The iconic stairs outside the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art where Rocky trained are the perfect setting for a community to come together to fight cancer—for so many, cancer is the fight of their lives. Ten years ago, that's where Yoga on the Steps, an event that benefits the nonprofit organization Living Beyond Breast Cancer, began raising money to help support breast cancer patients with their battles.
"I just want to help women," says Yoga on the Steps founder Jennifer Schelter. Schelter had had two grandmothers that struggled with breast cancer.
The event has been going strong in Philadelphia for a decade, and organizers have just begun to expand to other cities last year.
"Yoga has proven health benefits for women after diagnosis," says Living Beyond Cancer special event coordinator Jenna Jackson. "It's more about a lifestyle and teaching something that women can use beyond that day." Living Beyond Breast Cancer supports women during and after treatment through national conferences, teleconferences, an array of publications, and survivors helpline.
The Philadelphia event had 1,250 participants this year. It began expanding to other cities last year. The Washington DC event last year had 200 participants and raised $59,000. Last month, Yoga on the Steps added Denver to its line up, with 240 registered participants, though its too early to have fundraising numbers.
On October 14, they'll be visiting DC again. The location for the event is right on Pennsylvania and there's a view of the Capitol building in the background. "The class is about alignment and precision and feeling graceful in the outdoors," Schelter says. "You can see the sky and the skyline and the entire city. I have to say it's very inspiring."
While the events are to raise money and awareness for breast cancer, they are designed so that anyone can participate. The yoga classes, which are led by Schelter in all the cities, are for all levels, Schelter says.
"Whether people have been touched by breast cancer or not, everybody is facing struggles in their own life," she says. "Yoga on the Steps is really welcoming to everyone."
For more information about the event and how to get involved visit yogaonthesteps.org/