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Yoga retreat Sunday at Delaware Park will bring more meaning after a loss to cancer

This weekend’s HEAL Bflo II yoga retreat in Delaware Park has become more important from a personal standpoint for Jocelyn Kowalczyk.

Her aunt Rosalyn Killinger, who planned to attend the event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in Marcy Casino, died June 29 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

She did so knowing that her niece, who co-founded HEAL Bflo earlier this year with Cheryl Scheff, already planned to donate some of the proceeds to Roswell Park Cancer Institute to help construct a small yoga-meditation room for patients, staff and visitors.

“She was so proud we were giving back to Roswell because they were so good to her,” Kowalczyk said.

Planning for the space continues, she said, and will become part of a new addition to the cancer hospital.

“While my Aunt Ro was being treated there,” Kowalczyk said, “I was praying for a place for my family to go to just be at peace, feel your breath, but still be in the hospital, knowing that any moment you had to be back up in a room. That internal energy – it’s not like you’re going to the gym and working out, but you’re working out your mind, dealing with the stress, escaping reality for a few minutes – can be helpful.”

More than a dozen yoga instructors from studios big and small will lead the adult portion of the retreat; five instructors also will lead a kid’s yoga workshop for children ages 4 to 12.

HEAL – an acronym for Health, Energy, Art, Love – drew about 200  people to the Foundry Hotel & Suites on Elmwood Avenue in February for its first yoga retreat, which featured hot yoga, a workshop on nutrition and the chance for the public to show up and peruse artwork and health and wellness fare.

As many as 250 are expected to participate in the yoga portion on Sunday, Kowalczyk said.

It will be the first time for the kids yoga element, which will include yoga, music and art classes. The cost is $20. Register online at, where you also can find more information about the entire retreat. The adult workshop runs $60. Both sessions include lunch and a goodie bag.

The public is welcome to stop by the grounds outside the casino, where vendors – including the new Just Pizza food truck, Ashker’s juice bar, Just Beachy lakeshore jewelry and lululemon athletic clothing store – will sell food, artwork and other products.

Free music also will be part of the experience.

The Community Music School, a Baptist church choir and a sitarist will be among those performing during various yoga classes.

“We have a really cool range of local musicians coming,” Kowalczyk said.

About 50 tickets for adults and half that number for kids remained as of Tuesday, she said.

Aunt Ro, the deputy medical director at Wende Correctional Facility when she died at age 61, will be on her mind as she works through the weekend and continues to help with the Roswell project.

“We’re a small business,” Kowalczyk said, “so giving back to the community in any way we can is so important to us. Aunt Ro had a passion for helping others and I feel like that same passion lives through me. She is my hero, my inspiration and my angel.”

It’s been a belief underlined in recent months in visits to her aunt at Roswell.

“The people who work there,” she said, “the nurses and the staff, the janitors and the valet parkers – they’re all so wonderful.”


Twitter: @BNrefresh

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