Yoga session to be hosted in memory of St. Joseph man who died of cancer

Published 11:31 am Thursday, July 23, 2015

When I moved back to Southwestern Michigan five years ago, one of the first new people I met was Steven Welsh. I walked into my first ever raw vegan potluck at Rawnora Ranch in Watervliet and he was there greeting people with that huge bright smile of his.

I was already vegan at the time, and had been for quite a while, but I’d never had a community of friends with my same views.

I’d moved back to the area to recover from a divorce, focus on my food, achieve my dream of writing a cookbook, and to pass on my belief in the healing power of yoga.

Meeting Steven that day at Rawnora solidified my path to healing and helped make the rest of those dreams a reality.

Steven was a long-time yoga teacher, spending hours with the elderly to try and keep them mobile, infusing others with his energy and charm. Already a cancer survivor at the time, he taught me more than I can ever express about the healing power of food; how living food keeps you living and how to put your love and energy into everything you create. I worked closely with him in both the yoga studio and the kitchen for several years. He was always so willing and eager to help me and anyone he believed in. There was an energizing light about him that radiated and spread to anyone lucky enough to know him.

Sadly, last week this great light was extinguished as Steven lost his long battle with cancer.

I was about to practice yoga with a dear friend on a gorgeous downtown Chicago rooftop when I happened to check my Facebook feed and see the news.

Throughout my practice I could feel Steven there with me, see his shining smile, hear his voice encouraging me to keep being me. He was always there for me in so many ways and I wouldn’t be where I am today without his companionship, support, and guidance.

I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Steven touched so many lives. Here is a note my friend and fellow yogi Maria Rosner wrote about him:

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you this morning. Steven Welsh was the first person I ever met in St. Joseph who taught yoga, during his days at the YWCA and teaching in a church basement in Coloma. He had such a vibrant energy and positive outlook…along with a sharp wit and ready laugh. I will miss him.

I’d planned to teach a Full Moon Yoga class on Friday, July 31st at Jean Klock Beach anyway…but after hearing of Steven’s passing, I decided to dedicate the class to him, to give the yoga community a chance to come together to celebrate his life. I’m asking people to make a donation of $15, and all the money raised will go to Hospice at Home.

I’m hoping all of you can help me to get the word out, far and wide about this beautiful event to honor not only an incredible human, but also an organization that helps so many in need. The event is listed on Maria’s Facebook yoga page: and you can contact her directly at for more information.

To all who have loved and lost: know their light shines on through us. Namaste.


Kat Barry, a St. Joseph, Michigan native, is owner of Kat’s Hot Cakes vegan catering, and co author of “The New Chicago Diner Cookbook: Meat Free Recipes from America’s Veggie Diner.” She also develops recipes for, where you can find over 30 of her vegan instructional cooking videos. She is also a certified yoga instructor. Kat currently resides in Chicago, and in her free time she enjoys practicing yoga, sampling local spirits, listening to live music, and getting outdoors. Follow @katshotcakes on twitter. Kat can be reached via email at: