Archive for the ‘yoga’ Category

Yoga: A Survivor’s Tool for Strength

May 27, 2014

KateGarza2 for 5 28Kate Garza is a mother of three teenagers, cancer survivor and yoga instructor in Cheltenham. Her “Team Kangaroo-om”  participated in our event, Yoga on the Steps: Philadelphia, on Sunday, May 18.  For more information or to register for a Yoga event near you, visit yogaonthesteps.org. Read Kate’s blog at LotsaHelpingHands.com.

I climbed the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum last Sunday for Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Yoga On The Steps, a sun drenched block party of yoga enthusiasts and breast cancer affiliates. Occasionally my thoughts traveled back to last year’s event, which I attended during my own active treatment, bandanna wrapped around my chemo-bald head. On that gray day a year ago I felt as bad as the cold fog and drizzle that enshrouded the steps.

But last Sunday, bathed in sunshine, I shook off a year and a half of living with breast cancer treatment. I gathered with a large team from my kids’ high school, faculty and students together. I was there to give and gain support and to advance LBBC’s mission of bringing patients together with resources throughout the journey, one that can thankfully now include many years of health beyond treatment.

Cancer survivors have long had an intuitive sense that yoga helps body and mind, but now we have studies to prove it. In March, the Journal of Clinical Oncology published a study of 191 breast cancer patients by researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. It linked yoga to improvements in self-reported quality of life, including measures of mood, pain and fatigue. Practicing yoga also appeared to help regulate the stress hormone cortisol, which is tied to poor survival among breast cancer patients.

Aware of these unique qualities of yoga, Living Beyond Breast Cancer has held Yoga on the Steps as its signature fundraising event since 2001, and in recent years has expanded to other cities — this July in Kansas City and September in Denver. Last year, LBBC, the Ardmore-based national education and support organization, published a Guide to Understanding Yoga and Breast Cancer, detailing the benefits of yoga to coping with anxiety, fatigue, strength and body image.

But what exactly is it about yoga that helps? (more…)

Yoga on the Steps: Philadelphia Kickoff!

January 15, 2014

Yoga Peach YOTSReturning blogger, yogi and friend of LBBC, Keli Engelson -aka Yoga Peach- dishes about her excitement and passion for Yoga on the Steps and raising funds for people affected by breast cancer. Want to join in? Register Today!

On May 18, 2014 LBBC will host it’s signature education and fundraising event Yoga on the Steps on the historic steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.  The one hour class is an all-levels yoga class and afterwards participants are encouraged to attend the Healthy Living Expo where local and national health and fitness vendors display their products and services.   Information about local area nonprofit and service organizations is also provided. Yoga on the Steps educates communities about healthy living and quality of life issues and all funds will benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s education and support resources.

I’m looking forward to this year’s event.  I am extremely passionate about yoga and being able to volunteer, raise funds and share something I love with the community to support LBBC is meaningful to me. This will be my third year to attend Yoga on the Steps.  The energy of nearly 2,000 people gathering on the steps of the art museum to support LBBC is an exciting and moving experience. It is extremely fulfilling to combine health and wellness for such an important cause so I hope to see even more people at Yoga on the Steps in Philadelphia this year!

Keli Engleson, “Yoga Peach” is a registered yoga instructor, certified birth doula, and triathlete.   She also arranges destination weddings and yoga retreats in Belize.  Keli enjoys blogging about yoga, health and wellness.  She also shares healthy recipes and personal stories through her journey in yoga and fitness.  http://www.yogapeach.com

Our New Vision and Mission

August 20, 2013

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This morning, Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s CEO Jean Sachs released the following message to our friends and supporters:

Dear Friends:

All of us at Living Beyond Breast Cancer are excited to share our new vision and mission statements with you:

Our new vision

A world where no one impacted by breast cancer feels uninformed or alone.

Our new mission

To connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support.

These new statements were developed with the help of over 1,200 of you who responded to a survey we sent out earlier this year. Your input was used in a day-long retreat with members of the board of directors and staff. We learned what LBBC services are valued most and why so many have come to depend on our educational programs and services that allow for connection to others diagnosed with breast cancer.

For me, these new statements say with clarity what we strive to do every day and what we hope to achieve over time. Yesterday, I spoke with a long-time friend who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  She was overwhelmed, scared and shocked. Our conversation and the resources I was able to put in her hands grounded her and provided her with enough comfort and confidence to take the next step.

This is what LBBC does every day, and it is exactly what the new vision and mission statements express.

I hope you share my enthusiasm and, as always, if you have comments I would love to hear from you.

Warmly,

Jean 

Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP

Chief Executive Officer

LBBC

YOGA ON THE STEPS: WASHINGTON, DC REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

March 13, 2013

 

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Registration is now open for Yoga on the Steps: Washington DC, the signature education and fundraising event for Haverford, PA-based nonprofit Living Beyond Breast Cancer.  The event is scheduled to take place rain or shine beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13 on the northeast quadrant of The Washington Monument.  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,” explains Jenna Jackson, LBBC’s special events manager.  “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.” t is scheduled to take place rain or shine beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13 on the northeast quadrant of The Washington Monument.  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.

What has grown into LBBC’s signature education and fundraising event began after Schelter’s friend and student, Courtney Kapp, was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Kapp 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,” says Sachs, “thousands of people, most with no formal training, annually attend Yoga on the Steps in different cities 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 we’ve been seeing, especially over the last few years, really confirm the relevance of Yoga on the Steps,” states Sachs.

 

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,” explains Sachs.  “We’ve established annual events in Philadelphia, Washington, DC and Denver with Kansas City, Missouri recently named as our fourth Yoga on the Steps host city.”

“The increasing popularity of yoga is a big factor in the growing success of the event,” she continues. “But more than that, it’s LBBC’s reputation of sound fiscal management and the trust our supporters have in us that energizes Yoga on the Steps participants to fundraise for LBBC at the grassroots level. We maintain the lowest overhead possible for the event ensuring our 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 services. For eight consecutive years LBBC 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

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 kevin@lbbc.org. General Yoga on the Steps and Healthy Living Expo questions should be directed to Jackson by emailing jenna@lbbc.org. 

About

LBBC provides services designed to help improve quality of life for women who are newly diagnosed, in treatment, recovery, years beyond their diagnosis or living with metastatic breast cancer as well as resources for family, friends and caregivers.  National conferences, monthly teleconferences, regional community meetings, the Guides to Understanding Breast Cancer and a toll-free Survivors’ Helpline are examples of the services that are provided to help them make informed decisions for themselves and their families. 

If you are or someone you know is living with a history of breast cancer, regardless of stage of diagnosis, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or ability to pay, LBBC can help. For more information, visit lbbc.org to download a free copy of Empower, LBBC’s general information brochure or call (610) 645-4567.

A Reflection from Amy Annis

March 27, 2012

On May 20, Living Beyond Breast Cancer will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of its signature education and fundraising event, Yoga on the Steps.  In addition, this September LBBC will release “Yoga and Breast Cancer,” a new title in our expanding library of “Understanding Breast Cancer” guides. Recently, the blog introduced Amy Annis who wrote an intimate piece about her connection to yoga while in recovery. Due to some thoughtful questioning, Amy would like to share more accurately her knowledge of the yoga practice and the issue of Lymphedema in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Many survivors will tell you that in an odd way cancer is a gift. Of course it certainly doesn’t feel like that in the beginning. But many women, during and after diagnosis, pull up something deep from within themselves and become much stronger than they ever thought they could be. Subsequently, survivors are often perceived as courageous, partially because they are, and partially because they had to be. When you are given that kind of news it is an eyeball to eyeball with death moment, and most of us suit up with all of the strength we can muster and walk head first into treatment.

When I received my diagnosis, I admittedly crumpled at first but wasn’t given much time to wallow in pity and disbelief. Within weeks I was heading into chemo. That was by far the first big risk I took in this cancer journey. I say this because for a practicing yogini who typically led a very healthy life the idea of pumping poison into my veins felt really wrong. It was a health juxtaposition that messed with my mind and my spirit.

Throughout the next few months I had moments of panic where despite all of the great medical advice I was given I wanted to stop the whole process and retreat. During my treatment, Suzanne Sommers released a book suggesting that chemo was a pharmaceutical conspiracy and it just about put me over the edge. Every day I questioned myself and my very amazing medical team. And each time I had to eventually put myself back in the right frame of mind that I did not have total control, this was a process of eliminating cancer, and I needed to jump in full force.

After treatment, and as I mentioned in my prior blog, I used yoga as a means of recovery. My mat was my safe zone and I very slowly began to practice again. I discussed this process with my surgeon and oncologist and they both suggested that I needed to trust my instincts with the poses I chose. This was not a foreign concept at all. Years of yoga had taught me patience and I knew that you never push through pain. I was very familiar with the idea of listening to my body’s signals.

Following my mastectomy and node removal and familiar with the recommendations that you don’t incorporate certain poses initially, I inched my way from gentle restorative yoga towards a more vigorous practice. I say inched because it was a challenge for me; I wanted that strength back so bad. Tears of frustration were not uncommon. But after a period of several months of practicing modified poses, I was back on my mat holding my downward facing dog.

At this point in life I am literally doing hundreds of downward facing dogs. I am familiar with the risk of lymphedema in my right arm from this pose and have made the conscious choice to keep practicing it.  I also know that I can get lymphedema from flying, cutting my arm while gardening, or even an insect bite.  I will still fly to spend time with friends I love, hike in the great Northwood’s amongst mosquitoes, and practice downward facing dog. On the flip side, I will use the potential risk of lymphedema to get out of any gardening duties assigned (wink). But the decision to do certain yoga poses is a calculated risk I am willing to take. And so far the rewards have outweighed the risks big time.

Today I saw my surgeon for a check-up. He went over mammogram results, checked my arm and wrists for swelling, and spent a good deal of time up in my armpits. When he asked me to rise my arms he made mention of my incredible range of motion. And he asked me how the yoga biz was going. Before he left he reminded me of the aggressive nature of my form of cancer. It was the only somber moment in the room. Despite all of the rewards of living this very full life I will always face the possibility of cancer’s return.

Armed with this knowledge, I dig my heels into the ground a little further determined to practice yoga despite its potential risks for a patient with a history of breast cancer. As a teacher, I do my best to inform all my clients of any potential risks (understanding every physical activity has an element of it) only after I sing yoga’s praises. For me, and many of the clients that I work with, yoga has so far brought forth only benefits, not only of a healthy body but of a peaceful mind. And if someday I do get lymphedema, I won’t blame myself… or the yoga. I will find other ways to modify and practice, be at peace with the changes in my body, and continue to feel grateful for my amazing life.

After her bout with “crazy” cancer in 2009, Amy decided to take her dreams to the next level and developed her yoga retreat concept on beautiful Madeline Island, WI.  She also found her writing voice and recently launched her own blog.  As a yoga mamma, wife, outdoor enthusiast, and dog lover she delights in life a little off balance.  Lately, she is very grateful for hair. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Rachel: A Job Fit for Her

March 19, 2012

Introducing Rachel Pinkstone-Marx, the newest member of the Living Beyond Breast Cancer team. Rachel comes to LBBC with a variety of marketing skills. Best of all, as a certified yoga instructor, she’ll provide great insight for the planning of the Tenth Anniversary of Yoga on the Steps.

Joining the Marketing and Development team here at Living Beyond Breast Cancer was truly a matter of fate. How else do you explain an available position for a gal with a writing background, previous experience working for a non-profit, and a personal connection to the disease who is also a yoga teacher? Of course, that was not the exact criteria for the job, but I think it makes for a fantastic fit. Honestly though, my prior connection to the organization makes working here such a pleasure, and it’s because of that particular story that I know this is the place for me.

Five years ago I was introduced to a wonderful woman, Beatrice Marx, and five years ago, I was also introduced to LBBC. I never knew Bea without cancer, and yet she never let it define her. She was a woman focused on maintaining her quality of life and providing other women like her with an inspiring example of how to truly live with cancer. Her relationship with LBBC was a huge part of that and the resources that this organization provides made such a impact on her–whether it was while in treatment when she needed the help or during her strongest days as she volunteered on the helpline.

The message of LBBC, “empowering all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life,” is why I am here and why I am happy to be here. Bea (who three years after our meeting became my mother-in-law) proved every day that she was a mother, a wife, a friend, a yoga teacher, a reiki-master, a novice knitter, a dog lover and so many other things WHILE she had cancer and the people here at LBBC helped her do just that. Walking through these doors every morning to be a part of that process—helping women living with breast cancer to live with confidence and courage—is an honor. Being able to give back to the community here at LBBC that proved its value one-hundred times over to my own family is worth more than I can mention. So I will pump up my support, I’ll ramp up my fundraising, and I will be here for those women—whether they’ve just been diagnosed, are five years in remission or living with metastatic cancer—because I’ve seen what this organization provides and I know I want to be a part of that. That’s the kind of serendipity that you don’t let pass you by.

My position at LBBC is meaningful

March 23, 2011

This entry was written by Jeanne Egan, LBBC’s Special Events Manager. Jeanne is excited managing Yoga on the Steps, LBBC’s signature fundraising event:

I just wanted to take this opportunity to formally introduce myself to the LBBC community. I am the new Special Events Manager and I am thrilled to be part of such a wonderful organization.  It is my second full week of work and I have already learned so much.  It has been exhilarating and a bit overwhelming too, but in a good way. 

I too, was diagnosed with breast cancer. My goal transitioning back into the work force is to remember my yoga during the day and breathe through those tough moments that will ultimately arise.  I also have to continue to make time for my practice since it has been such an essential part of my recovery.  Fortunately, LBBC has many upcoming yoga events available for those of us interested in yoga as part of a healthy lifestyle.

The first event we have coming up is tommorrow’s community meeting.  At this meeting,  Michelle Stortz, CYT, CMT, MFA, will share how yoga can help you cope with and recover from stress, fatigue and pain caused by breast cancer treatment and its side effects.  During this program, participants will:

  • Discover the healthful benefits of yoga both during and after treatment
  • Participate in a seated yoga class
  • Learn about LBBC’s fundraiser Yoga on the Steps

Comfortable dress and a towel are recommended.

The event is going to be held from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Cherry Hill Library in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  This program is free and you can register by calling (610) 645-4567. Walk-ins are welcome.

Our next big yoga event is one that is near and dear to my heart. On May 15th, join LBBC and countless breast cancer supporters for our signature fundraising event, Yoga on the Steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  At this event people of all ages and skill levels participate in an hour-long yoga class and a Healthy Living Expo. The schedule is as follows:

  • 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Registration & Check-In
  • 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Program & Yoga Class
  • 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  – Closing & Healthy Living Expo

To date we have forty four teams registered and we are looking for more!  You can reach out to your school community, your church, your health club and of course your yoga studio to form a team.  Our teams have been fundraising by doing community yoga classes or Barefoot Balls, partnering with local businesses by hosting an event where the proceeds go to your team, and even baking. Another way to raise funds is to have a “dress down” day at your office and ask everyone to bring in a donation for your team.   You can also ask your friends to donate even if they are not participating. Be creative, have fun and raise funds!

lbbc, yoga on the steps, yoga unites, philadelphia museum of art, yoga

Join us on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for an interactive outdoor yoga class. Help us raise funds and awareness for women and families in need of services that will help them reach breast cancer recovery. Register today!

Dr. Kathryn Schmitz to discuss exercise benefits for cancer patients at ASCO annual meeting

May 28, 2010

This entry is by LBBC staff member Stacia Weaver:

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is hosting its annual meeting in one week. Over 30,000 clinicians will be in attendance at the annual meeting responding to and offering information as it relates to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. LBBC caught up with Dr. Kathryn Schmitz who was invited to speak at the meeting. She will be presenting guidelines for exercise testing and prescription for all cancer patients that were developed as part of an expert panel organized by the American College of Sports Medicine.

“Doctors are concerned about the best things for their patients. There was a time, not so many decades ago, when cancer patients didn’t live as long as they do now, so doctors were teaching ‘take it easy,’ says Dr. Kathryn Schmitz as she discusses why most doctors don’t associate exercise with being the best option for cancer patients.

Dr. Schmitz conducts research that is based on the findings of the benefits of physical activity. While she targets those who suffer from obesity, she also has extended research to women affected by breast cancer as well. Dr. Schmitz recruited 295 women to take part in her PAL (Physical Activity and Lymphedema) Trial where she assessed the safety of moderate strength training for women with or at risk for lymphedema, painful swelling and stiffness of one of two arms.

Treatment for cancer patients has evolved from when doctors didn’t consider exercise a “very wise treatment.” Although most side effects from treatment are a reflection of individual medical responses, many side effects are a result of chemotherapy. Primarily, doctors rely on medication to assist their patients with side effects of treatment and are more reluctant to “prescribe” exercise.

However, there are ample research studies that have demonstrated benefits of physical activity from studies such as PAL or WTBS (Weight Training for Breast cancer Survivors). But according to Dr. Schmitz, translating the results of these trials into interventions that doctors know about, trust, and are within the financial means of cancer survivors remains a major challenge.  Doctors are challenged to cover all that they need to cover medically with their patients in short office visits, so it’s not surprising that they don’t remember to tell women to exercise too.

“Women need to discuss side effects and medical treatments and other important clinical issues with their physicians. By the time all that is done, it’s possible the appointment has run over the allotted time by 5 minutes or more.  On top of this, doctors are supposed to say ‘oh, there’s an exercise you can do?’ There just isn’t enough time,” she said.

According to exercise psychologist and physiologist, Karen Mustian, yoga may help cancer patients with treatment side effects. Dr. Mustian was the lead author in a study that revealed that yoga had sustainable benefits on sleep quality, fatigue, and overall quality of life in cancer survivors. A total of 96% of the participants of the study were women and 75% of them had breast cancer.

“What’s lovely about this study is that Karen went through the oncologists. The challenge with dealing with cancer patients is getting clinicians involved. If you have patients saying ‘I want to do the yoga poses used in that study from the University of Rochester, or the PAL trial weight training program’ the oncologists have to know that it’s safe,” said Dr. Schmitz as she acknowledges Dr. Mustian’s efforts to “connect the dots with the oncologists.”

“People [cancer patients] are living, and for a long time, particularly breast cancer patients. It turns out the talk of ‘take it easy’ is associated with worse risk than exercise itself. In my opinion, [doctors] should stop recommending patients avoid exercise,” says Dr. Schmitz.

There is one message that Dr. Schmitz and “a team of people who do this work” are focused on and are aiming to transmit to physicians: safety. “The most important message is [physical activity] is safe. Until we can make physicians believe it is safe and prove it is safe, there will always be ‘take it easy.’ Until we provide information to physicians that women want this, women benefit from this and women will not be harmed, nothing will change,” she ends.

Dr. Schmitz has heard from people across the world who are pleased with the programs that LBBC provides. She has even offered to help LBBC promote more physical activity programs on a day to day basis for women affected by breast cancer.

To hear about the latest findings revealed at ASCO’s annual meeting, register for LBBC’s teleconference scheduled for June 11th: Breaking News from ASCO.

Have you just finished treatment and you’re suffering from the side effects? Schedule a visit with your physician to talk about the best exercise for you! Already partaking in physical activity after treatment? Tell us what works for you on our facebook page.

Hakuna Ma Ta Ta’s

March 15, 2010

This entry was written by Ann Kaczmarskyj, a Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer supporter:

In the past six years, my mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer four times. This past year, I decided to participate in as many breast cancer events as possible during the last year of my 20’s. I found Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and signed up. It was one of my favorite events, and I decided I had to do it again! However, I wanted to do more, so I’m recruiting others to join me. That’s how my fundraising team, Hakuna Ma TATA’s, was born.
My motto has always been, “don’t worry about it until you’re given something to worry about.” I’ve kept this in mind each time my mother was diagnosed. It helps me focus on the positive. Naturally, I wanted to incorporate it into my participation. After all, who can forget a name like Hakuna Ma TATA’s?

This event is my way of doing something for my mother, and all the other women and supporters affected by breast cancer. I’ve never heard of an event that promotes breast cancer awareness through yoga in such a public setting. What a great way to get the message out—on the steps of a major tourist attraction! At last year’s event, I performed yoga on the top step of the Philadelphia Art Museum. I remember looking down at all the other participants and being amazed by the quiet. It’s not often you’re in a city and its quiet. I was touched by the moment and the fact that we were all there for the same reason.

Am I a yoga professional? Absolutely not. But I went out there and had a great time. The instructor gave alternatives for beginners like me. Even if you can’t perform yoga, just relax and take in the peace of the city. You’re there for a good cause and watching the class on the steps is just as breathtaking as participating in it.

My mother has been a pillar of strength in our family. By participating in Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, I’m being strong for her. I’m also being strong for the men and women that have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and for the thousands of men and women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Instead of sitting around worrying about what could happen, I’m taking action to help change what will happen. After all, worry gets you nowhere. Will you join me?

Hakuna MaTaTa!

 

Ann and her mother Martha

 

Help us raise $200,000 for the nearly 200,000 women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year by registering for this event and forming a fundraising team. You don’t have to live in Philly to get involved! Why not form a team in honor or memory of a loved one, like Ann?

One Song

March 3, 2010

This entry was written by Beatrice Marx, a breast cancer survivor, yoga instructor and LBBC volunteer:

Yoga has always been a part of my life, but it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with breast cancer that I dove deeper into its roots. I found that yoga could help me cope with my newly changed life. It became a significant factor in how I approach my health and my life.

Like many, I initially tried yoga for its physical aspects. The mantras, affirmations and the meditation didn’t interest me. I just knew that I wanted to beat breast cancer and to not let it change me. If anything, I wanted to grow because of it. I wanted to make a positive out of a negative. As I practiced yoga after my first surgery, I focused on regaining strength and flexibility and slowly began to realize the beautiful connection between my breath, body and mind. I felt that I could get through anything with grace and dignity.

As a woman living with breast cancer there are many long waits, doctor visits, test results, scans, the “chemo chair”, etc. As you wait, you watch your loved ones go through the waiting along with you. What gave me peace during this time was focusing on my breathing. Even if you have never tried yoga before, we have all had moments where we’re aware of our breathing. I recommend breath awareness to all, especially to those diagnosed with breast cancer. Close your eyes and just follow your breathing. Follow it as it travels through your body and find it as it calms and relaxes every muscle and nerve. Feel the smile as it slowly creeps over your face. This is yoga. Peace in any situation.

Each day, I put one foot in front of the other as best I can. All of us are awakening to health and to joy at our own rate. Sometimes a discomfort brings us into a much deeper connection with who we truly are and allows new blessings to enter our lives unexpectedly. It is my wish for all women to realize their potential for grace and healing. We are all part of one song with many melodies. Sometimes joyful, sometimes sad, but the song continues and so must we.

 

Beatrice at last year’s event

Will you be apart of something bigger than yourself? Help us raise $200,000 for women affected by breast cancer at the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The first 50 people to register and form a fundraising team during March will receive a free watch from White House Black Market! Check out our Facebook page for more details.


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