Pose for Pink Yoga

The Foundation offers free weekly yoga classes, free quarterly extended weekend classes and three-day yoga retreats. The yoga program gives participants an opportunity to take gentle, restorative Hatha yoga classes and participate in workshops and retreats to connect with other women who have had or are going through cancer and treatment.

For women after surgery, the entire upper body needs to be strengthened and stretched. Yoga postures help to break down scar tissue, build strength, and increase flexibility. Research studies have been done on breast cancer patients, and there are many specific yoga exercises designed to meet the needs of a postoperative or recovering breast cancer survivor.

These postures, as well as deep breathing exercises, are emphasized in the Foundation’s yoga program. Deep breathing is another key element in the healing process. Breathing helps to oxygenate the cells and assists the body-mind connection by serving as the link between the two. Studies show that regular practice of breathing exercises increases energy levels creates a more positive attitude and helps to open the body from the inside out.

The Foundation offers weekly yoga classes that are free to breast cancer survivors. The classes provide women with a chance to attend a regularly scheduled class where they can bond with other women who have experienced the effects of the disease. Classes are taught by Tari Prinster, Yoga Program Director and Principal Yoga Teacher for the Libby Ross Foundation who has special training in working with the needs of survivors.

The weekend yoga classes are an extension of the weekly yoga classes. These classes are offered quarterly and provide a in a two-hour session for participants.

The Libby Ross Foundation offers several very special three-day yoga retreats for survivors of breast cancer and other women’s cancer. The retreats are a huge success, with survivors from all over the United States traveling to our destinations to experience a weekend of yoga, meditation, well-informed speakers, great food, pampering and the hospitality of a supportive community.

In 2004, the Foundation began offering annual retreats with the first one in East Hampton, New York. In 2005 we grew the program beyond our New York roots to offer a similar retreat in California. In 2006 we continued to expand our scope once again to the Southeast with a retreat in Alabama. In 2007 and 2008 the Foundation traveled to the Omega Institute nestled in the peaceful campus of Rhinebeck, NY. In 2009, we added retreats at Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California and the Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

The restorative and healing power of yoga is well known. Through movement and breathing techniques, the yoga program empowers women to get back in touch with their bodies after radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. In addition, experts in Ayurvedic skin care and nutrition share their knowledge to help in the healing of women experiencing the side effects of cancer treatments. The retreats provide a unique venue for sharing, learning and bonding among the women who have all experienced the effects of cancer.

The Foundation has had tremendous success with the yoga program thus far, demonstrated by the return of many of the same women to the workshops and classes. These women comment that the yoga program gives them an outlet to relieve stress and gain emotional support from other women who are facing the same challenges. Their responses to the classes, workshops, and retreats have been overwhelmingly positive.

Sponsor a Survivor

Sponsoring a survivor is a unique way to show your support in the fight against breast cancer. The Libby Ross Foundation hosts annual yoga retreats at The Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey California and The Wild Dunes Resort Isle of Palms, South Carolina. Each retreat brings 35 women together from across the United States for unique bonding experience.

A monetary contribution will enable a participant in need of financial assistance to attend this once-in-a lifetime opportunity that includes healing, relaxation, and bonding with other women’s cancers survivors. Your sponsorship will cover the cost of accommodations, meals, and yoga classes.

Sponsorship cost: $300

 
Please email us at yoga@thelibbyrossfoundation.com if you are interested in sponsoring a survivor or learning more about this wonderful gift!


Pam’s Poses

Featured Pose: “Legs-up-on-the-wall”

Setting up: Use one or more blankets, positioned at the wall for resting your hips on. Experiment with the amount of blankets that feel best beneath yourhips. It is also fine to practice this pose without elevating the hips. Kneel on the floor next to your mat and position the buttocks back against the wall, or as close to it as possible. Roll into the hip closest to your mat and place the shoulder on the floor. Gently roll onto your back and swing your legs up the wall. Allow your arms to rest on the floor at your sides. Move your shoulder blades down your back and let the palms face up toward the sky. Eye-pillows placed in the hands and over the eyes will help to further relax your body and mind.

Staying in the pose: Allow yourself to settle into the blankets and the floor. Close your eyes and breathe full, gentle breaths. Enjoy the sensations of the legs and back releasing tension. Stay here for as long as 15 minutes, working up slowly to this length of time.

Exiting the pose: Begin to come out of the pose by removing the pillows from your hands and eyes. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet against the wall. Pause for a few breaths with your knees bent toward your chest or with the soles of your feet pressed together and your knees wide. Gently slide your body away from the wall by pressing into your feet and then roll to one side. Sit back up slowly.

Benefits: This posture stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory systems of the body. It also reduces the overall effects of stress on the body and fatigue in the legs, while relaxing the nervous system. It can be especially beneficial to those who experience swelling in the legs or have varicose veins. This pose is not recommended for those with retinal problems, hiatal hernias, heart problems, neck problems or women in the first 3 days of their menstrual cycle.


About Pamela Merriwether, E-RYT:

With over 2,000 hours of teaching experience, Pam is certified by the Yoga Alliance as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 hour level. She continues learning as a dedicated student of Yogarupa, Rod Stryker, and is currently pursuing a ParaYoga Master Teacher certification under his guidance. In addition to teaching weekly private sessions and classes, Pam is active in a number of volunteer organizations, including serving on the board of The Libby Ross Foundation. She teaches a free yoga class for women cancer survivors each week at Amsa Yoga in Columbia, SC. This gentle yoga class is created for women with breast cancer and other cancers. Designed to provide students with relaxation, inspiration and bonding, each class includes breathing exercises, slow stretches, healing yoga sequences, restorative yoga and balancing work that is appropriate for women during and after treatment. Pam also co-leads an annual yoga retreat for survivors each Fall at Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

www.amsayoga.com
www.pamelayoga.com

Youth Involvement

University Yoga (U Yoga)

 
The Libby Ross Breast Cancer Foundation and the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority’s Alpha Chapter at Syracuse University teamed up to host the first annual U Yoga event, aptly named “Orange U Yoga” – the beginning in a series of youth-oriented initiatives in which LRBCF will use yoga to spread awareness of the disease among a younger generation of women.

The Gamma Phi sponsored a series of yoga classes on Sunday, February 27th from 10:00am – 3:30pm in the Hall of Languages at Syracuse. Proceeds benefited the LRBCF Pose for Pink Yoga Program, which provides support to women touched by cancer through the healing powers of yoga.

Testimonials

 
I just want to say thank you so much for extending the incredible Yoga Program! It has made such a difference in my life. No other program works to make yoga as user friendly. I could never believe I could enjoy yoga as much as I do. I am fairly inflexible and have shoulder problems. The teachers and assistants manage to use props to help me and others to enjoy the benefits of the poses. I have been to other yoga classes – they do not compare. Nowhere is the compassion and desire to help more evident than at your program. If this program didn’t exist in New York City, I would not do yoga. I always feel so good mentally and physically after the class. I am thrilled to know it will be offered weekly! You really are offering a respite for me and other cancer patients.
- Billie S.

I have gained so much from taking part in this retreat. Realizing that you are not alone, and the hope of a bright future from seeing so many “long term” survivors as well…Encouragement to start taking time to care for yourself, and maintain a healthy / enjoyable lifestyle that will encourage continued healing – both physically and mentally…Inspiration to get out and try to find ways to support / help others in their journey.
- Christie K.

It is very hard to say what the best part of the retreat was, but probably the collegiality amongst the participants. But if all of the other pieces were not there, it wouldn’t have happened. I loved every minute of it ~ but the staff and participants touched my heart. It is an experience that will be kept forever in my memory. I have never been treated so well, met such wonderful, brave, funny women. I have never laughed so much about breast cancer. I left feeling less like an “oddball” and more like others. I left feeling like sharing my disease rather than hiding it from others.
- Becky B.

The entire retreat was amazing! But the love, compassion and caring that was shown by all of the people there – administrative and participant was overwhelming! I have made a lot of new ‘forever friends’, learned that a lot of the issues that I face are very common. The retreat was a First Class event and the opportunity of a lifetime. It has permanently changed my life and I cherish every second that I spent there.
- Beverly S.

The best part of the retreat was the opportunity to be with other women who understand the devastation and rebirth of breast cancer. Through this experience, I have begun to make peace with my cancer.
- Joanne P.

Having “an away weekend” just for me was wonderful! This “time away” from home, family, friends, work and my routines gave me the mental space to feel things that I don’t usually have time to feel. –’In the silence of not doing I begin to know how I feel’-I love that saying (not sure who said it)-but it rang so true for me that weekend.
- Kelley M.