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Freaky Friday - Meet Sarah. The Founder of Yoga Reaches Out

Sarah Gardner Founder of Yoga Reaches Out
Yoga Reaches Out May 1st Featuring Kathryn Budig
Gillette Stadium's Field House Filled with community focused yogis
Yoga Reaches Out May 1st at Gillette Stadium
Joelle at Boston's Children's Hospital just after one of her surgeries for her new heart
Joelle is Strong, Brave and not afraid of anything!

Freaky Friday - Every Friday a new post dealing with love, relationships, dating...and anything else the human soul may need.

You know when you come in contact with someone and they make you feel something special? For me, Sarah made me feel sheer joy. I think it may be her super power to bring joy to others just by being around her. I could feel her love for Yoga Reaches Out through the phone and it was contagious. I had to hold back tears a few times. I was really compelled to know, why Yoga Reaches Out? How did she come up with the idea? And why have this yoga event be about service? She told me of how she came to find yoga. Just after the birth of her son, he was 10 weeks premature, and Yoga was an outlet for her. and As Sarah put it, Yoga helped her create space. It was seeing how yoga helped her as well as seeing how the doctors and nurses at Boston Children's Hospital stepped in and helped to save her son. She came to the realization that life is just not about ourselves. It's about helping others.
Later when she was driving down Rte 128 she thought "I want to have a yogathon at Gillete Statium." Friends tried to coax her into starting the event at a small yoga studio but Sarah knew Gillete was the location for her. And she was right. Now going on Yoga Reaches Out's sixth year the nonprofit has raised close to two million dollars for children's charities across the country including where it all began for Sarah, Boston Children's Hospital.

Before getting too far into Yoga Reaches Out and going deeper into the connection Yoga Reaches Out has to Nantucket, I would like you to know a bit more about Sarah; her yoga practice, what keeps her going when the going gets tough and if she has a mantra or words she lives by. (Interviewing people that love doing what they do my obsessive-joyful-I-want-to-know-everything-about side comes out strong. ) "Choosing kindness" is something that Sarah lives by. She went on to go further into this mantra saying that in the choices she makes, she chooses to help others and to do it with joy. Makes one's heart sing. We all know we have a choice in every part of our lives. Yoga especially teaches us this.

Yoga is a practice and it doesn't matter who you are or how long you have been practicing, there's always a challenge as well as thrilling effortless joyful moments where one feels open and free. A pose that is currently challenging Sarah is Camel pose. With good reason. This pose is a heart opener and one must bend their body backwards and becoming a sort square "o". "I'm not friendly with it right now. I don't think I have the back extension." I personally do see a lot of people that struggle with this pose. I do love that that pose Sarah is feeling connected to is another heart opener, just from a different angle, triangle. It ends up looking just as it sounds just in case you're not familiar. Her description was beautiful, "Triangle pose warms my heart. Grounding and liberating. Your heart the front and the back are shining up. You feel supported." Makes me want to give it a go from her perspective and explore both poses. Yoga continues off the mat. There are struggles we all face and joyful moments too. Yoga Reaches Out is a big joyful undertaking. Over 1,000 yogis will practice on May 1st at Gillette Stadium’s Field House in Foxboro, MA.  In addition to the YRO chapter in New England there are six other chapters across the country Sarah praised those that have helped Yoga Reaches Out, especially those from the beginning, finding support from not only the yoga community but other communities as well. Yoga Reaches Out is more than just a yogathon. People who don't practice yoga wanted to become involved. "People would say, 'I get to do what I love to do and help others at the same time.' People really came together. More than just the yoga community." I think this is also a beautiful testament to Sarah and the fact that Yoga Reaches Out's roots in helping children and their families run deep. "We are doing this for love." Sarah said joyfully. This year, the funds will go to the new Yoga Reaches Out Wellness Center at Boston Children's Hospital. They will offer complimentary yoga classes, massages and reiki to parents and caregivers of patients of Boston Children's Hospital. Will the help and support of Yoga Reaches Out, they hope to offer these services to the children at the hospital as well.  Sarah is hoping this will also be offered to the staff, helping to heal the families, children and the doctors and nurses that do so much for their patients. 
Yoga Reaches Out over the years has been able to round up some incredible teachers and yogis. Nantucket supports this event more than the eye can see or maybe more than you even realized. The Nantucket Yoga Festival will have a chance for you to win tickets to the festival weekend in July and other prizes to support this wonderful cause. Also, this year Nantucket's own Caitlin Marcoux will be guiding yoga during the event. There is also a group of twelve passionate yogis making up the Nantucket Yoga Tribe Team that will represent the Nantucket community, including two of my favorites, Ieva And Evie. Both bright lights in the world!

All of these people coming together for a cause. A cause that has a strong connection to Nantucket, Boston Children's Hospital. We've all know at least one family on Nantucket that have used their services. I personally have witnessed through my best friend and favorite little human what Boston Children's Hospital can do and continues to do for our families. So where does your donation and fund raising efforts go towards? Children like Joelle. Joelle is my best friend's little girl. One 4th of July when she was about four years old she was playing in a kiddie pool with a bunch of other kids. One little boy kept pushing her down on the ground and she was loving it, having a blast rough housing. Her aunt, whom was sitting next to me, shouted "no, don't do that! Don't play like that". Little Joelle was just in her bottoms and came running over. On her chest you could see a long scar down her chest that she calls her zipper. She is smaller in size than the younger kids. She holds up her little skinny arms in front of me and her aunt, trying to make us see her muscles, and she said, "No I won't. I'm strong, I'm brave and I'm not afraid of anything!" She quickly ran back to the kiddie pool to be pushed down again. Her aunt and I couldn't argue with what she said. Actually, it's become a mantra of mine when the going gets tough. Joelle is now eight years old. Within the first few months of her life she had a heart transplant, hence her zipper scar down the front of her body. "All three of her surgeries and eight years of followup care have been at Boston's Children's Hospital. It's our second home. We love them!" Kelly (Joelle's mother) said when I asked her recently about her experience with the hospital. I know the followup care is not just an every once in a while deal as well. It's at least every three months for a biopsy as well as other follow up care items. No small deal. The staff and people at the hospital make them feel like they are at home. That's saying a lot, since most hospitals are scary, cold and sad places to be to say the least. Bostons Children's hospital helps families feel warm and welcomed during some of their most stressful times in their lives. I for one am grateful for their care of little Joelle and so many other Nantucket families such as Joelle's. Now this new wellness center will help other families and children heal and feel whole through some of their tough moments . If you feel connected to this story and what Yoga Reaches Out does for Boston Children's Hospital as well as other beautiful children's charities around the country, consider making a donation or joining the yogathon. Your donation directly helps those who need it the most in a way that will help to heal their minds, body and souls. Nothing better!

If you would like Yoga Reaches Out near you and programs such as the Yoga Reaches Out Wellness Center, make sure to go to the website and connect. A goal of Sarah's and the Yoga Reaches Out community is to have charters in every major city as well as overseas, helping local children's charities. Reach out and see how your community can connect and be empowered. 

If you would like to join in the fun May 1st, there's still time. Look to the website for more information. Sarah says that the feeling is indescribable: "the field house levitating, in a way." How glorious and wonderful is that! Hope you come experience for yourself.
 Here is the Yoga Reaches Out website. 
 The Nantucket Yoga Tribe donation page. 
 And if you're not already, consider becoming an organ donor. April is Donate Life month. I've been registered organ donor since I could be. I feel especially connected to this after seeing Joelle thrive with a her new heart.

Thank you for reading! Thank you for all the love and support, especially to Yoga Reaches Out helping children and families heal. 

Peace, Love & Hugs!