Love is the reason

May 10, 2021

I hope this finds you well and enjoying spring.

Welcome to the 20th year celebration of our yoga journey together for Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

What began as 100 people on the Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps bloomed into approximately 20,000 people in cities including Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Denver, Fort Myers, Kansas City, and participants across the U.S. online.

I’m honored to be co-founder and lead a holistic healing yoga practice — physical postures (asana) and mediative mindful prompts for self-study (swadhyaya).

The intention for this yoga practice is self-care, love, inclusion, community, and sharing yoga for a reason. 

We each come to Reach & Raise for different reasons. I invite you to meditate on this question: What is your reason? And who will you dedicate your yoga practice to this year?

My reason this year is beloved Amy Lessack, one of my favorite students, who died of metastatic breast cancer in February. Because of Reach & Raise, Amy came into my life. With joy and abundance, she shared her heart, attended many yoga and writing classes, and repeatedly said 10 words I’ll always cherish: “Thank you. I love you. I value you so much.”

Words that touched me deeply.

I’m sure you have your reason or someone like Amy you want to support or celebrate, someone who shines, is your rock, or radiates warmth.  

Amy personified the essence of Reach & Raise. She encouraged connection and community. She built a thriving team, rallied and hugged them. She beamed in every yoga pose — especially tree. She personified the diversity of the lived experience of breast cancer and deeply cultivated friendships that reciprocated her devotion.

Amy, regardless of circumstances, loved life and brought love where ever she went, in her words, smile, letters, cards, and on the pages of her journal. When she had a difference of opinion, you knew it. But this felt like love too because she wanted you know where she stood so she could get on with living.

Each year I dedicate my practice and teachings to my grandmother Kathleen Converse, who died of complications with breast cancer. This year my reason includes my newest angel, Amy Lessack.

Interweaved in the history of this event’s yoga practice is the heavenly music, chanting, and voice of Yvette Om, my dear beloved friend and masterful teacher. Yvette’s music, presence and voice accompanies the Reach & Raise yoga practice with grace and a relaxing, light touch and enchants with her divine gift for inspiring with intention and sound. I’m honored to share the practice with such a dedicated yoga teacher, singer, and poet as Yvette Om.

You’re warmly invited to join us in a large group, team, or as an individual to practice a gentle, loving yoga class in community to support those impacted by breast cancer.

Our goal is to raise $400,000 for Living Beyond Breast Cancer to continue to expand their reach and deepen their engagement to all those who have been impacted by breast cancer.

Meditate for 30 seconds on this: Who recently inspired you or deepened your awareness of what love is? What are you learning to love?

Whether in person or in a tribute, share the love of your practice and let’s continue to carry the love forward together.

In gratitude,
Jennifer Schelter
Visionary and Co-Founder, Reach & Raise


Join Jennifer and hundreds of people who have been affected by breast cancer at Reach & Raise: Yoga for a reason, broadcasting around the country from the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday, May 16. Join a team or start your own at reachandraise.org.