In January 2010, I truly felt that I was living my dream. I had exited corporate America the year prior and was happily balancing teaching yoga full-time with a blossoming writing career. I was in a relationship with the man of my dreams, living close to the ocean. To put it simply, I was happy. Out of the blue, I found a lump in my breast. I was shocked and devastated, especially because I had a clear mammogram three months earlier. I was healthy, fit and felt invincible.
Over the course of that year, I endured three surgeries, six rounds of aggressive chemotherapy and almost two months of daily radiation. I balanced out this assault on my body with a primarily plant-based diet filled with anti-oxidants, daily exercise, acupuncture and most importantly, yoga. My doctors often commented that I was their “superwoman patient” because I never got really nauseous through chemo and seemed to maintain a comparatively high level of energy during treatment. Don’t get me wrong: many days I was exhausted and despondent. Despite the fluctuations in my energy levels, I continued to teach most of my yoga classes and got certified to teach Yoga for Cancer Therapy while undergoing chemotherapy myself.
Cancer attacks your body, but it also attacks your mental well-being. Conventional medicine is aimed at destroying the physical symptoms of the cancer, but can fail to address the significant effects cancer has on the mind and spirit. Yoga addresses the entire person.
The specialized yoga for cancer recovery classes I offer are designed to both create strength and flexibility and encourage relaxation. Additionally, my intention is to empower my students to help themselves.
Practicing yoga during treatment and recovery will provide the following benefits:
• Learning to handle side-effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation
• Experiencing healing techniques for the mind, body and spirit
• Boosting energy, improving mood, learning relaxation and breathing techniques to combat fatigue, stress and pain
• Restoring flexibility, strength, and range of motion, and enhancing lymphatic flow, digestion and circulation
I am passionate about sharing this gift with others going through any type of cancer. In addition to teaching Yoga for Cancer Recovery classes, I created two Yoga for Cancer Recovery videos to reach a broader audience and facilitate safe yoga practice at home, as well as recently publishing my memoir Come Ride with Me Along the Big C to help others on this journey by sharing my story.
It worked for me and can work for you.
By Claire Petretti Marti
Claire began teaching Yoga for Cancer Recovery in 2010, while she was undergoing treatment for Stage 2 breast cancer. Practicing and teaching yoga were vital components in her journey back to radiant health. Yoga provided Claire a sanctuary in which to heal and she is excited to be able to share this with others undergoing treatment or in recovery. Claire teaches Yoga for Cancer Recovery classes in Denver at Kindness Yoga, works with clients privately in their homes or in the hospital, and offers her DVD, Yoga for Cancer Recovery for those she cannot reach personally. Visit www.oceansoulyoga.com
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