A Yoga Retreat in the City – SSO’s Peace of Minds Yogathon

Feb  09 2015

                                                                         Over the years many scientific studies have discovered that yoga can help improve symptoms of depression, anxiety and schizophrenia, with some doctor’s even prescribing yoga to their patients as a way to clear their minds and incorporate physical activity in to daily life.

The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) recognizes the healing power of yoga and once again held the Peace of Mnids Yogathon in Toronto, Oakville and Whitby on February 28, 2015. On this day of yoga, meditation and discovery, participants took part in an entire day of yoga or dropped in for as many classes as they’d like, all while raising money for people living with schizophrenia.

“The Yogathon is a great event for people who have never taken a yoga class,” says Brain Lang, an instructor at Shunyata Yoga Studio in Oakville who taught at the Oakville event. “Participants can take classes from a variety of teachers in different styles. For a beginner, it is a great introduction to a yoga practice.”

In its 10th year, the Yogathon is one of SSO’s signature fundraising events and in addition to raising funds, it is also a chance to educate and raise awareness.

Joanne Lowe, director of The Big Stretch Yoga Centre in Toronto, has been involved with SSO’s Yogathon from the beginning. Her brother lives with schizophrenia. Teaching and participating in the Yogathon is her way of giving back. “There isn’t a lot of talk about schizophrenia, with the community coming together for a day of yoga it gets people talking and learning more about the disease,” she says.

This year in addition to Toronto and Oakville, the Yogathon grew adding another location at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby. “We were very happy to partner with Ontario Shores this year,” said Mary Alberti, CEO of SSO. “Ontario Shores specializes in the treatment of mental health so this was a perfect opportunity to include a sector partner in Durham region, allowing the Yogathon to reach a wider audience.” 

Nancy Edwards from Dharana Yoga in Whitby taught at the Yogathon for the first time after hearing about the event from a student. “Mental illness touches so many families and I hope we can work to remove the stigma that seems to be associated with it," she said.

Joanne described the spirit and energy of the Yogathon perfectly: “The Yogathon is a mini yoga retreat in the city for your body mind and spirit. It is a day of health, wellness and good vibes.”

Over $25,000 was raised in support of SSO's programs and services. Thank you to all of the volunteers, instructors, participants, donors and sponsors who helped make this such a fun-filled and successful event!