Friday, September 15, 2017

Day 7 - 2nd Annual Ovarian Cancer Awareness Yoga Challenge (09-16-2017)

Day 7 – Presented by Heather @gurugrid - #Savasana or #CorpsePose

Our last and final day of the challenge…although you have until 9/20 to get all poses in! Thank you ALL so much for the outpouring of love, compassion, and awareness.

For a traditional savasana, lay flat on your back with arms and legs comfortably apart, with palms up and eyes closed. If you have back problems, you may want a blanket under your knees. Allow your body to melt into the mat. I, personally, like an eye pillow over my eyes and myself wrapped in a sweater or light blanket over me. Take some nice, deep cleansing belly breaths. Imagine every part of your body relaxed, listening to instrumental music may help or just the sound of your own breathing. Stay in this position for a few minutes or longer…just try not to fall asleep! When coming out of the pose, slowly roll over to your right side and then prop yourself up into a sitting position. Allow your body to fully adjust before standing completely up.

Please make sure to honor your body and only do what you are comfortable with. If you are under a doctor’s care, please check with them first before attempting any of the poses.
This pose helps to calm the mind and relieves stress; relaxes the body; reduces headaches, fatigue, and insomnia; and can also help lower blood pressure. 

#AWARENESS - The National Cancer Research Foundation (NCRF) has great information about the research they are doing, not only for ovarian cancer, but other types of cancers as well, the link can be seen here (you will have to scroll down to ovarian cancer):

I shared this last year and it is definitely worth repeating:

Some thoughts I would like to leave you with, as in yoga, honor your body and trust your instinct. If something feels off or not right about your body or symptoms you are experiencing: write everything down and call your doctor. I have said it before and it is something I feel very strongly about: we need to be our own best patient advocates. Advocate for your health, treatment, and care…whether it be something benign or serious, like ovarian cancer. Under the same umbrella as being your own advocate, find out what the laws are in your state or country concerning advance directives. 

Do NOT wait until a crisis happens to figure out what you want or don’t want for your care OR worse yet, be unable to state what your wishes are and have someone else make them for you. Cancer and other life threatening illnesses will certainly make you think about these things, but sadly in a second any of our lives could change for a multitude of reasons. My wish for all of you is a long, happy, and healthy life…should life throw a curve ball, I would like it if you were prepared. It is a conversation that no one ever really wants to have, although it is a very important one. 

Here are some links for information about Advance Directives:

The last link above also have an IG page dedicated to things that you shouldn’t wait to talk about, it is called @conversationsofalifetime

Thank you for being part of the SECOND ANNUAL Ovarian Cancer Awareness Yoga Challenge.  Again, I was honored and humbled to hear from women and men and have meaningful conversations, dispel misconceptions, learn, have fun, cry, and take the awareness up a notch.  Another great challenge has finished and together we made a difference.  WE really ALL made a difference.  Thank you ALL so much!!

A very heartfelt and sincere thank you to all of my co-hosts along with the generous sponsors who again made this all possible.

With a humbled heart filled with gratitude and lots of love,

The hosts and sponsors can be found on Instagram and their corresponding websites, if they have them. Here are the IG names along with the websites for the sponsors:

@lljerseygirl (LindaLee)
@yogasloth (Anna)
@nicole_rn (Nicole)
@farrahbrown (Farrah)
@youromlife (Nicole)
@shiziks (Milena)
@gurugrid (Heather)

@lljerseygirl (Just a yogi trying to make a difference.)

@yogasloth (Home of the Duddhara Strap -- it is a yoga prop that allows you do to so much more in your practice! This wonderful prop was the genius creation of the company owner, Anna, who lives in Canada.)  

@loneblackbird – (Laurie is such a talented artist, please be sure to check out her website.)

@kl_wellness – (There are so many great handmade products in Kathleen’s online, made in the USA.)

@pawpawyogawear (Amazingly soft and comfortable organic cotton yoga wear company based in Sweden. "Swedish design sewn in India by people who receive fair wages for their work.")

@fourseeapparel (A fun and great yoga, athletic, and casual wear company for both men and women, created by a family based in Colorado.)

@youromlife (A yoga teacher for classes and retreats that just opened her open studio this year. She has  an OM gear line of yoga tanks and is based in Massachusetts.)

@gurugrid (“Alignment yoga mats. Find your unique & proper placement. Plant your body.  Let your alignment bloom. Québec, Canada”)

@bootyshawl  (Such a fabulous addition to your clothing. As they state, “A derrière tender.  A wardrobe extender.  A fashion contender. Booty Shawl is a flirty little hip wrap.  Designed to cover just enough, but not too much.  Like a scarf for your neck, it’s an accessory for your bum. Slip it on after a workout, sashay around the pool or smooth your silhouette over form-fitting yoga pants or skinny jeans.” Made in the USA!)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Day 6 - 2nd Annual Ovarian Cancer Awareness Yoga Challenge

Day 6 of the 2nd Annual Ovarian Cancer Awareness Yoga Challenge (09-15-2017)

Day 6 – Presented by Milena - @shiziks - #Malasana or #YogiSquat

From a standing position with your feet a little wider than hip width and your feet angled out slightly. Slowly bend your knees until you come to a comfortable position with your hips lower than your knees. You can place a bolster or block under your sit bones to relieve pressure on your knees, if needed. Place your hands in prayer position with elbows pressing into the insides of your knees and the knees pressing against your elbows. Try keeping your spine lengthened and chest open. Remain in this position for a few breaths and work your way up gradually to a few minutes.  Please make sure to honor your body and only do what you are comfortable with. If you are under a doctor’s care, please check with them first before attempting any of the poses.

This pose helps to calm the mind. It also opens your hips & groin; stretches your ankles, lower hamstrings, back and neck; tones your abdominal muscles; helps with digestion; strengthens your metabolism; and keeps your pelvic & hip joints healthy. PLEASE note if you are pregnant and 35 weeks or more DO NOT do this pose as it may cause you to go into labor.   

Please make sure to honor your body and only do what is comfortable for you. The info provided is not intended to be used as medical advice. If you are under a doctor’s care please check with them first before doing any pose.

My outfit is from @pawpawyogawear (Grey Tank Top & Grey Pigeon Pants); my #bootyshawl is from @bootyshawl #StellaDraper and my gorgeous and wonderful yoga mat is from @gurugrid
See @gurugrid for Day 7’s (Saturday, 9/16) pose...I cannot believe it will be the last day already! Just remember you have until 9/20 to submit all your poses!! You may refer to my page for information about the poses, ovarian cancer awareness, and if you don’t know who is posting for the day, come look at my page.


An important dialogue happened today with myself and another yogi.  So, first I want to share some statistics for other countries. This information is from the International Agency for Research on Cancer/World Health Organization, you can view more information from:

Secondly, the discussion was also about how many teens are encouraged to receive the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine (worldwide)…it should be noted that this vaccine is to help with the prevention of cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers, not ovarian. (For males, it lowers penile cancer).  It is a common misconception that the vaccine prevents all gynecological cancers, just like the idea that a Pap smear can detect ovarian cancer (it cannot).  [Note: I am so grateful for all of the conversations that are happening as a result of this challenge. We truly are stronger together and I appreciate each and every one of you!]

The American Cancer Society (ACS) states, “Cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in low- and middle-income countries. This is the case even though it is one of the most preventable and best understood types of cancer.

Cervical cancer screening can prevent most cases by finding changes in cells in the cervix early, before they become cancerous, so the abnormal cells can be removed. There are also vaccines that help prevent infection with the types of the human papilloma virus (HPV) responsible for most cervical cancers worldwide” (ACS, January 16, 2015).

The biggest problem with ovarian cancer is that there is not a diagnostic test to detect it in the early stages. Also compounding the problem is that many of the symptoms are easily dismissed because they can be related to non-life threatening issues.  When in doubt, please speak to a physician or health care provider. One of the best things you can do is to keep a symptom log to help you have this discussion and voice your concerns.

Here is a template for a symptom diary and below it, the link for you to print it out.


Print the diary from this link:

#AWARENESS – Ovarian Cancer Resources. The may be useful whether you are newly diagnosed, going through treatment, have a loved one diagnosed or just want to learn more.

Ovarian Cancer Resources

Below is a good start for a list of organizations that are aimed at helping people navigate through learning about ovarian cancer.  It is by no means, a complete list, but a really good place to start.  Each website is filled with great information, I encourage you to take some time and look through a few. 

American Cancer Society (ACS) @americancancersociety

There are Cancer Information Specialists available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions at ACS.  The number to call is: 800-227-2345

Bright Pink - Through prevention and early detection, we’re putting breast and ovarian health Awareness in Action™.

British Colombia’s Ovarian Cancer Research Team – OVACARE

Canadian Cancer Society

Cancer Society of New Zealand
Please note that you can tailor the website depending on what area of NZ you live in.  Cancer Information Helpline – New Zealand  0800 CANCER | 0800 226 237


“A cancer diagnosis turns a person’s world upside down — emotionally, physically and financially. CancerCare® can help.”

They provide:  counseling, support groups, connect education workshops, publications, financial assistance, and connection to community programs.

Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry
1-800-OVARIAN (1-800-682-7426)

FORCE – Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered

Help Keep A Sister Alive @helpkeepasisteralive

From their website:
“The HKASA vision is to serve as a one stop resource for patients, survivors, caretakers and community members trying to prevent, understand, and/or cope with cancers affecting women. With a primary focus on ovarian cancer, HKASA started in 2011 as an online resource  with cutting edge information on drug shortages affecting cancer patients.

HKASA is a 501c3 non-profit organization, a partner member of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA), a member of  Scientist↔Survivor Program of American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) and  an Affiliated Health Professional patient advocacy member of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).”

HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation

“The mission of the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation is to eliminate ovarian cancer by promoting Health, Empowerment, Research, and Awareness.”

Johns Hopkins Ovarian Cancer Center of Excellence

“Johns Hopkins Ovarian Cancer Center of Excellence because they are looking for the best possible treatment. We specialize in gynecologic cancers including ovarian and cervical. Our center also offers screenings for high risk women.”  They have a multidisciplinary approach, with care being focused on the whole person, not just the disease.

Kula for Karma @kulaforkarma

They have programs for cancer patients in the New Jersey/New York/Connecticut “Tri-state” area and they are growing in Florida, Colorado, and Washington state.  Please check out their website, they even have FREE meditations that you can download!  There is a wealth of information on their website, including the medical benefits of yoga and research studies conducted.  And if the name sounds familiar, it is because they were one of the wonderful sponsors for this yoga challenge last year! (My contact there had taken a hiatus and moved out-of-state, so they weren’t able to be part of it this year.)

National Cancer Institute @ncivisualsonline

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) @nocc_national

“Ovarian cancer is more than a woman’s disease®”
Their website contains a host of information, including local chapters, community events, NOCC and outside resources that a patient and/or their family may need.  Some of the poses for the challenge were listed in an article on NOCC's website.

Ovarian Cancer Australia

A great website full of helpful links, support groups, and resources for those living in Australia.

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) @ovariancancernationalalliance

The website has a “Just Diagnosed” tab that can help guide a patient and their family through being newly diagnosed and an online community that has over 22,000 people who have been affected by ovarian cancer.

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF)

This exciting news was taken from the main page:

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) have led the way in advocacy, research and support for patients and their families for over 22 years. As of January 2016, we are pleased to announce we are joining together to form Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA), the largest global organization dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research while supporting women and their families.

There is a downloadable Ovarian Cancer Fact Sheet, available in both English and Spanish on the site. The website also has a large variety of awareness items that can be purchased.

Ovations for the Cure, Inc. (of Ovarian Cancer)

Their mission
Ovations for the Cure, Inc. is dedicated to the relentless pursuit of a cure for ovarian cancer.
1. Our education programs focus on increasing public awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer in an effort to improve earlier detection of ovarian cancer and thus better outcomes for women who have ovarian cancer.
2. Secondly, our patient programs are created to give knowledge, hope and comfort to those women currently diagnosed and living with ovarian cancer.
3. Ovations for the Cure, Inc. also provides critical funding for new and ongoing ovarian cancer research initiatives that focus on early detection, prevention, developing more effective treatments for ovarian cancer, and to cure ovarian cancer in our lifetime.

Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation

Teal Diva

Teal Toes

The founder of this great organization, Carey Fitzmaurice, lost her battle with ovarian cancer in June 2015.  She was always answering my requests for symptom cards that they provide FREE of cost (you may have seen them in some of my posts).  Their website has information about ovarian cancer, raising awareness, and resource sites.  If you see someone with TEAL polish on their toes, it is probably because of Carey’s foundation!