Yoga for Cancer Survivors

Cancer touches all of us, directly or indirectly. It is considered an epidemic of our time. Because of tremendous advances in research and technology, the predominant focus within the medical profession is on the disease and its treatment; the body as a whole, unfortunately, is often the last area to receive attention. Functions as simple and elementary as moving and breathing, tend to be taken for granted.

As a fitness professional and yoga instructor, I was naturally drawn to explore the implications of this shortfall. After witnessing the debilitating effects of cancer and its treatment on the body, I committed to the study of exercise techniques specifically devoted to cancer patients and survivors, certifying as a Cancer Exercise Specialist. As a result I created my own exercise program that addresses these neglected needs.

In my classes, I was so moved by the reactions and breakthroughs my students experienced as a result of this program, that I then created a DVD called The Next Step: Restorative Exercises After Breast Cancer. The four classes on this DVD are a natural mix of fitness, yoga and dance. They are designed to build on each other so that each successive routine is a little longer and the exercises a bit more challenging. 

I call this program “Unfolding.” It consists of gentle yet profound movement techniques from my teaching. The exercises combine the precision and alignment of yoga, the core-strengthening methods of fitness, and the nonlinear, expansive nature of dance. It is a method of exercise designed to persuade the body to transcend perceived limitations and to investigate many different planes of movement in a safe, joyful, yet challenging way. 

There are four sections on the DVD. Each one is designed to provide viewers with the movement vocabulary they need for the next level. On one level, the goal of the program is to build strength, gain flexibility, and restore “balance” to the body.

But on a more inclusive level, the goal of the program is unfolding—that is, releasing, unraveling, unwinding, peeling away layers and opening up the heart, connecting with those deep potentials that were suspended or put on hold by diagnosis and treatment. Unfolding permits a shift from constriction to expansion, a cathartic release of healing emotion, even laughter.

Volume One of the video series is available to purchase, stream or rent at amazon.com.

If you would like to read an article I wrote in A Womans Health, follow this link; http://awomanshealth.com/restoring-your-body-after-breast-cancer/

I currently teach group classes, workshops and private sessions in Santa Fe, NM. Please visit the Classes page on this site for more info.