There are over 130,000 individuals in Ontario who are living with Schizophrenia.
The Yogathon for Schizophrenia benefits the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario’s Peace of Minds youth engagement initiative, which helps youth and youth workers identify the signs and symptoms of psychosis; understand the importance of getting help early; and encourages them to fight the stigma associated with schizophrenia by speaking out against myths related to the illness. The Yogathon takes place on Saturday, February 25 in Toronto and Oakville.
I had the opportunity to speak with Pauline Caballero who is the event chair and also on the Board of Directors for the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario about the event, her journey into Yoga and the connection to mental health.
My Body My Temple: Pauline, how did you get involved in Yoga?
Pauline: I started practicing Yoga in 2005 after the birth of my son. My brother was also very will with Schizophrenia and being on my mat helped me to find my centre. I fell in love with the classes and began the process of teacher training in October 2008 with Baron Baptiste. I opened the first Power Yoga Canada studio 2009. Yoga was a healing tool then and it still is the way that I find my way back to centre.
MBMT: How did you get involved in this event?
Pauline: In 2010 I attended the Lululemon Ambassador Summit. At that event, I stood up and declared my intention to be involved in not for profit organizations. About 6 months later I received a “random” call from the CEO of the Schizophenia Society of Ontario to take part in their annual Yogathon and later became the event chair. Since I have a personal connection to mental health through my brother, I saw it as a way to raise awareness and give back to the community. Of course, there was nothing random about the call – the Universe heard my intention and the opportunity materialized very quickly.
MBMT: Why do you volunteer your time in this way?
Pauline: It means sharing for sake of sharing. No attachment and no expectations. I think it is important to share Yoga – to make it accessible to all people and to all bodies. The Asanas (postures) are just one part of the practice. So much more of it has to do with unity in community, inclusivity, being still, communicating and being present for people.
I bring 5 core values to everything that I do:
- Being for people
- Honoring commitments
- Speaking truth
- Listening generously
- Acknowledging and appreciating
There is no separation between who we are at work, at home, in the mall. The way you in one place is the way you are everywhere. Similarly with mental health – that state of mind goes everywhere.
MBMT: Why does mental health matter?
Pauline: "Schizophrenia is a chronic and serious disease of the brain. It is a psychotic disorder, which involves a loss of contact with reality, making it very hard for a person to distinguish between what is real and what is not.
Schizophrenia greatly alters how a person thinks and perceives the world, and consequently how they feel and behave."
The majority of people suffer from mental illness. As a society we need to acknowledge it. We live in a society where the pace is getting faster and the demands on our time and resources can make anyone feel out of balance. That chronic state needs to be addressed.
MBMY: Why use Yoga as a fundraising activity?
Pauline: Yoga is a powerful way to create awareness and is a healing too. When you get involved in an event like this – raising funds also helps to raise awareness. It is a large group activity, with a wide range of yoga teachers and practices for every skill level. There are already more than 80 people registered for the event and we welcome more people to join in. Our campaign goal is $80,000 with a minimum $100 per registrant.
To find out more and register for the event click here.