Logo from the Japan Aishteru campaign and event

Japan Aishteru

  • To raise awareness about the Japan earthquake and tsunamis of 2011, Project Surya organized an offering of 108 Sun Salutations on the shores of Abu Dhabi
  • Participants were sponsored by private donors and raised $2500 for Direct Relief International
  • The event was featured on the front page of the Gulf News, the UAE’s largest English newspaper

Staff at the Brookview Creche
Final day of yoga classes for the kids. Pictured here: staff at the Brookview Creche

Global Yoga Mahele: Yoga for At Risk Youth

  • Students at Brookview Preschool in Tallaght, Ireland participated in two yoga workshops as a part of their movement curriculum.
  • Working with TMM Family Services in Tucson, Arizona, Project Surya provided weekly yoga classes for abused youth living in half-way homes.
  • Yoga and English classes at Parmarth Niketan School for Boys in Rishikesh, India

The star students themselves

Seva for the Underserved

Project Surya also worked with Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest to deliver specialized yoga classes to communities in three government subsidized housing locations in Tucson, Arizona.

In order to see, you have to stop being in the middle of the picture.

~Sri Aurobindo