Last year around this time, a school project offered me the opportunity to pursue pretty much anything I wanted.
A book, an event, a documentary…as long as it related to my schooling in some way, I was good to go.
Just kidding. I spent three months coming up with the idea, writing its proposal, and pitching the project to a panel before I got the green light. It was good, though. I was committing to a year-long project; the thorough process pushed me to be thoughtful about the type of work I was setting myself up for.
Out of all the brainstorming came Karma Cure — a yoga retreat raising money and awareness for cancer prevention, which happened last Sunday. Proceeds go to the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. I wanted to create an experience that would mean something to other people, and I knew that would only work if Karma Cure came from a meaningful place in my life.
Katrina was one of my best friends throughout elementary school and we stayed close even after she moved away in grade 4. We sent letters (on paper!), talked on the phone, she came to visit. She, I, and our two other friends Hayley and Amanda spent a chunk of our summers together bike riding across the neighbourhood (pre-licence era), going to movies, and swimming in Hayley’s pool when Katrina came to visit. As I’ve grown up in the past 10 years I’ve learned how easily friends come and go; I’m humbled by friendships like Katrina’s that stuck — even when she lived across the country.
In 2013 Katrina was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. She died in September 2015, and I started thinking about how unnecessary her death was, how preventable it was. Like who would even jump to the conclusion that a 19-year-old’s headaches hinted at a malignant tumour? My perspective changed when Katrina died; so many us get comfortable with the “it won’t happen to me” attitude. We expect we don’t need to worry about “that stuff” until we’re gray and leathery.
We’re all vulnerable to risk and sickness, but we have power in preventing them. Every day we make choices — intentionally or not — that impact our well-being and the quality of our future.
Karma Cure’s mission is to be an opportunity to pursue those choices — the ones that build on a better, stronger you. All I hoped for was to inspire a proactive lifestyle founded on intentional choices that help your mind, body, and community thrive. Karma is more than the energy you send out to other people — it applies to how you treat your body and what you receive in return.
Karma Cure offered an AM or PM session and each met halfway for lunch and dessert created by Fauxnola, a local whole-food brand. Guests checked in, received their lululemon swag bag filled with coupons and snacks from local restaurants like Green Carrot Juice Company, Cranked Energy, and Cornelia Bean Ltd., and participated in two classes led by inspiring, community-driven teachers from The Yoga Barre, SquireYoga, Be Yoga, and Prairie Yogi:
• F*ck Cancer Flow
• Restorative Class with Essential Oils
• Super Chill
• Easy Tiger
Yogis spent their downtime lounging in lululemon’s Self-care Sanctuary Space, relaxing over a complementary 5-minute massage from two massage therapists, posing for the Karma Cure photo booth, and shopping in the pop-up shop filled by talented local vendors like Rogue Wood Supply, Fat Lye Soap Co., and Pebble & Dime.
There’s lots more pictures and video on the way, but here are a few cuties from last weekend’s day of self-care!