Yoga Reaches Out- Boston Children’s Hospital fundraiser: Andrea Marlar 

Andrea in her office at Boston Children’s Hospital. 

“I’ve been fundraising for Boston Children’s Hospital for 15 years. I remember the day I met Sarah Gardner and she told us about her vision of hosting an all-day yoga event that would become Yoga Reaches Out. Sarah has heard me say it many times…..why I didn’t think of that since I practice yoga too. And she was on to something special. Her vision was to host the event while raising funds for Boston Children’s and other charities. I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with Sarah since the beginning and I’ve seen her vision come to life and grow. 

Over the years, the event has provided funding for our hospital’s NICU, a playground, cancer research, our resource room in the Heart Center and most recently our Wellness Program. This year, we will continue to support the Wellness Program as well as the Every Child Fund. Both programs are funded only by philanthropy and help make Boston Children’s a truly family centered place. 

I love Yoga Reaches Out. I’ve heard it described by many as “Christmas for yogis.” It is amazing to see 1,000+ people there all for the same reason: to help our patients and their families. This is a community of yogis simply enjoying a day filled with yoga, vendors and inspirational speakers. When the day’s done, people come away with this amazing, positive energy and we hope- a sense that they did something special. Everybody’s smiling, hugging each other, making new friends and when we witness that, we already know that the day was a success on many levels. 

Yoga Reaches Out is for our kids. Then again, all of us who work at Boston Children’s — no matter the role — are doing it for our patient families. I walk through our hospital doors and I can’t help but think, okay, this is why we do it. We have a saying around our office: “If you’re having a bad day, walk down the street and sit in the hospital lobby. Suddenly you’re bad day isn’t so bad anymore.” 

I consider it an honor to work here and my job is pretty easy because our mission is amazing. 

Yoga is a big part of my life, which is another reason I believe in Yoga Reaches Out . At the end of my practice, I feel energized yet relaxed. It’s the ideal way to start off a work week and end a Tuesday. Depending on what’s going on in life, there could be times at the end of class while in savasana, I find myself in tears or in prayer and then start reflecting in and realizing: This is what I’m letting go of this week. I’ve stopped beating myself up that I didn’t do this or that pose perfectly because it is a practice. Letting go of the judgement and knowing you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be is where the work lies. 

I think that is what’s so nice about being a part of Yoga Reaches Out. You hear why people have come to their mat and how Yoga has really supported them or healed them in different ways. And you know that as you practice you’re helping yourself and others heal.” — Andrea Marlar 

Every year Yoga Reaches Out harnesses the incredible power of the yoga community to enhance the lives of patients and families. Join more than 1,000 yogis in raising funds for Boston Children’s Hospital. To learn more visit: or email 

This interview was conducted by Jen Morabito of The Self Stories; providing yoga practitioners with the opportunity to share their stories as they realize and live in the infinite benefits of the physical asana practice of yoga, meditation, self inquiry & realization. Read more of The Self Stories here.

Explore more from Yoga Today