Courage & Camaraderie at Yoga For Hope 2014
Connect. Inspire. Renew. Cure.
On June 7th, the San Diego yoga community gathered on Petco Park’s center field for the 4th Annual Yoga for Hope. It’s the largest yoga fundraiser in Southern California, drawing over 800 wellness enthusiasts with a diverse and acclaimed instructor line up including Stacy McCarthy, Claire Petretti Marti, Amy Caldwell, and prAna ambassador, Michael Fukumura.
The 90 minute yoga class was preceded by emotional and inspiring testimonies of cancer survivors. Participants listened attentively as the women courageously recounted the devastating effects that cancer had on their lives. They also expressed gratitude to City of Hope for providing them with the restorative yoga classes that served as a solace from pain and treatment.
The testimonies were followed by the bell ceremony, a Yoga For Hope tradition, where attendees were asked to ring tiny brass bells to signify how cancer had affected their lives and the lives of their loved-ones. The ringing was soft but steady at first, as survivors rang their bells together to signify their remission from cancer. The volume grew as participants who had a family member or friend affected by cancer were invited to join in with their bells.
After sitting silently for several minutes, taking time to offer gratitude and prayers for healing, the class commenced with hundreds of yogis chanting in unison, filling the stadium with the vibration of aum. The skillful and well-respected teachers took turns leading the attendees through a energizing and challenging sequence, culminating with a group tree pose. New and old friends stood side by side, arms embracing waists, to create several fluctuating rows of smiling yogis.
The spirited sequence was capped off with a sublime savasana, as attendees sprawled out on the sunny field and were treated to a double-dose of bliss. Local performer Aja Lee serenaded attendees with her ukulele while the skillful teachers and adjusters lovingly dispensed mini massages and sweet touches to the reclining yogis.
Following the class, participants made their way into the Marketplace. Singer/songwriter Luke Williams provided a musical backdrop, performing soulful and powerful songs, while everyone browsed samples and offerings from merchants and socialized with friends.
As in the previous years, the event was a total success, raising awareness and over $80,000 for cancer research and treatment and bringing together hundreds of yogis to celebrate the power we have when we come together as one.
~ Michelle May, Yogi and prAna Web Designer
Yoga for Hope is an unforgettable event for yoga beginners and experts alike to bring awareness to the benefits of yoga practice for patients with life-threatening illnesses. HOPE is a key ingredient to the whole patient approach offered at City of Hope. This one of a kind yoga event combines education, sunshine, asana, fresh air, shopping, food and an opportunity to contribute to patients directly.
Yoga for Hope is a nationwide initiative born out of City of Hope’s awareness of the vital role of complimentary and integrative therapies (such as yoga) play in healing the whole person. City of Hope seeks to understand the importance of the mind body spirit connection to apply to the prevention, treatment and recovery of those with cancer and other life threatening diseases.
Photos by Epic PhotoJournalism and Agathe Padovani
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