Registration is now open for Yoga on the Steps: Philadelphia, the signature education and fundraising event of Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The event is scheduled to take place rain or shine beginning at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, May 19 on the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The highlight of the event is a one-hour yoga class for all ages and skill levels designed and led by Yoga Alliance certified instructor and founder of Yoga Unites® Jennifer Schelter, MFA with Kirtan accompaniment by Yvette Pecoraro and other local area musicians. After the class, participants can enjoy refreshments while visiting a Healthy Living Expo where event sponsors, local area businesses, yoga studios and nonprofit organizations will feature products and services promoting health and wellness.
While Yoga on the Steps is similar to other nonprofit grassroots fundraisers it really is a one-of-kind event. People are asked to register as a team captain or participant at yogaonthesteps.org and then fundraise for LBBC by asking family, friends and colleagues for donations. But instead of using a walk or run as our event’s centerpiece, we feature a yoga class. Jennifer has designed the class so that anyone, regardless of skill level or body type can participate. Yoga on the Steps is a unique and powerful education program in its promotion of yoga as an important part of a person’s overall wellness plan.
What has grown into Philadelphia’s largest outdoor yoga class began after Jennifer’s friend and student, Courtney Kapp, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Courtney wanted to use her home as a place where women with the disease could form a support network through the practice of yoga. She asked Jennifer to teach the class and also introduced her to LBBC’s executive director (now chief executive officer) Jean Sachs, MSS, MLSP. Together, the three women founded Yoga on the Steps.
Now, thousands of people, most with no formal training, annually attend Yoga on the Steps to raise awareness of LBBC’s resources, stand in solidarity with women diagnosed with breast cancer and honor the memories of those who are no longer with us.
Studies continue to indicate a correlation between yoga’s stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation techniques with stress reduction, lower blood pressure and improved heart function. More and more studies, especially over the last few years, confirm the relevance of Yoga on the Steps.
A study conducted by UCLA researchers suggests that yoga can help women overcome post-treatment fatigue which is estimated to affect as many as one-third of women currently in breast cancer treatment. The research, which was published December 16, 2011 in the journal Cancer, discovered that after three-months-worth of twice-weekly yoga classes, “a group of breast cancer survivors in California reported significantly diminished fatigue and increased vigor,” Andrew M. Seaman of Reuters Health said. Cancer, Volume 118, Issue 15
In addition, at the 34th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium held in 2011, a study presented findings that women with metastatic breast cancer might benefit from the practice of yoga, as well. A small randomized trial was collaboratively conducted by yogis and physicians, including S.K. Gopinath, MD, from the Department of Surgical, Medical and Radiation Oncology at the HCG-BIO Super Specialty Center in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The researchers found data that suggest the practice of yoga might reduce psychological distress and modulate abnormal cortisol levels as well as immune responses in patients with stage-IV disease. Medscape News Today
In 2011, LBBC began the implementation of a national Yoga on the Steps expansion initiative developed by the organization’s Board of Directors and senior staff as part of LBBC’s 2011-2015 strategic plan. Yoga on the Steps is a low-cost, high-return way to introduce LBBC resources to communities that may not know of their availability. Since then, LBBC has established annual events in Washington, DC and Denver, CO and just last week confirmed Kansas City, MO, as its fourth Yoga on the Steps host city.
The increasing popularity of yoga is a big factor in the growing success of the event. But more than that, it’s LBBC’s reputation of sound fiscal management and the trust supporters have in the organization that energizes Yoga on the Steps participants to fundraise for LBBC at the grassroots level. LBBC maintains the lowest overhead possible for the event ensuring resources are always available to anyone in need.
LBBC’s most recent annual report, released in July of 2011, shows that 86 cents of every donated dollar is used to fund the organization’s services. For eight consecutive years the organization has been awarded a four-star rating by Charity Navigator, the country’s leading organization that evaluates American nonprofits, signifying it exceeds industry standards and outperforms most other charities within its cause. LBBC 2011 Annual Report
Yoga on the Steps: Philadelphia is made possible by Eisai, one of the event’s national partners. Businesses wanting to learn more about national and local sponsorship opportunities and benefits are asked to contact LBBC’s associate director of marketing and corporate relations Kevin Gianotto, at firstname.lastname@example.org. General Yoga on the Steps and Healthy Living Expo questions should be directed to Jenna Jackson by emailing email@example.com.