Yoga-thon for Schizophrenia

    TORONTO, May 15 /CNW/ - The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) will
host its annual Yoga-thon for Schizophrenia on May 16th, 2009 at the
Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District, 55 Mill Street, Toronto. The SSO
has been holding this event for the past four years, bringing yoga enthusiasts
together in a union of Karma and Hatha yoga to raise much needed funds for
their Early Intervention Program.
    The Yoga-thon for Schizophrenia, which began in 2005, was the first event
of its kind in Ontario and since its inception has raised close to $100,000
for the SSO. Joanne Lowe, Director, Big Stretch Yoga Centre, has been
participating in the Yoga-thon for the past three years and will once again be
an instructor at the 2009 event.
    What keeps Joanne coming back year after year? "For not only myself, but
others who may have family members with schizophrenia and feel powerless to
help their own loved ones, this event provides us with a joyful and peaceful
venue that allows us to help others out by raising funds," says Joanne. "In
the spirit of karma yoga, joining together as a group definitely creates
awareness of this disease, bringing it out in the open."
    Featuring yoga instructors from many of Toronto's top yoga studios, this
full day event will begin with an introduction to meditation, followed by
group sessions designed for all levels of experience. Mid-way through the
day's proceedings, participants will be treated to a performance by
world-renowned drummer Muhtadi Thomas, founder and Artistic Director of the
Muhtadi International Drumming Festival.
    Not only is this an innovative and interesting way to raise money for a
great cause, it also raises awareness of the healing power of Yoga, which can
be helpful to people with schizophrenia. Medication is the cornerstone of
treatment for schizophrenia, but effective treatment often includes other
medical and therapeutic treatment as well as family and social supports.
    "As effective as the newest medications are, they don't control all
symptoms (of schizophrenia). Complimentary and alternative treatments can
satisfy the emotional and spiritual needs of patients in a way that standard
therapies and psychiatry don't," says Weilant Machleidt, MD, a professor of
social psychology at Hanover Medical School in Germany.
    Known as youth's greatest disabler, schizophrenia generally strikes young
people at the prime of their lives, in their late teens or early 20's. When
schizophrenia is left untreated, it can cause delusions, hallucinations, and
emotional withdrawal: at its most extreme, this mental illness can,
tragically, sometimes result in suicide.
    SSO's Early Intervention Program seeks to raise awareness of the early
signs and symptoms of psychotic disorders in order to encourage early
diagnosis and treatment. In 2008, the SSO used the funds generated through our
Yoga-thon, to reach out to 2300 youth, through presentations and interactive
workshops that focused on recognizing the early symptoms of psychosis. Early
diagnosis is vital. Timely intervention and comprehensive treatment will
empower and assist people with schizophrenia to cope with the illness and lead
productive lives.
    Schizophrenia affects one in every 100 Canadians and has a profound
impact on their lives and the lives of all those who care for them - family,
friends, relatives and others. There are approximately 300,000 people who
suffer from schizophrenia in Canada, of which 120,000 live in Ontario.
    This year, the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario celebrates 30 years of
offering a reason to hope and the means to cope to families and individuals
affected by schizophrenia. SSO provides support, education, and advocacy on
behalf of people and families affected by schizophrenia across Ontario. SSO is
the largest organization representing people affected by schizophrenia in this
    We would like to thank our 2009 Yoga-thon corporate sponsors: CIBC World
Markets Children's Miracle Foundation, TD Securities, Roots Yoga Studio, and
Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, as well as our media partner Ascent Magazine.
    Our other valued supporters of this year's event include Roots Yoga, Dear
Lil' Devas, Downward Dog, Moksha Yoga Danforth, The Big Stretch Yoga Centre,
Yoga Sanctuary-Danforth, and Octopus Garden Yoga Centre.

For further information:

For further information: Steven Hobé, Manager of Marketing &
Communications, (416) 449-6830 ext. 254, 130 Spadina Ave., Suite No.302,
Toronto, ON, M5V 2L4

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