Yoga on the Steps: Philadelphia is almost here!

YogaPeachThis Sunday May 19th,LBBC will host it’s signature education and fundraising event Yoga on the Steps: Philadelphia for the 11th year in a row! The one hour long all-levels yoga class will take place on the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum and afterwards guests are encouraged to attend the Healthy Living Expo where local and national health and fitness vendors display their products and services. 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. Here, Keli Engleson tells us about her first Yoga on the Steps and why she feels it’s such a great experience…

I’m really looking forward to the event!  It makes me so happy to combine yoga and fitness with community and charity organizations.  I am dedicated to health and wellness and being able to make a difference through events centered around the mind and body while supporting an important cause is an incredible feeling.

Last year was Yoga on the Step’s 10th anniversary and it was my first year to attend the event.  The energy of over 1,700 people gathering on the steps of the Art Museum to support LBBC was moving and powerful.  The class itself was excellent and it was amazing looking around and taking in the sea of colorful yoga mats as we all moved as individuals yet at the same time, together as a group, united for a cause we all believe to be important.

After the class, participants and supporters enjoyed fresh foods and beverages and strolled through the Healthy Living Expo which featured event sponsors, yoga & fitness studios, healthful foods, recipe books, natural products and information about local area nonprofit and service organizations. The food provided was great and the vendors were friendly and helpful.

I hope to see even more people participate in Yoga on the Steps this year. We’re supporting such an important organization while having such a fun time.  If you haven’t been to the event in the past, make sure to be there this year!

Love, health, peace, and happiness to all.

Namaste.

Keli Engleson

Keli Engleson, “Yoga Peach,” is a registered yoga instructor and certified birth doula the Philadelphia area.  As a doula, Keli provides birth services and support throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and the postpartum period.   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

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Finding My Center

April Tegeler Bio PictureDon’t forget, Yoga on the Steps Philadelphia is less than two weeks away! Here, April Tegeler, a self proclaimed Yoga on the Steps ‘newbie’ and participant in this year’s DC event, shares her story about her breast cancer diagnosis, her relationship with LBBC and why she feels Yoga on the Steps is an event anyone with ties to breast cancer or yoga should experience!

I have always aspired to living a healthy lifestyle.  Growing up I was that person who promised to always eat right and exercise earning my right to a healthier me.  Sometimes, despite our best efforts, life gets in the way and we find ourselves walking down a very different path than we initially planned for ourselves.  Two and a half years ago, I started down that path as a breast cancer patient but found my way through to survivorship with the help of this wonderful organization known as LBBC, Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer has so much to offer women and loved ones who are affected with breast cancer.  It provided comfort to me when I felt that I had nowhere else to turn.  Facing diagnosis at 38 years of age, Living Beyond Breast Cancer provided an outlet through peer matching and the survivorship helpline which established connections with other women, lessening my fears of solitude in my struggles as a mother of two young children battling breast cancer while still trying to raise a family.  Their informative website was an invaluable resource which enabled me to best prepare both emotionally and intelligently for my fight against breast cancer.  Each time I visit this website I am continually empowered with the amount of support which is offered through LBBC.

Speaking of LBBC lending support to the breast cancer community, one of the events that they are hosting is Yoga on the Steps in Washington DC this upcoming June.  Time and time again, yoga has proven to promote positive health benefits for women struggling with breast cancer.  As I said before, a healthy lifestyle has always been a long term goal for me.  While I do not consider myself part of the yoga community, I am very excited about this opportunity to participate in such an important event.  As a newbie to this program, I am continually inspired by hearing past participant’s stories of camaraderie, peace and joy found through attending this event.  Living vicariously through the memories of these other people, I can only hope to have as nurturing and empowering of an experience through doing yoga with other breast cancer survivors, families and caregivers  touched by this disease.

I am honored to be a part of such a worthwhile event, raising money for programs to continue growing and facilitating the support necessary to help women and families who are seeking guidance.  All the while working towards better quality of life and coming together as a strong community unified through one common purpose while sharing the benefits of yoga.  It doesn’t get better than that.   I hope that you will join me in this rewarding event and help support women lead more empowering lives through the help of LBBC.

April Tegeler is a school counselor by trade and a stay at home mom by choice.   She decided to take a break from counseling to allow her the privilege of staying at home with her kids and sharing in the opportunities provided to them as they grow.   When she is not busy taking care of them, she enjoys reading books, riding her bike and spending time by the waterside.  Now that her children are both in elementary school she is looking forward to revisiting her counseling roots and becoming more involved in LBBC.

Click here to register or donate to LBBC’s Yoga on the Steps event which will be held in Philadelphia, DC, Kansas City and Denver in 2013.

Posted in Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Mothers, Yoga, Yoga on the Steps, Young Women | Tagged | 1 Comment

Breast Cancer as Guru: Using Yoga to Heal the Body and Connect With Spirit

amy yoga picLiving Beyond Breast Cancer and Yoga on the Steps would like to introduce Amy Fleischer, a spirited DC yogi! Amy will be attending Yoga on the Steps DC for the very first time this year so be sure to check back after the event on June 13th for a detailed account of her experience!

Health is something that most people take for granted.  When you’re healthy, you rarely stop to think about your body and all the miraculous things it does every single day, without you even telling it what to do.  It moves, breathes, detoxifies, regenerates, heals, grows, thinks, circulates…all on its own.  But what happens when you get sick and your body doesn’t “work” like it’s supposed to?

Illness, especially an illness like cancer, often serves as a “wake up” call for us to take better care of ourselves.  A chance to slow down, check in, and maybe even change our lifestyles, habits and priorities.  As someone who has dealt with chronic health issues, yoga has helped me tremendously.  And I hope it can help you too.

Yoga gives us permission to slow down and feel what’s really going on inside our bodies.  Whether you’re recovering from an injury or being treated for breast cancer, yoga practice allows you to move more deeply into your body and connect with your innermost self.  Take a basic pose like Tadasana (Mountain Pose) for example.  When you’re standing in Tadasana, you are grounded, stable, and strong.  No matter what is going on in your life or around you, when you’re in Mountain Pose you are rooted, active, and alive.  Nothing can shake you.  As you press your feet into the Earth, the muscles of your body engage and energy begins to move up your body, through your spine to the crown of your head.

That’s the power of yoga.  It’s a way to access our “energetic” bodies through the physical body.  Even when the physical body is sick, tired, or run down, we can still benefit from yoga.  Maybe we incorporate pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, or yoga philosophy into our yoga practice.  Yoga philosophy teaches us that obstacles and challenges are really opportunities for growth and transformation.

Is there something you’ve learned about yourself as a woman diagnosed with breast cancer that you didn’t realize before? Are you more compassionate or patient with yourself? Have you incorporated yoga or meditation into a new health care regimen? Are  you finding more equanimity in your life, even when things aren’t going your way? Has your illness allowed you the chance to help others?

Remember, it’s important to give yourself permission to rest, slow down, and breathe.  Whether its yoga, a walk in the park, or a good meal with a friend, use this time to connect with your inner guru and divine spirit.

Namaste,

Amy

Amy Fleischer, RYT 200, is a yoga practitioner living in the DC-Metro area.  She studies and practices Iyengar yoga at Unity Woods Yoga Center (www.unitywoods.com) and enjoys anything yoga-related.  Her passions are nature, kirtan, cooking and eating good food, and exploring new places.  You can read her blog at www.hillblues.org/dcyogini or contact her at Arfleis@gmail.com.

Posted in Breast Cancer, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Meditation, Women's Health, Yoga, Yoga on the Steps | 1 Comment

Something Different: A Holistic Approach To Breast Cancer

DianaDiana Ross is an E-RYT 500, Certified Yoga Therapist, Certified KaliRay TriYoga teacher and Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.  She has over 20,000 teaching hours and over 1,500 hours of teacher training. Her credentials, certifications and experience has made her an expert in her field of yoga study. 

 Diana was a yoga center owner for many years but decided that she needed to serve the breast cancer community. Through her own experience and teaching expertise she decided this is where she wanted to serve and share her knowledge. Diana, her sister, two sister-in-laws and first cousin, as well as friends and students are breast cancer survivors. Diana has learned from personal experience on how to heal naturally through yoga, eating a plant based diet, using herbs and resting. As a  Herbal Enthusiast, Diana has also studied medicinal plants and herbal remedies extensively for many years. Diana uses her therapeutic knowledge of botanical formulas with her family, friends and students. 

Diagnosed throughout my teens, 20s and into my 30s with cystic breasts, I didn’t give it much thought when I went to visit my doctor and she felt something suspicious. I had just finished college. I was a single mom with a teenager and had a whole new life planned out; not breast cancer. Well, the words were spoken that the suspicious lump was in fact cancer and the biopsy confirmed it.  What to do?  I was diagnosed with Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). It is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast. I was lucky, DCIS is considered the earliest form of breast cancer.

I dealt with my cancer a little differently then some. See I just graduated college with a degree in physical education & health; plus a contractual degree in holistic health. I was vegan, did yoga and meditation. How did this happen? Radiation was so contrary to what I believed in, and I could not afford any down time. There was no backup. It was just me and my daughter. I decided to have the lump removed and dig deeper into an optimum healthy lifestyle. More yoga and meditation, raw foods and cleanses. Now I do not recommend this to anyone with cancer. It was right for me and where I was at the time. I believe in self care, and I believe knowledge is power. Well as you can see I am still here. I stopped going to my doctor because each and every time I went he ran multiple test and directed me to have an MRI or ultra sound. It became too stressful.

Today I have witnessed how prevalent breast cancer would become in my family and in my future. Later on my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, my sister-in-laws and my husband’s first cousin (whom I adore).  My classes are full with survivors and I still recommend people praying or meditating on what feels right for them, who can you trust and ultimately believing that you are your own health advisor.  I have had a few scares but I still am committed to a healthy vegan lifestyle, lots of yoga, meditation and add music to the list. I love music; it has a soul.

As a professional yoga teacher I have turned my attention to service, SEVA. I know I can make a difference in someone’s life; even if only simple changes are introduced.  Like using a dry brush, breathing correctly and staying positive. It all counts towards the whole recovery. Community also plays a large part in recovery. Women love being with women. They share with each other and they care for one another.

Bottom line? Life is good.

Make sure to visit Diana’s Breast Cancer Yoga website! Also, if you haven’t already, register for your cities’ Yoga on the Steps here!

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2013 is the 9th Yoga On The Steps for This Philly Yogi!

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As a student of yoga for over twelve years, I have been blessed with many special moments. Moments when my mind settled, fears disappeared, my body felt right at home in a pose and I felt true presence. Over the years, my practice helped me navigate the ups and downs of life, challenges of parenting teenagers, struggles with aging parents and healing from the death of loved ones. Along the way, I found that my yoga practice gave me the tools to meet life as it comes rather than resist and struggle as I had done for so many years. My dedicated practice led to a career teaching yoga in gyms, schools, studios and shelters. I witnessed the physical, mental and emotional strength that yoga cultivated in me and my students.

I have been fortunate to participate in amazing yoga trainings and practice yoga in exotic locations from the beaches of Hawaii to the Rocky Mountains. It is thrilling to strike a familiar pose in new beautiful space. Eight years ago, I had the opportunity to stand on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum and practice yoga with several hundred others. This was at Yoga on The Steps, an outdoor yoga event created by the incomparable Jennifer Schelter and Living Beyond Breast Cancer to benefit women in all stages of breast cancer to “live beyond” the diagnosis. It was a powerful and transformative day for me. As a native Philadelphian, the steps were sacred ground and the streets of Philadelphia were my playground. As I stood in tree pose, gazing down the Parkway to the statue of William Penn, I felt at home. Home in my body, home in this beautiful city, at home surrounded by yogis celebrating this moment.

Each year, I return to the steps for this amazing day. I have watched the event grow from a few hundred participants to over a thousand. Last year, Living Beyond Breast Cancer raised over $318, 000 for programs and services that support women living with this disease. My team, Seva Power Yoga, raised $6000 last year for LBBC. We are confident that this year we can do more through fundraising and sharing the benefits of yoga with everyone including people affected by cancer, family members and caregivers. Will you join me?

Warmly,

Colleen DeVirgiliis

Seva Power Yoga

Join Colleen and Seva Power Yoga at Yoga on the Steps on Sunday, May 19 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and register today!

 

Colleen DeVirgiliis ERYT, Certified Baptiste Instructor has been practicing yoga for twelve years and teaching for the past ten years. She was initially certified to teach Power Vinyasa Yoga and holds the ERYT 200 hour certification recognized by Yoga Alliance. She is a Certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa teacher and has studied extensively with national teachers. Colleen believes that the practice of yoga is an endless process of self discovery and growth. She has trained to teach all levels of student including those beginning the journey, students dealing with trauma and addiction, prisoners, at risk youth and cancer patients. In 2010, she opened Seva Power Yoga in West Chester in the hopes of spreading the light of yoga and serving the community. Colleen loves to share her passion for yoga and considers it a gift to be a part of the yoga community.  She believes in the healing power and therapeutic benefits of a regular yoga practice. Each day she is inspired by her students and is grateful for a practice that continues to be a source of inspiration, joy and growth.

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Great Office Fundraising Tips For Your Yoga On The Steps Team!

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Are you looking for ways to get your company involved in your fundraising for Yoga on the Steps? There’s lots of ways to raise money right from the comfort of your own office!

Here are some ideas:

 Company Dress Down Day

  • Anyone who donates $10 or more can wear jeans on a Friday.

Gummy Bracelets

  • Anyone who donates $5 or more can receive a purple Living Beyond Breast Cancer wrist band.

After Work Happy Hour

  • Ask a local pub or restaurant to host a happy hour after work. The bar can charge $25 for a two hour open bar and give your team $10 back for each person.

Office Karma Class/Barefoot Ball

  • Recruit an instructor to donate their time and do an office yoga class in a community room or large conference room. You can ask each person for a suggested donation of $15-20. (If you need help identifying a yoga instructor please contact Brittaney at BShade@lbbc.org)

Breakfast Sale

  • Everyone needs breakfast! Buy a box of donuts or bagels on the way to work, and sell them at the office for $1 each

Extra Vacation Day Raffle

  • Ask your company/boss to sell raffle tickets (suggested amount $20 per ticket) for an extra paid vacation day. All proceeds goes toward your fundraising efforts!

Health Competition

  • Hold an office weight loss/fitness challenge with a specific entry fee.  At the end of the challenge, half the proceeds go to the winner and half go to Rally!

Office 50/50 Raffle

  • One lucky person gets half of all the money taken. The other half of course goes to the cause. The more tickets that are sold – the bigger the jackpot!

Volunteers

  • Employees can sign up as event volunteers if they are not interested in doing the class.

Book Sale

  • Sell old or slightly used books donated by employees and sell them for $1.00 to $5.00 each depending on the title and condition of books.

Gift Basket Auction or Raffle

  • Ask vendors, favorite stores and colleagues to donate items to make gift baskets – basket of cheer, beauty basket, sports basket, etc. and sell raffle tickets for $2 per ticket or 3 tickets for $5.

Department Challenge

  • Everyone is a little competitive. Winner gets bragging rights! Post the results on your companies’
  • intranet site or company newsletter!

Change your email Signature

  • Tell everyone you e-mail that you’re participating in Yoga on the Steps by creating a creating an e-mail signature for your work account with a link to your fundraising page. You’d be surprised how many vendors or clients will support you!

** Matching Gifts**

  • Does your team or a teammates company match gifts? It’s easy money!

Don’t forget, using the online fundraising option at www.yogaonthesteps.org is the quickest and easiest way to track your fundraising efforts!

Happy Fundraising!

Posted in Breast Cancer, Daughters, Family, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Uncategorized, Women's Health, Yoga, Yoga on the Steps, Young Women | Leave a comment

YOGA ON THE STEPS: WASHINGTON, DC REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

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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.

Posted in Breast Cancer, Daughters, Family, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Meditation, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Mothers, Triple Negative Breast Cancer, Uncategorized, Women's Health, Women's Issues, Yoga, Yoga on the Steps, Young Women | Leave a comment