Why You Should Be at the Philadelphia Museum of Art This Sunday

Yoga outside. On the Art Museum steps. With more than 600 Philadelphians. For Breast Cancer Awareness. Enough said, right?

You might think so, but there is more! This Sunday, May 16th, marks the 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Join me and more than 600 other Philadelphians from 8:30am-12:30pm on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s stairs. And, yes, you can still sign up. And here’s why I think you should!

Not only do you get to be part of one of the largest outdoor yoga classes in the world (and at a national landmark, to boot) you also get to be part of an emerging health revolution taking place in Philadelphia, says Jennifer Schelter, co-founder of Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer and lead teacher for the event. The event features a healthy living expo, yummy food, great yoga clothes, live music and, get this, a “bra bar” sponsored by Olga and Warner’s. That’s right! Each registered participant who has raised money or donated will get a bra. Woo hoo! Listen, if you have never taken a yoga class before, this is the perfect time to see what all the buzz is about!

“Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer has become a very spiritual way to honor a life touched by breast cancer,” says event coordinator Lauren Ainsworth. Participants connect, support, and empower women who have been affected by breast cancer. And yoga is the perfect vehicle for creating such a monumental collaboration. Yoga has the transformative power to bridge gaps, unite people and help heal the mind, body, and spirit.

I asked my friend Nancy, a breast cancer survivor and yoga teacher, what the biggest impact yoga has had on her life. Her response? “When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I decided to prepare for the battle by practicing yoga every day for six weeks before having my bilateral mastectomy. After surgery, my surgeons said I rocked!” Who doesn’t want to hear that? (Oh, and P.S.: Nancy does rock!)

Of course, yoga helps the physical body, as well. A regular practice helps stimulate and drain the lymphatic system, balance hormone levels, and strengthen the immune system. Simple poses like legs-up-the-wall (exactly what you are imagining) and basic twists improve circulation throughout the body and aid in the removal of cellular waste.

This year Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer aims to raise $200,000 in honor of the 200,000 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next year. As of this posting, the event has raised over $132K. And it’s not too late to get involved — donate, register as an individual participant, or join a local team to support an amazing organization which assists women at all stages of diagnosis, treatment and recovery at low or no cost. Visit yoga4livingbeyondbreastcancer.org to take part in this one-of-a-kind event! Local studios with teams include Yoga Schelter, RYAH Yoga and Health, Twisters Wellness, Verge, and Dhyana.

Make sure to check out Be Well Philly next week, when I share the photos from my first-hand experience as a teaching assistant to Jennifer Schelter. See you on the stairs!

Rain or Shine. 8th Annual Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. May 16, 8:30-12:30pm.

Maura Manzo is the Managing Director of RYAH Yoga and Health in Conshohocken. She is also a certified health coach, yoga teacher, and founder of Local for Global, a project aimed at creating local events to benefit a global cause. Read more about Maura here.

Image courtesy of Living Beyond Breast Cancer