The Upward Facing Dog: Wuf Shanti’s Story
Have you ever heard of a mascot doing yoga? Well, we hadn’t either, until the lovely Marni Becker Avin approached us about her son’s dream to make a difference in the world. Adam and Marni shared a conceptualized character named Wuf Shanti (an adorable yogi dog), and that they wanted to bring this character to life to spread a heartwarming message and facilitate yoga for children! Talk about a fascinating and wonderful project!
Naturally, we were intrigued, and so began our Wuf Shanti creation process. We recently took the time to interview Adam and learn about Wuf Shanti’s journey and his success as a mascot yogi. Please read on for some insight into a totally creative and inspiring mascot story!
Sugars: What inspired the creation of Wuf Shanti the character and the eventual mascot?
Adam: When my Great-Grandpa passed away, I wanted to do something to honor him, so I created this dog yoga character to help pay forward my Grandpa’s teachings to the next generation. My Great-Grandpa was like a yogi because he believed in thinking well and giving gratitude. I believe if we can teach kids when they are young tools to help them deal with their emotions in a more productive way, then they will grow up to be less depressed and anxious teenagers, and hopefully happier, content peace-loving adults. Our main mantras are “Think Well to Be Well”, which teaches positive thinking, “Smile and the World Will Smile With You”, which teaches kindness, and “Smile and Say Thank You”, which teaches gratitude. The world needs help right now, so I am hoping that this character, which promotes health, wellness, and happiness, can make a difference in someone’s life.
Sugars: You were quite involved/ active in the mascot creation process. Tell us a little bit about how you had Wuf Shanti customized to suit your “mascot yogi” needs!
Adam: I drew him, so I wanted the mascot to look like my drawings as much as possible, and it really came out amazing. You guys did such an OMazing job! We knew the mascot would have to be a little different than the typical mascot because we need to be able to move in it and do yoga, so if we are doing a Downward Dog pose, for example, we had to make sure the mascot head didn’t fall off. The entire process was so exciting because we watched my character come to life. It was really a celebration of my Great-Grandpa and a dream come true.
Sugars: How have you been utilizing your Wuf mascot for your program and also for marketing endeavors?
Adam: We visit schools, hospitals, yoga studios, children gyms, nursing homes, charity organizations, festivals, and any event that we are asked to appear at. The kids love Wuf Shanti, especially the 3 to 9 year-olds. We have received yoga certifications to teach classes at all of these events, and we also offer videos on YouTube in which Wuf Shanti, our adorable dog yoga character, travels the world sharing, through great music and fun games, how to do yoga, meditation, think like a yogi, live mindfully, look on the bright side of life, be kind to others, and live in gratitude.
Sugars: How has the community been responding to the Wuf Shanti program and Wuf Shanti dog?
Adam: It has been amazing and we are so grateful. We have started a blog, and I do a series of interviews with well-known pioneers in the yoga industry, such as Kathryn Budig, which are all on our website. We are being invited to visit a lot of hospitals and charitable organizations for kids, such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Some really incredible things that happened were when Adam Levine and Maroon 5 posted about us, and when we were accepted by the Children’s Television Network (part of the Children’s Miracle Network) to have our videos distributed to all of their children hospitals across the nation!
Sugars: What’s coming up for Wuf Shanti in the community?
Adam: We had a kickstarter campaign which was successfully funded, and now the pilot production has been completed for the videos, and the show has been submitted to agencies in LA and NY to represent us to the networks. We think it is important to reach as many children as possible so that we can help change the direction the world is going in. The difference between the short videos we have on YouTube and the pilot show we are doing now is that Wuf Shanti talks in the new one. We are very excited to see our vision come to life.
Sugars: How can we find Wuf Shanti on the web and social media?
Adam: Yes, please join us and help us spread the word and make this world a better place for our kids. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube by searching for Wufshanti. We also have a website, www.wufshanti.com where you can hear our interviews, watch videos, learn about the poses and games and mantras and read our blog. We have a store on there too, so you can get Wuf Shanti books, coloring books, clothing, yoga mats, and stuffed animals! If you want to book us for an event, you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sugars: Does Wuf Shanti have a message for our readers?
Adam: Yes, remember, we are all one. Gratitude, kindness, and peace are what we need to cultivate and share with each other. At Wuf Shanti, we want to plant these seeds early in a child’s life so that they can bloom into happy and healthy adults. In order to do that, we need everyone’s help, so please join our mission and help us spread the word and share our message. Together we can help future generations and make this planet a more loving place. Love wins. Remember to think well, give gratitude, and breathe.
Thank you so much Adam and Marni for your time and for sharing Wuf Shanti’s awesome mascot story! In this interview, Adam offers some excellent insights into how creativity and a passionate mission can turn a mascot character dream into a full-fledged reality! Make sure to check out Wuf Shanti on social media and follow his journey as he continues to spread wellness and joy. Namaste, readers!