Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yoga Definitely Unites

It was cloudy and a little bit cold this past Sunday morning as we headed down to Philadelphia. We were participating in an outdoor yoga class on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum for Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I was glad we stopped at Starbucks to get a tea before we got there. It warmed the chill in my bones. My team, “Sisterhood and Survival,” consisted of myself and two friends. Complete with tea in hand and homemade t-shirts complements of moi on our backs, we were ready for our yoga adventure.

As we drove down along Kelly Drive which borders the Schuykill River, I remarked on the flurry of activities that were going on at this early hour. There were runners and bikers on both sides of the river. “It is turning into a fine morning.” I remarked as I watched people jogging, pushing strollers and biking with zeal.

We parked the car and put our mats under our arms as we ascended the steps of the museum to find a good spot to do our practice. We were fortunate to find a place together, it was so crowded. Later, they would announce that there were close to 1,000 people participating in the yoga class.
Once we were on our mats, we waited for the class to begin. Lu Ann Cahn, a local newscaster, spoke briefly about her personal experience with breast cancer and then introduced Jean Sachs, the CEO of Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Sachs acknowledged the teams that raised the most money and the individuals who raised the most money. They announced my name as one of the top individual fundraisers. I was shocked! It is thanks to my wonderful friends and family that I was included in this group. She in turn, introduced the yoga instructor, Jennifer Schelter.

We settled in on our mats and began to chant “Om,” with the rest of the group. As we began to calm our minds and begin the moving mediation, the sun peeked out through the clouds. A few minutes later, all of the clouds dissipated and the sun shined brightly in the beautiful blue sky. The moment was magical and powerful.

We all joined hands and raised our arms high over our heads as the sun beamed down upon us. As I moved through my practice to the sounds of the melodious music, I looked high to the sky to see a blue and yellow flag waiving in the wind. When I looked around me, I saw hundreds of peaceful faces looking inward. When I looked ahead I saw the flags of all the countries waving in the wind on the Ben Franklin Parkway. When I looked behind me I saw the powerful fa├žade of the Art Museum.

I smiled an inward smile and thought how lucky I was. Here I was, on this glorious Sunday morning surrounded by peace, strength, and love. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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