Pottstown’s High Street Yoga; Room to Stretch, Quiet to Reflect

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yoga on the Steps 2011 and Team Tri-County for a Cure – The Journey

Yesterday was my second trip to Yoga on the Steps in Philadelphia and was just as memorable as the first.

Last May I stumbled upon a link to the event on Facebook and on a whim went with two friends. We were blown away and decided to create a team. Because we live in Pottstown, a small community and a 45 minute drive (with no traffic) to Philadelphia we decided to open up the team to the tri-county area.

I’ve never done any team events or fundraising for a cause so this was all very to me. Carrie, Joy and I, the original three, decided to start with a grass roots approach to recruiting our team. We called, Facebooked and e-mailed every local friend, family and yogi we knew. I contacted other local yoga instructors and yoga studios to join in. In the end we were 26 yogis strong including 7 yoga instructors, myself and Maryann Fitzmeyer from High Street Yoga, Dorian Able, Healing Yoga, Stephanie Smolik
Yoga for Everybelly, Joanne Lins, Sara Riley, and Luan Liberatori recently certified Yoga instructor for the Deaf.

Creating a team, recruiting members, fundraising and communicating to the team, involved logistics and time. Thrown in with my three children and their sports and school schedules, a husband that travels A LOT, a massage therapy practice and a yoga studio, my life can get pretty busy. But throughout it all I kept in mind words of Abraham Hicks You cannot have a happy ending to a miserable journey.

Not sure where to begin or how to get started, Carrie, Joy and I each took on a task that we were each good at. Joy, an artist and teacher, designed our amazing logo and team t-shirts. Carrie created beautiful pink breast cancer/yoga inspired jewelry and donated proceeds of each piece to the team. I taught Yoga for a Cure class accompanied by live harp music. In the words of Carrie we ‘did what we love” The spirit of community and giving continued. Team mates organized events including; Hip Hip Hooray a Yoga Class taught by Dorian Able, Rita’s for a Cure and Special Sales of Angels and Hope at
Kaleidoscope Angels where proceeds benefited the team. Our biggest and most amazing event was the video project created by Melia of Pricelss Moments by Melia. The event created awareness and got the community involved. The efforts of our team were recognized by LBBC as we were announced the team with the most Community Involvement and that was exactly my intention.

The morning of the event we met in the parking lot of the Coventry Mall and piled into 4 vans. We picked up two more team mates in Collegeville and headed into Philadelphia. For me it was exciting to share the experience with a group, many who had never been to Yoga on the Steps. We arrived, registered, settled into our space and had enjoyed our happy ending to the wonderful journey.

The weather held out as we were instructed by Jennifer Schelter. This year, 10 women shared their stories while we held yoga poses for up to 2 minutes. I cried through each story and was inspired by the strength and courage of each woman. I walked away once again with the reminder to live life to its fullest.

When it was time to leave I wasn’t really ready to end this journey. We hugged at the museum and hugged again at the Coventry Mall. New friendships were forged and plans made to attend other yoga events together. My newsfeed on FB continues to show Tri-County friends connecting. I love seeing the new pictures uploaded and the video created by Anne. I love the feeling of community and working together for one cause.

I look forward to many more years with Team Tri-County and Yoga on the Steps. Thank you Living Beyond Breast Cancer for all the work that you do, for creating this event, for supporting our team and for answering all of my calls, e-mails and FB questions!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yoga/Breast Cancer Video 'around Pottstown'

Over the past several months I have been busy with a yoga video project which began as a conversation in my morning yoga class. In the midst of a 30 Day Yoga Challenge, a participant shared that she does Tree Pose in the grocery store while standing in line. During prayer squat one day I shared a story about my husband traveling to Indonesia and noticing that people wait in line doing prayer squat. This evolved into ‘wouldn’t it be fun to do yoga poses in random places around Pottstown and take pictures’

Throughout the long winter, during each class someone would comment or giggle about a certain pose we could do in a location in Pottstown. We dreamed for spring to come and decided it would be our spring project. Before long, the idea began to grow and evolve into raising awareness and funds for our Yoga team Tri-County for a Cure that is attending Yoga on the Steps on Sunday May 15th. Suddenly the project became much greater then ourselves and became something both fun and meaningful.

My good friend and the most talented and creative person I know, Melia Rios-Lazo from Priceless Moments by Melia offered to donate her time and photography skills toward the project. She was suffering the loss of a good friend that just passed away because from breast cancer and felt very drawn to the cause.

Fellow team mate, friend and owner of Hammi Jammi Jewlery and I hit the streets of Pottstown and scheduled Business Owners and Pottstown leaders for their photo shoot. After everyone stopped laughing about doing yoga, each agreed to try. The support and enthusiasm was amazing.

We had 3 days scheduled for pictures and ended up adding on two more. Fellow yogis’ from Pottstown and the surrounding areas joined us each day to help teach and join in with the pictures. Most of the sessions were scheduled and we grabbed unsuspecting strangers along the way. Each day of the filming was energizing, fun and powerful. We quickly realized how many people knew someone that was affected by breast cancer.

Some of my favorite scenes include, waiting in line for the bus in prayer squat, because it is what sparked this whole crazy journey. I had fun with the cab drivers, the mayor and the students at Montco. When I look at the pictures and the http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifdiversity of the people involved I am proud to live and work in Pottstown. When I look at the picture at the farmers market I am so happy to see Daniel, the young Mennonite Farmer who joined us. We had so much fun with the kids from the YWCA and the Pottstown Senior Center. I can’t really sum up my favorite picture or moment. I am just proud to have been a part of this great project.

I’ve watched the video at least 50 times and still laugh and cry each time. Please take the time to watch it until the end. I hope this video touches you too. Click on the link to view.