Date: 1/26/2009

National Heart Month Symposium Celebrates Life, Love and Laughter

Nationally renowned fitness expert Debi Pillarella will tell her uplifting and inspirational story Feb. 18 during the Heart Month symposium at the Centre for the Visual and Performing Arts in Munster.

MUNSTER - In observance of American Heart Month, the Cardiovascular Research program of Community Healthcare System is offering a free symposium to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease. The event is being held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2009 at the Centre for the Visual and Performing Arts, 1040 Ridge Road in Munster. Two nationally renowned speakers - Debi Pillarella and Tanaz Bamboat - will address women’s heart health, wellness and fitness.

Debi Pillarella, MEd, CPT will tell the uplifting and inspirational story of her personal victory over a cardiovascular defect and stroke. In 1994, Pillarella was a newlywed and "feeling on top of the world," when she began feeling numbness and tingling in her arms and hands. Like many women, she thought it would just go away. But it didn’t just go away, and shortly after, a hole was diagnosed in the wall of her heart. She had open-heart surgery. She also had determination and a strong commitment to fitness which eventually helped her overcome and recover from heart disease and brain surgery.

Today, Pillarella is a national fitness spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as well as the exercise program manager for Community Hospital Fitness Pointe in Munster. Pillarella is past recipient of the 2004 Fitness Director of the Year award from ACE. She is an adjunct faculty member at Purdue University, Calumet, and Indiana University Northwest. She received the 2004 Award for Teaching Excellence from Indiana University Northwest School of Continuing Studies. In 2006, she received the Indiana Health Achievement Award from the
Indiana Public Health Foundation for her extensive work in community fitness and health promotion. She has more than 25 years experience in the fitness field and holds both personal-training and group-exercise certifications from ACE. Pillarella has written numerous articles on fitness and health and is the author of Fitness Stepping (Human Kinetics).

Also, presenting an interactive demonstration of Laughter Yoga is certified instructor Tanaz Bamboat. Laughter Yoga is a new, revolutionary mind-body medicine that combines simple laughter exercises and gentle yoga breathing that may enhance health, happiness and healing.

Benefits of Laughter Yoga include a reduction in anxiety and depression; an improvement in the circulatory system; greater freedom from stress; stronger immune system and energized lymphatic systems. It also provides an aerobic workout.

Bamboat’s Laughter Yoga demonstration has been featured on WGN-TV in Chicago; WYIN — Lakeshore Public Television and the WCIU in Chicago. She has taught classes throughout Northwest Indiana for the past three years. Numerous stories have been published regarding her classes in The Times; Post Tribune and The Chronicle.

The Heart Health symposium, sponsored by the Cardiovascular Research program of Community Healthcare System is free of charge. Refreshments will be served. Registration is necessary and available on a first-come, first-served basis at 219-836-3477 or 1-866-836-3477.

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