February 02, 2011 09:01 ET

Hold That Pose on March 5-Ontarians to Roll Out Their Yoga Mats in Support of Schizophrenia Society of Ontario

Yogathon Raises Funds and Awareness for Youth Engagement and Education

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 2, 2011) -

Editors Note: There is a photo and video associated with this press release.

The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) is encouraging all Ontarians to practice yoga on March 5 and help bring peace of mind to over 130,000 people in the province who are living with the illness.

In its sixth year, the Yogathon for Schizophrenia will raise funds for SSO's Peace of Minds youth program. This vital program includes community outreach to help young people identify the signs and symptoms of psychosis and schizophrenia, as well as understand the importance of getting help early.

"Schizophrenia is a treatable illness that most often starts to surface around 15 or 16," says Mary Alberti, chief executive officer of SSO. "Young people feel frightened and isolated and tell us that the illness robs them of their hopes and dreams, and can significantly alter all their important relationships, including those with friends and family."

Toronto resident Samantha Mercanti first developed symptoms of psychosis in her late teens but did not receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia until her third year of university. "If someone would have recognized the signs in me when I was young, I believe I would not have lost six or seven years of my life to the illness," said Mercanti.

Mercanti left school to receive treatment, but returned to finish her chemistry degree and is now completing a math degree with the ultimate goal of getting a PhD and working as a professor.

"Early diagnosis and intervention is vital," says Alberti. "Funds raised through the Yogathon go a long way toward helping SSO to expand youth-related programs that deliver a lifetime of possibilities."

Lauren Collins Lends Her Support and Helps Launch Mobile Giving

Actor Lauren Collins, who spent eight years on Degrassi helping young people deal with the pressures of growing up, is a proud supporter of SSO's Peace of Mind's campaign.

Lauren recorded a Public Service Announcement to raise awareness for the SSO's Youth Engagement programs and this year's Yogathon, as well as to launch SSO's mobile giving initiative. Individuals can text PEACE to 45678 to donate $5 to the organization.

SSO Offers Participation Options

"It doesn't matter if you are a skilled yogi or yogini, we encourage everyone to participate in any way they can," Alberti added.

This year the Yogathon has expanded its reach across the province, and offers three ways to participate:


Join one of three signature events:

• Toronto – March 5

• Oakville – February 12

• Peterborough – March 5


Attend an SSO designated class or join a team at participating yoga studio's across Ontario including:

Ahimsa Yoga Centre

Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Toronto

Beams of Light

BLISS Ann Green Yoga

Bliss Yoga Studio

Bodhi Tree Yoga Centre

Breathe Yoga Studio

Buddha Belly Yoga

Chrysalis Yoga

5 Elements Yoga & Pilates


Heaven Studio

Heron Creek Yoga

Mandorla Yoga & Wellness

Mindful Movement Centre

Ohm Yoga Studio

One Love One Heart Yoga

Path to Stillness Yoga Studio

Power Yoga Canada


Prana Yoga and Wellness

Queen Street Yoga

Rama Lotus Yoga Centre

Shakti Yoga

The Yoga Centre of Niagara

The Yoga Way

Yoga Therapy Toronto


Individuals who are unable to attend an organized event are invited to do yoga at home or host an event in their community and make a donation to the SSO online.

The Yogathon is also supported by generous donations from:

Fairy's Tonic

Front Door Organics

Kashi Company

Lotus Palm Thai Yoga Massage

Peachtree Health Foods

Planet Organic Market

Yoga Network of Canada

For more information on the Yogathon or to register, visit

About the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario

The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) was founded as a not-for-profit organization in 1979. SSO works to improve the quality of life for those affected by schizophrenia through education, support programs, public policy and research. Further information is available at

To view the photo associated with this release, please visit the following link:

To view the video associated with this release, please visit the following link:

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    For interviews with the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario,
    please contact:
    Steven Theobald
    416-504-3977 x 21; Mobile: 416-817-8061