My PBS Pledge Drive Host Experience

Desiree standing among yoga students outdoor in a lush garden area
In 2007, I was invited by a media company to make three DVD’s called “Yoga to the Rescue” in Los Angeles. One of the women working on that set was quite touched by the story of the loss of my son Brandon in 2003.  She eventually went to work for PBS on the east coast and we kept in touch from time to time. In July of 2020, when the world was settling in to the reality of being shut down from Covid, she called and asked if I would be interested in being a Pledge Drive Host for them. 
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is broadcasting made, financed and controlled by the public, for the public. It is neither commercial nor state-owned, free from political interference and pressure from commercial forces. PBS provides its member stations with programming in cultural, educational, and scientific areas, in children’s fare, and in news and public affairs but does not itself produce programs; the programs are produced by the member stations, independent producers, and other program producers worldwide.
They were interested in having me host the Yoga Pledge Drive program mainly because of my grief journey. I have always shared it openly and widely in the hope that it would help someone else who was dealing with the pain of grieving. The producers thought that it could inspire hope in people especially during this trying time in our history. Over the next six months, I worked with a very talented producer to make a show that would convey the healing and transformational power of yoga. We included interviews with several of my students and created a special DVD for Beginners that would be part of what they would receive in return for a pledge of support.
My yoga and meditation practices have helped me deal with the painful loss of my son. It is possible to learn to see death from a different vantage point. I now see it as his soul’s journey, separate from mine, rather than a bitter blow to me as a mother. His soul’s journey is not a personal assault on my well-being, and while we could be called victims neither of us need to remain identified as such. 
I realize that I am not the only one who has ever suffered from such a loss as this. The depth of compassion that I can now access for other people who suffer is bigger than it was before. After years of struggling and wishing things were different, I have found peace and acceptance of the most horrific event a parent can imagine. If I can do this, I have hope that others can as well. 
The body and mind are inextricably connected and the practice of yoga teaches us that every day. This is the message I want to share with the world: You will encounter pain in your life, and sometimes you will actually be a victim, but you do not have to suffer or remain in that victim state of mind. Our minds are capable of re-framing whatever happens to us and we get to choose whether we want to be bitter or joyful in our lives. Throughout history, there have been those who have risen from the ashes of despair. If they can do it, so can we. We can tell a different story and write a new ending. 
I am honored to be a part of this project and grateful for the opportunity to share the message.

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Articles In Print


Cover: Jan/Feb 2008 Yoga Journal

Inside is her Master Class article “Reach for the Sky.”


Yoga Journal Master Class, “Bare Your Heart,” page 81: May 2008

Yoga Journal Interview: Queen of Heart, June 2006
Devastated by the death of her son, Desirée Rumbaugh found solace
and strength in yoga.


A Fine Balance: Extend your energy and feel your balancing poses come to life with this Anusara sequence. Yoga Journal Online, “Practice.” March 2006 issue of Yoga Journal.


Follow Your Heart, Yoga Journal San Francisco 2006 – Conference Blog, Jan. 13, 2006

Episode 30 is an interview with Yoga Peeps founder Lara Cestone and Yoga Instructor Desiree Rumbaugh, of Chandler, Arizona. Lara and Desiree talk about teaching as a mirror, fostering community, yoga as a seriously playful practice, and being open to change. Yoga Peeps


“Yoga Mentor” Teaching Methodology: Core Purpose,  July 2006 Newsletter.


“Armchair Yogi” in the April 2004 issue of Yoga Journal, page 20



“Ask the Expert” column for the June 2005 Yoga Journal, page 113


“Ask the Expert” Practice: Opening Tight Shoulders Yoga Journal, March/April 2005


“Ask the Expert” Practice: Roll Call Yoga Journal, March/April 2005


The Longest Goodbye: Losing someone you love is one of the most difficult challenges you can face, but yoga’s healing power and wisdom can help you heal. Yoga Journal Online, “Wisdom.” By Phil Catalfo, page 84 of the Yoga Journal December 2005