Monday, June 15, 2015

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Yoga for Hope

Hundreds of yogis in San Diego gathered at Petco Park in center field for an unforgettable yoga experience supporting a meaningful cause, raising money for the City of Hope National Medical Center.  The City of Hope is a leading research center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

The event, named Yoga for Hope, took place on Saturday, June 13th, 2015 with an estimated seven hundred yoga practitioners in attendance. It was the fifth annual event that has raised over $150,000 so far bringing thousands of yogis and studios together in order to raise funds for the City of Hope, the private, not-for profit, clinical research center.  Traycie Mitchell, Stage IV Ovarian Cancer Survivor, was the speaker and inspiration for the theme Resiliency this year.

The event was a combination of donors including sponsors, partners, vendors, and renowned yoga teachers leading the event. The instructors who led the class were Stacy McCarthy, Michael Fukumura, Claire Petretti Marti, and Dominic Mineo. The theme of the vinyasa style yoga class was resiliency. The class focused on working to find buoyancy and strength from within during life’s ever-changing journey of triumphs and struggles.

Yoga instructor Claire Petretti Marti introduced the event. A breast cancer survivor herself, Claire was diagnosed in 2010. She shared her own struggles of undergoing treatments including radiation and chemotherapy and how yoga helped her recover, heal and renew mental and physical strength and an overall sense of hope.

Claire led a memorable chime ceremony where all attendees were asked to ring a small bell for a continuous amount of time if they were currently in treatment, had celebrated a cancer-free milestone, or if they knew a loved-one or acquaintance that has struggled with cancer. The entire stadium resonated with the sound of ringing bells in honor of cancer survivors and those that have lost the battle with cancer. Claire was publicly thanked for her efforts in leading Yoga for Hope as well as for her work in teaching yoga to cancer survivors as shared in her published work, “Come Ride with Me Along the Big C.”

Another presenter, Traycie Mitchell, shared her personal testimony and battle with cancer. She joined the event last year as a yoga participant. The role she played at the event this year was much different: she is currently undergoing treatment for stage IV ovarian cancer. Her goal was to educate others on the very subtle and “silent” symptoms of ovarian cancer which may include: bloating, pain in the belly, trouble eating, feeling full quickly, urinary tract problems, and pain during sex. Her speech was touching and informative, setting the tone for a meaningful yoga class focused on resiliency, strength and hope.

During the yoga portion of the event, Stacy McCarthy opened the class with yogic wisdom and encouragement. She asked yogis to work through any frustrations and challenges in class by simply acknowledging it, and then choosing an optimistic outlook where resilience, expansion and growth may prevail. Stacy made note that she would help everyone “warm-up” on a chilly, overcast Saturday morning, by starting the class in standing postures.

 Michael Fukumura led the students in an “all-class” community pose. He asked the crowd to put their arms around each other while in the balancing posture, Tree Pose, Vrksasana, and to allow a certain amount of “dynamic stability” to happen. Yogis were asked to notice the wavering while relying on their neighbors for support and balance.

The process was powerful and it brought the class to its peak during the event. Laurel Ferson shared her experience: “The energy shared when we all connected in tree pose was amazing and inspiring. As I have been going through some challenging times, it is that feeling of connectedness that has helped me to stay strong and steady. This experience embodied that for me.”

Dominic Mineo closed the class with a “playful” series including core strengthening postures as well as winding down to conclude with relaxation and rest. He asked everyone to link hands for support and connection during Savasana, the final resting posture of the class.

Musician Aja Lee, played a ukulele while singing like an angel as yogis laid on the centerfield of Petco Park. Jennifer Pashkow said of her experience, “I loved the live performance during our Savasana. It was beautiful music and it made for a lovely end to the day.”

After the event, there was a yoga marketplace where attendees gathered to visit vendors selling and promoting yoga related clothing, healthy food and juices. Attendees received a free Padres duffle bag and walked away inspired and renewed with embodied resiliency and hope.

If you weren't able to be at  Yoga for Hope on Saturday, you can still be part of the event by making a donation online: 

Christi Iacono
In Rhythms Yoga

Regular Scheduled Classes:
Sat. 9-10:15 am, Vinyasa
Sun. 10-11:15 am, Yin Yoga
Mon. 4-5 pm, Family Yoga, Contact Christi, Currently Full
Tues. and Thurs. evening, 5-6 pm, Vinyasa
Tues.6:30-7:30 pm, Private Group Vinyasa
Wed. 8:30-9:45 am, Vinyasa

Clairemont Central News: WeeklyYoga Blog, by Christi Iacono @
*In Rhythms Yoga is an intimate studio in the Mt. Streets in Clairemont, San Diego. Yoga is for everyone, and it can create optimum health and powerful transformation in your life.

*I use Young Living Oils in my household, yoga studio and classroom for health and to align my intentions to create a more natural lifestyle.

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