Lindsey Pluimer, a UCLA alumna, yoga instructor, and founder of the “With My Own Two Hands Foundation,” lives her life with no restrictions. A former member of the UCLA women’s basketball team, Pluimer graduated in 2008 and went on to play professional basketball in Australia and Spain. After her basketball career came to a close, Pluimer immediately resolved to fulfill her longtime wish of volunteering in Africa.
Pluimer majored in communications and, as a UCLA undergrad, she was deeply moved by her studies of Africa, taught by communications professor Paul Von Blum. Pluimer never forgot Von Blum’s inspiring lessons, nor did she lose her desire to one day travel to Africa. ” I had always said at some point in my life I wanted to go to Africa. That was something that I wanted to stay true to and something that rang in my heart,” she said. “When I got home from Spain, I took off by myself and went with a foundation to South Africa and volunteered in an orphanage out there. I just fell in love. And I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” Since her first journey to Africa, Pluimer has founded the “With My Own Two Hands Foundation.” The organization rallies local sports and yoga communities to raise money, and sends volunteers to Africa with the goal of providing relief to orphans who live in extreme poverty or whose parents have died from HIV/AIDS.
Pluimer believes that there is a strong correlation between social activism and yoga. Currently a yoga instructor at Beyond Hot Yoga in Laguna Niguel, Pluimer shared, “In yoga we’re looking for connection to our bodies, to our communities, to each other… But also to the world around us.” For Pluimer, however, yoga was not always a spiritual practice. She first took yoga at UCLA and recalled that back then, “(Yoga) was more of a physical thing for me, connecting it to basketball.” However, while Pluimer was in Australia, she regularly attended a yoga studio and came to realize the emotional benefits of the practice. Today, Pluimer connects with her local community through teaching yoga, and connects with the world around her through social activism. Her foundation incorporates both connections; it focuses on how a local community can work together to establish a global community. “It’s been a great journey to see people rally together for one cause,” Pluimer said. She will be traveling to Kenya with a group of volunteers in January.
Read more about Pluimer and the relationship between women and yoga in Fem’s Fall issue, online now!
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