Scarves of Valor

The War Photographers’ Retreat is fortunate to have many friends. One of these is northwest textile designer Cynthia Hereen. She’s also a breeder of livestock that produces high quality wool, and well-known judge from Hokulani Farms in Oregon. Cynthia designed this beautiful wool scarf, then shared the pattern with a team of knitters from across the U.S. (who volunteered through this site).  Each knitter purchased, knit, washed and blocked the wool.

We’d like to thank our incredible team of knitters for their generosity and time.

Knitting Team

Cynthia Hereen, Candice Pemble-Belkin,  Marianne Gorecki,  Whitney Spivey  Ruth Steinhardt,  Michele Gillaspie,  Melanie Ruiz, Teresa Ruano,  Val Gauthier, and Katya Gorecki

The scarves will be presented at our Saturday evening Celebration BBQ.

A Night To Celebrate: Yoga, A Barbecue, and Poetry

Of course the main point of the retreat is to provide the participants with a break from the hustle and bustle of their lives, giving them a relaxing few days of yoga, massage and acupressure/acupuncture. But we thought it would be nice to have a casual BBQ Saturday night, giving everyone a chance to meet and mingle, share stories and laugh, in a relaxed atmosphere.

We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors Busa Farm, Whole Foods Market, and Boston Beer, who are providing food and beverages for the BBQ. We also would like to thank our host, Penny Peters.

The BBQ will also be a time for celebration when we provide the participants with the amazing scarves designed by our knitting director Cynthia Hereen,  brought to life by our wonderful team of volunteer knitters. The knitters are from across the U.S., and as you’ve read in USO ON PATROL, one is the mother of a soldier who was a friend of Tim Hetherington’s. Candice Pemble Belkin’s son Misha is currently serving in Afghanistan, and was in the film Restrepo. It’s an honor to have a mother who is going through the natural worry of having a loved one in combat take time to knit scarves.

An anthology just for the retreat

The photographers will also be receiving a beautiful poetry chapbook by Pushcart nominee Pamela Hart, which she produced just for the retreat. Poetry and war have gone hand in hand through the ages, and putting this together was a meaningful experience for her.   Pam and her husband donated the costs of printing. Their son is an Army Ranger.

It will be a night of relaxation, celebration, and remembrance. So we are thankful to everyone who has made this event possible and we cannot wait for it to happen!

Tribute to Tim. The Textures of Yoga & War: on the prAna blog

Over on the prAna blog, I share my thoughts about Tim, and about my wish to find a creative way to pay tribute and continue to shine his light. It was one of those articles that caused me to circle several times around the computer wondering what to write.  I hope you will read The Textures of Yoga & War. prAna has been so generous to give us this space.

We’re pleased to announce that high quality climbing and yoga apparel manufacturers, prAna is a corporate donor to the War Photographers’ Retreat. In addition to manufacturing clothing and accessories, prAna also sells Fair Trade items, and has made eco-conscious decisions when it comes to business. They also support many fine athletes, and going through their YouTube channel always brings up amazing people.  We’re grateful for the far-reaching vision of Melissa, Debbie, Camerin, & Andre to see the War Retreat as worthy of your support!

Catch John Friend teaching in his lighthearted way. The War Retreat staff might consider doing this and sending a thank you video in for prAna.

Thank you for making a donation!

We really appreciate your good thoughts, time, and consideration. The Black Lotus Yoga Project offers classes and annual retreats teaching stress reduction through yoga and complementary methods. Our workshops and retreats are targeted at under-served and much deserving groups. This includes but is not limited to First Responders, War Photographers, Veterans, Active Duty, and Military Families. No Goods or services were received by donating to Black Lotus Yoga.  A 501 (c)(3), your donation is tax deductible. Please contact your account for the amount lawfully allowed.   Follow our daily yoga schedule and find upcoming events at

Individual Donors

The War Photographers’ Retreat wishes to thank our individual donors.

Kim Haegele

Pamela Hart

Susan Gibbons

Amanda Peters

Catherine Iannuzzo

LTC David Anderson & Kanani Fong

Amy Sun & Everett Go

Kelly Connolly

Margaret Emerson

Mike Kamber

Katherine Gamble

Emily Brand

Jill Frankfort

Natalie Rusk

Erica Magliaro

Terry North

Jill Lichtenstadter

Katherine Greeley

Zan Barry


“…there’s a feeling  of life force increasing, of working with love and an open heart.” -Steve Ross, Happy Yoga

The Schedule

Thursday, August 25th
Meet at Black Lotus Yoga, 91 Sidney Street, Cambridge MA

Black Lotus Yoga

1:30-2:45pm –  Pre-retreat Yoga (Stretch those travel-weary muscles!)
3:00-5:00pm – Welcome & Orientation
7:30 – 9:30pm – Small Gathering, Meet & Greet (Location announced during orientation)

Friday, August 26th

9:30-11am – Group Yoga
1:00-3:30pm – Individual Acupuncture
4:00-5:00pm – Group Yoga
Evening free to yourself, to meet up with friends and colleagues in the Boston area, or join Jillian & Kanani for some aimless fun.

Mats will be provided!

Saturday, August 27th
12:00-1:15pm – Group Yoga
1:30-4pm – Individual Massage
3:00-4:00pm – Optional Yoga
6:00-9:00pm – Celebration Group BBQ & Ceremony (Casual) Location TBA.

Sunday, August 28th
9:30am-noon – Individual Massage
1:00-3:00pm – Group Yoga & Final Words

As you can see by the schedule, there’s plenty of time to make plans with friends and colleagues who live in the Boston area. Or take in the scenery of Cambridge, shop, browse a few bookstores, take in a fine meal. The time is yours to choose to do what you want.  On Saturday, Kanani & Jillian will be embarking upon the Sarah Palin tour of Boston to find the church and ring a few bells.

Acupuncture 101

Another fantastic addition to the Om Team is Liên Zayhowski, an incredibly educated and talented Licensed Acupuncturist. If you were following the blog a few weeks back I talked about Kathleen Hamel and her use of Acupressure Therapy and Massage, which is one part of the retreat. Acupressure uses some of the same pressure points as acupuncture, but it does so without the use of needles.

Liên Zayhowski

Liên Zayhowski

Liên is our very skilled Acupuncturist, which does require the use of needles. Acupuncture is used as an effective form of treatment for many different physical symptoms. In an overview article by the Mayo Clinic it is explained that acupuncture is most often utilized for symptoms such as:

  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Labor pain
  • Low back pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Migraines
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Postoperative dental pain
  • Tennis elbow

However, acupuncture is also being studied and used in both the military and civilian settings as an alternative treatment for individuals with PTSD and combat related trauma.

If any of you are like me and the idea of acupuncture makes you a little nervous (I know my idea of a good time does not involve a needle!), I recommend you take a look through these articles and links to learn a little more about the process and benefits of acupuncture. Similar to the yoga practice or acupressure, acupuncture may be a completely new idea to you, but just like the other alternative therapies, we have included them because we believe in their benefits.

So just take some time, look through the provided resources or doing some googling of your own, to decide if this is something you are interested in.

Medline Plus through the National Institutes of Health

Mayo Clinic article on what to expect with Acupuncture

Article on the Military’s use of Acupuncture