Behind the Scenes of Breathe Now: Part 2

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Behind the Scenes of Breathe Now

Tara Picklo, Retreat Yoga Instructor, 200 YTT


Dear Jack Foundation’s Behind the Scenes of Breathe Now series takes a glance into our programs from the facilitator’s perspective to shed light on the ‘why’ behind the objective of program curriculum and program participant outcomes.

In our second of four Behind the Scenes of Breathe Now blog posts, we invited Dear Jack Foundation’s Breathe Now Yoga Instructor Tara Picklo, to participate in a short Q&A about what makes our Breathe Now wellness couples retreats stand out.

1) What makes the Breathe Now program unique within the YA cancer space? I appreciate that the Breathe Now program works with young adult couples and focuses on both the cancer survivor and caregiver. Relationship dynamics along the road to recovery can be difficult to navigate but the Breathe Now program structure provides support through yoga and psychosocial breakout sessions while the couples connect one-on-one and as a community that can extend past the time we spend together.

2) How have you personally witnessed the Breathe Now program impacting change? While on the retreat the couples mentally navigate their recovery through the lens of relationship with their partner and caregiver. Having the uninterrupted time to focus on each other and their relationship is powerful and it’s also clear that the couples leave with new found strength and hope in life. They also keep new connections with others who understand them fully and that transcends to a new support system post program. Upon culmination of the program the couples are always so grateful for the opportunity to learn through self-work (psychosocially and through the self with yoga) and connect with young adults who really understand them in such a beautiful location.

3) Why did you personally become involved to lend your professional expertise as a program facilitator (yoga instructor) for the retreats? Unfortunately, I have experience in the young adult cancer world after losing my husband to metastatic melanoma a few years ago. The shock of diagnosis to a healthy, athletic, happy 29-year-old led to a rugged treatment path and onward to an emotional rollercoaster as our life changed in the face of adversity. Cancer effected our lives for 8 years and I often didn’t feel like we had enough of the support needed to navigate the turbulence. There are many resources out there for cancer support but not many for caregivers and the burden of the battle falls on both shoulders. I knew that no matter what happened I would work with those who are forced to walk in similar shoes as my own, hoping I could eventually shine some light in the darkness of diagnosis. After my husband passed away, I became even more committed to be of service to others who are going down the all-consuming, confusing path of cancer.

Teaching yoga and the ability to connect ones body with breath to help healing physically and emotionally has become my passion and has led to pursing ongoing education to guide yoga through a more therapeutic lens.

4) What are a couple fun facts about you that we wouldn’t know from reading your professional bio?

  • I raced mountain bikes competitively for 5 years and love being in nature whenever possible.
  • I love unicorns and rainbows and try to have a child-like mentality about living life because it’s all too serious most of the time.
  • My puppy’s name is Shanti and I am learning to be a good fur mommy these days 🙂
  • I have spent 4 months in Bali over the past 2 years reflecting and taking some time for me, which is something I am forever grateful I was able to do!