Teacher Feature: Jen Campbell Munn

Jen Campbell Munn is a former dancer, pilates instructor, mama to three boys, and a long-time yoga teacher at our studio. This winter, Jen will also be one of the three guides on our inaugural Heart of Yoga Retreat on the Eastern Shore. Read this post to learn more about Jen, her yoga practice, and what she wants to share with you during the retreat. 

What brought you to yoga?

I have been a mover and dancer my entire life. Initially, I got into yoga (in 1995) to help my dancing; I was living in New York City at the time and looking for something. What I didn’t know I would find was a path with so much heart, and a path towards greater stability, centeredness and joy in my life.

What is your favorite yoga pose?

Picking only one pose is a challenge for me. My initial response is whatever pose I am in! However, I would say that warrior 2 is one of my favorite poses. It allows me to feel grounded, strong, centered, open and really demands my attention.

Describe your yoga classes in three words.

Warm, mindful and sacred

Who has been your greatest teacher? Why?

My greatest teacher has been my first child, Caelan. He’s now 15 years old, taller and certainly stronger than I, and has a heart of gold (underneath his teenage angst). We have grown up together in some ways. I’ve had to learn to bend and shift how I speak and act—with greater kindness, which then comes back. I’ve also learned about creating clear boundaries, which is a lesson I needed (and some days still need) to learn.

Why do you teach at lil omm?

I teach at Lil Omm because I really wanted to be a part of this beautiful community. I adore Pleasance, and truly appreciate how each teacher, student, child and family together help to create a space of play, yoga, healing and connection for all of us to thrive in.

Many of our students are considering attending the Heart of Yoga retreat this winter. What would you tell them about this event?

I know this event will be a time of joy and growing community connection, as well as a time for reflection and practice. There is something really magical that happens on retreat. Just the drive away from home, and the time spent in the car, the change in the scents of the air, you will feel the pressures of daily living beginning to slip away. Easing out from under that pressure, and gifting yourself the time and space to practice and connect, you will open yourself up to what needs to be heard from within yourself. Each of us has our intuition, but all too often, we are too busy to listen. Retreat is a time of deep listening. And, there is great joy to be found with like-minded yogis!

About our retreat in particular, we will really focus in on practicing from a heart-centered place, and living from this same energy. Through every session, whether meditation, asana, a nature walk, or discussion, we will continue to hone in on what it means to each of us to live from a heart-centered space. We will focus in on practices that cultivate warmth for ourselves, our community and the world at large. We will explore practices that we can take with us and use in our daily life. We really hope you will join us!


Prenatal Yoga: Use Your BRAIN Part Three- Backbends

As we delve into categories of yoga poses that lack research and study,  I decided that I ask specialists with an immense amount of knowledge in this field for their insights. Dr. Andrino Flevotomos, known as Dr. Andrino to his patients, is a chiropractor in Alexandria, Virginia that specializes in prenatal and postpartum chiropractic care. He is widely known in the Northern Virginia birthing community for his success rate of assisting babies achieve optimal fetal positioning; his VBAC patients have a 90% success rate. I sat down with Dr. Andrino to learn more about backbending poses and prenatal yoga:

Q: What are the benefits and risks of backbends during pregnancy?

Dr. Andrino: “Three questions must be asked when assessing the benefits and risks of backbends in the prenatal practitioner:  

1. What is the fetal position?

In a perfect scenario, fetal positioning will be one in which the baby presents in some variation of an anterior presentation. That means the baby’s head is down and facing either the Momma’s back or one of her back pockets.

In these positions, the baby’s body would flex (imagine the baby doing a crunch) as the backbend was being performed.  

But, what if the baby was in a posterior position? In this case, the baby would be in extension, or arching his or her back.

Typically, fetal extension is not favorable as it encourages extension of the head as well which can lead to a facial presentation at the time of birth.

That’s why it’s important to keep fetal positioning in mind when doing backbends.

2. What is the normal lordosis (lumbar curvature) for that individual?

The human spine supports the entire weight of an individual. The bones that make up the spine are very large in the front (vertebral bodies) and smaller in the back (facet joints). About 80% of our weight is borne by the vertebral bodies. The balance is borne by the facets.  

When a person has a deep lordosis (is swaybacked) then the ratio shifts as more weight transfers to the facets. Sometimes the lumbar curve is so great that the ratio becomes inverted. This would cause joints that are meant to support only modest amounts of weight to take on most of the burden.  

If we take this into consideration while discussing backbends we realize just how relevant lordotic curve is.  

When a person with a deep curve (extended lumbar spine) further extends during a backbend, the already heavily burdened joints are compressed. This causes something called “Facet Jamming.”  

If a person has no curve at all, then a backbend actually normalizes the spinal curvature encouraging deeper breathing and disc decompression among other therapeutic effects.

If a pregnant woman has a lumbar curvature that is within a normal range, then backbends should be done without overarching and making sure the extension takes place throughout the spine, not just in one part of it.  

3.What is the condition of the discs and facets?  

Logic would dictate that if a person has disc degeneration, previously injured tissues, or arthritic changes, backbends should be taken with caution. Keep in mind that 27% of the adults in America have been diagnosed with Arthritis and 60% are women. Even young teens are affected as 1 out of 20 have been diagnosed with the condition. We can extrapolate from these facts that are many undiagnosed cases of the condition. This being the case, backbends should only be performed during pregnancy when the mother knows that she does not carry additional risk factors.”

Q: There is mixed information on doing Cow Pose during pregnancy. What are your thoughts on this?

Dr. Andrino: “This brings us back to the hyperlordosis discussion.  If the momma has an exceptionally deep curve, she can cycle from Table Top to Cat Pose repeatedly, but should avoid Cow Pose. Those with normal or decreased curves should be able to practice as desired provided there are no other health history items that would preclude its’ performance.”

Q: Some prenatal yoga teachers are worried that doing backbends may increase diastasis recti. Is that a legitimate problem? Or is there a bigger worry?

Dr. Andrino: “This one can get complicated because there are many variables that can come into play. What is the condition of the rectus abdominis to begin with? Has there been previous injury?  

Let’s assume that the student in question is healthy (no relevant prior history), fairly fit, and not performing a backbend for the first time.

First, we should consider what kind of backbend the person is doing.  A person can perform a backbend using only their arms, legs, and back muscles allowing a deep stretch to occur across the relaxed abdomen.

The other type is one in which all of the previous are activated as well as the core and other superficial abdominal muscles such as the rectus abdominis. In this variation, distention of the connective tissue between the abs does not have separating forces acting upon it to a degree that should warrant concern unless held for too long or with poor form.

Keep in mind that many people may not know they have had a damage to the linea alba (connective tissue between the rectus abdominis). In women who have given birth to more than one child, the tissue can experience micro-trauma repeatedly without causing overt symptoms. This could present a risk for diastasis while performing a backbend.”

After talking with Dr. Andrino, I feel that backbends are best done earlier in pregnancy, and if done later in pregnancy, a student should be aware of:

  • The status of her spine
  • The position of her baby
  • The impact backbends may have on fetal positioning and spinal health
But, as always, I recommend that students and teachers use BRAIN to determine if backbends are appropriate element in a prenatal yoga practice.

BRAIN for Backbends During Pregnancy

Benefits: Stimulates circulation, helps with fatigue, nourishes tissue around the spine

Risks: Abdominal diastasis, low back injury, fetal malposition

Alternatives: Modifying backbends using props, eliminating certain backbends further on in pregnancy

Intuition: Consider the risks and benefits of a backbend based on how you are feeling, how your baby is positioned and your spinal health.

Nothing: What if you did not do this pose? You could move into another pose or ask your instructor for a modification.

Check out the other posts in our prenatal yoga series:
-Use Your BRAIN

Michelle Brady is a mother to three, a birth doula, prenatal yoga teacher, and certified HypnoBirthing practitioner. In addition to being a birth worker, she offers various yoga and education classes to mothers and their growing families in the Washington, DC metro area.

Sarah Vogel is a communications professional, yoga teacher, prenatal and postnatal fitness instructor, and most important, mom to a 5-month old son. She strives to help her students reap the benefits of yoga and fitness in a safe and empowering environment.


Student Spotlight: Stephanie Deoudes

Lil omm is the place that always welcomes me...and where I always leave feeling peaceful and with a smile. In between are the most amazing teachers...each one cares and leads with sincere interest in our enjoying, reaching and growing.

I am always surprised when a teacher subs and says she is a new teacher because the care is already there and is felt. Pleasance and her love, energy and encouragement surrounds us with her teachers...who are really her extensions.

My first visit to Lil Omm was because I was following Dena Kahn who is nothing short of an amazing person and a true gift. She is strong, loving, and wants us to thrive, grow ,and feel peace in knowing that we are good enough just as we are. I truly look forward to my time at lil omm.

Thank you lil omm....you lead...with your heart...and you make a wonderful difference.


Hearst Elementary E-Cycle & Swap Nov 1

Please join Hearst Elementary at the Annual E-cycle and Swap Spot scheduled for Saturday, November 1st from 9am to 1pm.  The E-cycle is a green healthy community event to recycle old electronics, batteries, computers, and the like.  It has evolved into a unique event beyond e-cycling.  At the E-cycle folks can find:

·        Electronics Recycling sponsored by Potomac E-scrap

·        Document shredding and recycling by Eco Shred ($5 per box suggested donation)

·        Computer hard drive crushing ($10 fee)

·        Used children’s book sale sponsored by and to support the Hearst library

·        A Bike Swap and new to this year The Sporting Equipment Swap

·        An Electronics Swap Table

·        Family Yoga Sessions by sponsored by Lil Omm Yoga (9:30am and 10am)

·        The DC Diaper Bank Table

·        Delicious PTA-Hosted bake sale items

·        The Amorini Panini Food Truck ready to serve you breakfast or lunch

·        A Whole Foods table

·        .. and much more


In addition to gathering up your old electronics please consider donating used children’s books, old but in good-shape bicycles for children and adults, sporting equipment, toiletries and diapers. 

If it plugs in, or is metal and heavy Hearst Elementary wants to recycle it!

For more information (including a list of what is and is not accepted at the E-cycle) please go to www.hearstes.org (http://www.hearstes.org/ecycle_2014) or contact the E-cycle Team at hearstecycle@gmail.com.



Teacher Feature: Jen Young

Jen Young is a yoga and fitness professional that is a familiar face to many lil omm students. But did you know that this yogi (and owner of Spitfire Fitness Arts) has training in martial arts and theater? Or that she learned about yoga from a TV show? Read on to learn more about Jen, or even better, take one of her early morning or Baby and Me Yoga Fit Classes. 

What brought you to yoga?

I started practicing yoga with PBS's show with Lilias Forlan when I was a kid, because it was the only show on early Sunday mornings. As a senior in high school, I started taking yoga for my spiritual growth. I found it helped me overcome anxiety and depression that I was experiencing at the time.

How long have you been practicing yoga?

I've been practicing yoga off-and-on my whole life.

Who inspires you?

This is a tough question because I am inspired by so many amazing people in my life. My yoga inspiration right now is Shiva Rea. I have been reading her book, Tending the Heart Fire. From reading the book, I find myself craving my own yoga practice as a way to connect with the rhythms and cycles of life. I feel so inspired by Shiva Rea's devotion to practicing and teaching yoga.

What is your favorite yoga pose?

I love Bharadvajasana, a seated twist that take the spine in different directions. It's such a juicy twist that also feels so calming and meditative.

What is your favorite quote?

"Yesterday's history. Tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why we call it, 'The Present.'" - Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda

What makes you smile?

Connecting with nature makes me smile. That can be something as simple as watching a bird fly over head or dipping my toes in a cool creek. I feel such wonder and belonging in nature.

What is the one thing that you would tell a new student about lil omm?

Come to Lil' Omm and you'll be coming home to your yoga family. You get some much more than just yoga classes. You and your family get opportunities to grow, discover your own gifts and share them with a welcoming community. There is also such a connection among teachers, students and staff.


Student Spotlight: Heather Walter

Prenatal classes, Itsy Bitsy Yoga  sessions, and Thrive are some of the opportunities my family and I have taken advantage of at the studio. Each of these classes offer different things as well as focuses on you as an individual, your family, and your child. I remember joining my first Itsy Bitsy Yoga session on Tuesday mornings. I was frantic. My four-month old was not sleeping and all I was craving was support from other mothers. When I walked in and sat down on my mat I looked around and immediately felt at home, comfortable,and peaceful. These women were there for me, and I for them - supporting each other through our children’s different milestones (the good and the challenging).

Then, I joined a class made up of a handful of woman of all ages called Thrive. We spent the summer sharing our core values with one another. In these sessions,we were able to intimately share our life experiences and how we can continue to become stronger as individuals and as members of our communities. Pleasance teaches classes to help others grow, and she weaves these values into the essence of the studio, working hard at making the people she meets feel like her family.

Being a member of lil omm community has been more than just attending yoga classes for my family and I. Lil omm has been a place where our family can come and play, connect, and learn to be mindful together in a safe, and nurturing environment. In a world that is fast-paced, demanding and often times stressful, learning important skills such as these, as well as being able to connect to the community around us, has been the biggest gifts lil omm has given us.


Prenatal Yoga: Use Your BRAIN - Part Two- Inversions

Over the past few months, several pregnant students have come to me and said: “My doctor told me that I should not be doing inversions, so I should not be doing Downward-Facing Dog or Puppy pose, right?”

I would sit there with my mouth agape trying to figure out how to respond. On one hand, I did not want to be contradicting their care provider. On the other hand, I wanted to tell them that Downward- Facing Dog is not harmful since doulas and midwives use that type of inversion very frequently during pregnancy and labor to help a baby get in the optimal position. 

In addition, yoga teachers often teach inversions because it is said that they bring fresh blood and oxygen to the body and stimulate the nervous and endocrine systems. 

After pondering, I decided that when teaching, I will group inversions in two categories: full inversions and half inversions.

Full inversions are poses where a person is upside down and his or her body is in a full vertical position. In these poses, the pelvis and feet are above the heart. Examples of full inversions include Handstand, Supported Shoulder Stand, and Supported Head Stand.

Half inversions are poses where the torso is diagonal to the floor and the body is fully supported. Examples of half inversions include Downward-Facing Dog and Extended Puppy Pose.

There is a lack of consensus in the yoga world when it comes to inversions, especially during pregnancy. Some traditions like Iyengar recommend full inversions during pregnancy for students with an existing inversion practice while other traditions advise against them.

There is also a lack of research done on inversions during pregnancy. It is important to note that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not recommend that pregnant women start new forms of exercise, such as a full inversion practice, during their pregnancy that have a risk of falling. This is due to the shift in a woman’s center of gravity during pregnancy, which can affect her balance and increase her chance of falling.

Another factor to consider is the impact of full inversions on blood pressure. Some pregnant women experience low blood pressure. Taking inversions with low blood pressure can cause dizziness for these women. Conversely, some women experience high blood pressure during pregnancy, which can be dangerous for both mom and baby. Suzanne Ilgun, a registered nurse and yoga teacher, conducted a series of interviews with physicians about the impact of inversions on cardiovascular health.

Suzanne concluded that physicians believed that: “The more inverted the legs and/or torso, the harder the heart must work to pump against gravity, and hence the higher the blood pressure. The more inverted the torso, the greater the intrathoracic pressure, and hence the higher the blood pressure.” This finding reinforces the concern that students may have about taking inversions during pregnancy.

Based on this information, students and teachers can also use BRAIN to evaluate full inversion practice during pregnancy and determine what is right for them:  

BRAIN for Full Inversions During Pregnancy

Benefits: Relieves varicose veins, swollen feet and ankles, assists thyroid function. Brings fresh blood and oxygen to the body.

Risks: May cause the blood pressure to rise, uterine pulling, or vascular congestion. There is also a risk of falling in a full inversion, which can especially dangerous for a pregnant student.

Alternatives: Take Downward-Facing Dog or another half inversion. Consider trying Legs Up the Wall, which also offers many of the benefits of full inversions.

Intuition: Consider the risks and the benefits of a full inversion as well as how you are feeling when you are in the pose.

Nothing: What if you did not do this pose? You could move into another pose or ask your instructor for a modification.

The research maybe lacking, but the small amount of research that has been done on this topic concludes that full inversions may not be the best option for expecting yoga practitioners. The most important thing is to be mindful of WHY you or your students want to do this asana. Is it purely for the benefits, or is the ego somehow involved? Yoga is not only the practice of connecting breath, mind and body, but is also the practice of letting go of the ego. Pregnancy can be the ideal time to take on this practice.

In the next part of the series, we will evaluate twisting yoga poses during pregnancy. What are your thoughts on practicing this group of poses in prenatal yoga?

Michelle Brady is a mother to three, a birth doula, prenatal yoga teacher, and certified HypnoBirthing practitioner. In addition to being a birth worker, she offers various yoga and education classes to mothers and their growing families in the Washington, DC metro area.

Sarah Vogel is a communications professional, yoga teacher, prenatal and postnatal fitness instructor, and most important, mom to a 5-month old son. She strives to help her students reap the benefits of yoga and fitness in a safe and empowering environment.


Upcoming Kids and Family Workshops @ Lil Omm

From going to back to school nights to finding the perfect Halloween costume, we know that fall is a busy time of year. That's why lil omm is hosting several events this season for families to connect as well as opportunities for parents to relax while their kids have fun in our unique and exciting events. 
Halloween is oh-so-omm at lil omm! Check out this post to learn about our parties, music classes, even circus yoga class we'll be hosting that weekend.
Are you looking for a fun way to connect with your kiddo? Attend our Family Superhero Yoga Class on 11/15 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Enjoy a super fun time with your kiddo as we discover our own super powers, build strength and flexibility to bring peace to the bad guys and of course, learn to fly! A healthy snack is included too. Cost: $30 per parent-child couple, $15 additional sibling rate. Click here to register.
Mothers with Daughters ages 5-10 years are invited to our Mother-Daughter Date Night on 11/22 @ 5:30-6:30pm.  Enjoy the basics of yoga postures, breathing, and relaxation in this sweet, shared practice

Yoga for Parents and Tweens (ages 8-12).  Learn the basics of yoga posture, breathing techniques, and benefits of relaxation in this 4-week session.  Explore circus inspired yoga, connection, and stress relief.  All levels welcome.

Before the big feast on Thanksgiving, come to LO for our annual Thanksgiving family yoga class, led by Pleasance. All ages are welcome.

Kick off the holiday season with a Nutracker-themed family yoga class on 12/6 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Soldiers and sugar plum fairies, ages 3-8 years, will enjoy a classic tale in a new way! Cost: $30 (families up to 3 people), $40 (families 4 or more people). Click here to register.

Ring in the new year at lil omm!  We will be hosting 2 separate parties:  Family Yoga 0-3 years @ 4pm and Family Yoga 3+ years (pizza dinner included) @ 5:30pm.  Space is limited to 12 families so please RSVP soon.

We hope to see you at one of these fun, family-focused events! Check the workshops tab for more information!


Teacher Feature: Elissa Margolin

Elissa Margolin recently joined the lil omm family as a teacher, but her experience with us started as a prenatal yoga student. A yoga teacher for several years, Elissa's journey with yoga started in college and continued through her travels through 18 different countries!

Elissa is an E-RYT200, RYT500 certified teacher and yoga therapist. Her 500hr training is in Yoga Therapy, and her 200-hr training is through YogaWorks. She has completed additional vinyasa teacher trainings with Shiva Rea and Seane Corn, and has also studied with David Swenson and Sarah Powers, as well as many other wonderful teachers.You will find Elissa teaching Baby & Me Yoga and Yoga Flow/Playtime with her most recent and greatest teacher, her son. 

Elissa graciously answered the following questions about herself, but the best way to get to know her better is to meet her on the mat! 

What brought you to yoga?

I attended my first yoga class as a freshman in college at Brown University. It was at that sweet time in life when one’s job is to be wide open and receptive, to learn and absorb and explore, to be a student of the world. I was very interested in Eastern philosophy and religion, and particularly in other approaches to healing and medicine; I was studying Buddhism and the therapeutics of meditation, and was fascinated by anthropology.  

In retrospect, studying yoga fit well into the way I was trying to learn about the world and about myself. It was the ultimate exploration of body, mind, culture… a truly experiential and tangible way of learning, and what has turned out to be life-long lesson in being human.

How long have you been practicing yoga? 

That first class I took was in 1996.  I have been practicing yoga ever since… I have spent about 10 of the last 18 years living abroad, primarily in Africa and Asia, and my yoga study and practice has been as diverse as the places I have lived. I have had the honor and luck of studying with an eclectic and wonderful array of teachers all over the world. My practice and my teaching reflect that colorful tapestry of global influence.

Who inspires you? 

As a new mother, I think I am most inspired right now by other mothers.
I am inspired by what it means to be a mom- to act from a place this is so primal, so instinctual, so intuitive.  To trust in my body to provide intelligently and perfectly for myself and my baby through pregnancy and long beyond, and to trust in my heart to guide me through the process of motherhood.  To tap in to the very essence of creativity.  To nourish and to nurture.  To be stronger and braver, more fierce and more humbled than ever before.

I am blessed to have so many incredible mothers in my life who continue to be my teachers and my unwavering source of support and encouragement. My mom is a tremendous inspiration.  Growing up, she made everything we did a joyous act of creativity and play, igniting and nurturing in me a vibrant imagination and instilling a permeating spirit of playfulness.

Another mother who continues to amaze me is Meg, my oldest friend in the world, who is mom to 4-year-old twins, a full-time nurse and who recently completed intensive advanced studies to receive her certification as a nurse practitioner. She has managed to somehow be home with her girls for most of their waking hours, take them on endless adventures, and meanwhile remain an involved and loving friend to a very wide circle of people. She does all of this with such poise and easy-going humor.  Though she has little time to practice on a yoga mat these days, she is one of the best examples I know of a true yogini… balancing strength and focus with grace, agility and light.

What is your favorite yoga pose? 

I just recently spent some time on Vashon Island in Puget Sound, and I loved doing yoga on a stand-up paddleboard!  I am a water baby, and am most at home by the ocean, so getting to practice yoga on a beach when I can see and smell the water is one of my very favorite things in life.  Practicing yoga literally on the ocean is just incredible!  

I think I had the most fun practicing headstands on the board; not only is there an incredible rush balancing upside down on the moving water, but it is also a chance to strip a pose that I’ve done hundreds of times down to its very basics. Practicing on the water gave me the opportunity to re-learn what it means to take things slowly, to take the time to establish a strong and stable foundation to support me as I expand into a deeper expression of the pose. I gained a renewed appreciation for a sense of rooting and rebounding, and of all the tiny stabilizing muscles that do the real work of the pose.

Best of all, though, was when my husband and I decided to share a board, and we discovered we could do our headstands simultaneously on the same board. That might be my new favorite yoga pose!

What is your favorite quote? 

“In doing something, do it with love or never do it at all.”

-- Mahatma Gandhi

What makes you smile? 

My son!  Harper is six months old, and is the greatest joy and love of my life.  His newest trick just might be my favorite… he gives me kisses!  He holds onto both sides of my face, or more recently, wraps his tiny arms around my neck, and then opens his mouth wide and plants a great big slobbery kiss on my cheek, my chin, my nose, my lips…  It is the best thing in the world!  Never mind smile, it makes my heart soar.

What is the one thing that you would tell a new student about lil omm? 

Lil omm is a so much more than a yoga studio.  It is a beautiful community composed of moms and dads and children who together create an amazing extended family of support and inspiration. I feel so fortunate to have found a space and a community where I can practice yoga in the company of such great people, and even more importantly, where Harper is totally welcome to share in every part of the experience. He has been coming to the studio since he was 5 weeks old (or, really, since he was in my belly!), and now at 6 months, is completely at ease here.  I love that he will continue to be supported to feel at home in his body, and that as he learns new ways to explore and play, lil omm will continue to nurture his development in a way that is equal parts active and peaceful.


Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors Marks 5-Year Anniversary

By: Amy Dara

On Sunday, September 7, 2014, Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors celebrated a milestone: on the first September Sunday five years ago, Circle Yoga hosted the first ever Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors class in Washington, D.C.

Adapted to the unique needs of women cancer survivors – to whom teacher Amy Dara affectionately refers as Warrior Women – this gentle yoga class provides coping tools for the emotional and physical challenges of the battle with this disease. There is no pressure to do anything that doesn’t feel right on a particular day – Amy Dara puts those too weak and fatigued to move into a restorative pose and checks on them while continuing the active portion of the class. These students come for one of the biggest benefits of this class: the nurturing, supportive community formed by the Warrior Women in a safe space.

Over the years, this class has been home to longtime survivors and new cancer patients seeking a positive community with others who understand what they’ve been through or are currently going through. Many Warrior Women are fortunate to have their cancer go into remission and attend other yoga classes, returning to the Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors classes when dealing with recurrence anxiety or when a long-term side effect flares up.

The Warrior Women’s age ranges from college to retirement. Many juggle their cancer treatment with full-time employment and wife/mother/caregiver duties. While the majority has been diagnosed with breast cancer, some Warrior Women have battled various other types of cancer. Some had a tumor that had been removed and that was it. Some have been undergoing treatment on and off for years for metastatic cancer that goes in and out of remission. Many lie in between these two extremes, having received some combination of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, bone marrow transplant, targeted therapy, and participation in clinical trials. Regardless of all this, Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors provides a safe, nurturing oasis where they can take time out for themselves in the same space with others who understand what it’s like.

The community has grown to include a bimonthly newsletter, quarterly gatherings, and fundraisers such as bake sales and Yoga on the Steps for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors classes meets four times a week at three venues in Upper Northwest Washington, D.C., including one Super Gentle Chair Yoga class.

The Warrior Women and Amy Dara are deeply grateful to Circle Yoga Cooperative, lil omm yoga, andSibley Memorial Hospital for enabling Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors to take place within their warm, welcoming community. We are also grateful to fellow teachers Catherine Syron, Joyce Craig, and Erika Newell for occasionally subbing for Amy Dara. These three became certified through the Yoga 4 CancerTeacher Training hosted by Circle Yoga in 2012, in which Amy Dara assisted her teacher, Tari Prinster.

Additionally, the Washington, D.C. Warrior Women will soon have a sister community in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Last June, Amy Dara trained four certified yoga teachers, who will start three new classes, including one at Canvi, in early October 2014. The next Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors Teacher Training will take place in Barcelona over two consecutive weekends in March 2015. It is open to certified yoga teachers worldwide. In conjunction with this teacher training, Amy Dara has been researching, writing, and updating a manual containing a wealth of information based on clinical studies that will become available for purchase online in the near future.

Starting in October, join us at lil omm on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month @ 6:30pm for our Yoga for Women Cancer Survivors class.  Only $10/student.

Visit Amy's Blog

In addition to Amy's regular Saturday Prenatal Class at LO, check out these Upcoming Events with Amy Dara:  
  • Restorative Yoga, 2nd & 4th Fridays of each Month @ 7:45pm
  • Chocolate Meditation Workshop on Friday, 10/18 @ 7:45pm
  • Thanksgiving Attitude of Gratitude Class on Thursday, 11/27 @ 9am
  • New Year Detox & Rejuve Workshop, 1/1 @ 11am