yoga calendar project raises money & awareness for multiple sclerosis

Mr June: Matthew Harper poses for MS (photo by Denise Sarazin,

When Ottawa-based nurse and yoga teacher Natalie Van Tassel’s 23-year-old son was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), she decided to do everything she could to raise awareness of the disease.

Her first effort started just months after her son’s diagnosis. She collaborated with local photographer Denise Sarazin to create a calendar featuring Ottawa yoga instructors in parks, streets and iconic buildings around the region. A community of instructors turned out to support the project, and all proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada in support of research and programs.

MS is an inflammatory disease which affects the ability of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other. It’s a complex disease with an unknown cause, and it often leads to immune deficiencies and physical/cognitive disabilities.

Yoga is proven to be effective in relieving symptoms of MS, particularly fatigue, numbness in the limbs and loss of flexibility – so a calendar of inspiring yoga photography is a natural fit for a fundraiser.

Buy the Yoga for MS calendar here.

  1. I am so happy to see this initiative! I am a yoga teacher/therapist and health researcher who has been working with MS patients for years and its wonderful to see how a devoted practice keeps symptoms at bay. With a well trained therapeutic teacher a person living with MS will benefit emensely as it relieves stress, which is one of the main factors in triggering the disease, keeps muscles long and healthy and even aid with balance- another obstacle for MS patients.

    I am hoping to offer classes free of charge for MS patients soon at our centre after being so inspired with the progress I have seen.

    Of course, its important to stay political and by incorporating natural therapies we are making a political statement. Its important to let everyone know that our stressed health care system can be aided by incorporating complementary therapies. Not only would it free up wait times, but the cost benefit ratio would alleviate many concerns in the public system (and create jobs) while improving the general public’s health.

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  1. ring in 2014 with the yoga for MS calendar