If you’ve seen a bunch of women dressed in black yoga garb and pink bandanas running around downtown Pottstown in the last few weeks, you aren’t imagining things and we aren’t being invaded by pink ninja yogis.
It’s the Tri-County for a Cure team, headed up by local yoga instructor, Barbara Kosciewicz of High Street Yoga and filmed by photographer Melia Rios-Lazo, of Priceless Moments Photography. I am lucky enough to be one of these team members, and we’re busy getting ready for the Yoga on the Steps fundraiser for Living Beyond Breast Cancer that will be held in Philadelphia on May 15th.
Last year’s event drew over 1,200 yoga enthusiasts to the Art Museum in Philadelphia to do yoga and raise money for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a non-profit dedicated to support services for women in treatment and beyond. While many breast cancer organizations focus on finding a cure, LBBC is different. According to their mission statement, their goal is, “To empower all women affected by breast cancer to live as long as possible with the best quality of life.”
Kosciewicz found out about the Yoga on the Steps event late last year and got a couple of friends, jewelry artist Carrie Grabowicz of Hammi Jammi Jewelry and Joy van Ruler, an artist who designed this year’s team logo, to join her on the steps of the Art Museum. This year, the team has 20 registered members and there is room for more. Fellow yoga instructor, Stephanie Smolik of Yoga-for-Every-Belly, is a team member as well.
So, what does all this have to do with pink-headed yogis running rampant through the streets of Pottstown and encouraging business owners, the mayor and borough manager to strike a yoga pose? Actually quite a bit. The excitement was all about the video the Tri-County for a Cure team is making to raise awareness about breast cancer.
The impetus for the video was a conversation before one of Barbara’s classes about how funny it would be to do yoga in random places around town. Before long the idea had grown to involve raising awareness and funds for the Yoga on the Steps event and the team, Tri-County for a Cure.
Honestly, the first day of filming, I think many of us (myself included) were a little nervous about the idea of being filmed or photographed in yoga poses, but with Melia’s enthusiasm and skill, we all quickly got into the spirit of the day. Before we knew it, we were sitting in prayer squat near the door of a Septa Bus in front of Borough Hall.
We had a schedule, but also grabbed unsuspecting people along the way, and I was amazed at the support we found. We even convinced the UPS driver to pose with us near the police station, and some college kids on the steps at Montgomery County Community College.
“We attracted attention, beeps and awareness. Everyone we came in contact with was supportive of the cause and gave yoga their best shot,” said Kosciewicz. “We talked to people who were survivors, who had family members that were survivors or had lost someone to breast cancer.”
She continued, “At the end of each day filming I walked away energized, but also with the understanding that Breast Cancer is a terrible disease and something that has affected everyone. I would use the word ‘powerful’ to describe the filming days.”
Even Positively Pottstown’s own Sue Repko joined us at Riverfront Park for some quiet meditation on the last day of filming. We also got Borough Manager Jason Bobst, The Schuykill River National and State Heritage Area staff, and most of the Pottstown Health and Wellness Foundation staff out to do yoga on that 70 degree Friday we enjoyed a few weeks ago.
The whole experience was, well, something amazing to experience. We got so many people to come out of their stores, offices, and comfort zones and be a little silly with us for an important cause. Barbara summed up the days’ filming this way (and I agree wholeheartedly): “I enjoyed the interaction with each and every person; the willingness of EVERYONE to do something for breast cancer and for Pottstown’s revitalization.”
The video is set to debut at the next Positively Pottstown Happy Hour on April 15th at the Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks and High Street Yoga, which shares the space on the second floor of the massage school.
For information about the event in May, or to learn more about the organization’s services and mission, you can visit Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s webpage at www.llbc.org
If you can’t wait till April 15th for the video and want a sneak peek of the coverage, you can check out the Mercury’s coverage of the day, or visit the Tri-County for a Cure facebook page for links to the local news stories that ran about the filming