The First Presentation

The project started as two yoga classes to be presented at the Scleroderma Foundation’s National Conference from June 29 through July 1, 2001, described as follows in the conference literature:


Yoga has become one of the most popular forms of exercise. This workshop will present the types of Yoga, so that when you go home to your local studio or YMCA, you will understand what would be practical for you. This workshop is not just for those who are experienced in yoga and fully mobile. Our presenter has taught yoga techniques to persons who are completely immobilized. This workshop is for all! If you have mobility issues, bring your care givers, because we can teach them to assist you into postures. This program can benefit all-young, old, mobile, not so mobile.


You are always told that by managing your stress levels you can help manage your disease activity. In this day and age, this can be a practical impossibility! Juggling family, job, physician visits, etc. requires stamina and nerves of steel. We are going to offer you a way to reduce your stress level by learning to relax using breathing techniques. This workshop will be helpful for all those in your household that deal with the daily challenge of a chronic illness. Get ready to become very relaxed!

Kathy researched Scleroderma and prepared programs to introduce newcomers to yoga techniques, focused on the specific symptoms of Scleroderma and the relief available through asana and pranayama. Kathy prepared a large amount of material, with handouts, and then tailored the presentations to the interests of the group.

The conference format was to present topics in breakout sessions, with eight different presentations going on at once.

Based on the number of topics offered she was told to expect 40 to 50 participants per session, and brought 75 handout packets for each presentation. Thirty-five participants attended the "Relax!" program on breathing techniques. Then, 112 attended the Yoga presentation. After the room filled, the doors were opened, and people were doing yoga in the halls.

The conference staff was busy making copies of the handout packet during the presentation so all participants received one.

Both presentations were audio-taped, a standard practice in conferences, so participants were able to purchase tapes of sessions they did not attend. The tapes were available shortly after the presentation, and sold briskly throughout the conference, as a fund-raiser for the Foundation.

Based on the popularity of the program, Caroline Weller, RN, National Director of Education for The Scleroderma Foundation, asked if Kathy would make a video of "Yoga for Scleroderma".

Of course, the answer was "YES!"

And so the research began and a new program was created.