What Yoga and Cancer has done for me is not a question that can be easily answered. I could say that it has helped me to cope with cancer however it is a much more complex question to answer. I started Yoga and Cancer in August 2016 and for the first three months I did my practice in a chair. The continued practice and support I received from the instructors and fellow yogis gave me the strength to get out of the chair and onto the mat where I now practice twice weekly. After a Yoga and Cancer class, I leave feeling better about myself both physically and mentally. The breathing practices, poses, stretches and of course savasana leaves me with a renewed sense of my life which I try to take home with me. I look forward to Savasana the most as it gives me a sense of inner peace. I consider the Yoga and Cancer instructors to be members of “Team Normand”. My team includes doctors, nurses, counselors, social workers, friends and family and most important, my wife Jean. This team seeks the same goal, helping me to learn to beat this dreadful disease or at least learn how to live the best life possible. Yoga and Cancer classes have helped me to find the strength to carry on with my life in spite of the obstacles I am confronted with. Thank you SATYA for offering Yoga and Cancer classes.
Attending the Yoga and Cancer class is simply wonderful. Michelle teaches the perfect blend of gentle poses that stretch and strengthen but leaves room for relaxation. She is also extremely thoughtful in taking into account individual needs. This class is especially welcoming, supportive and highly recommended.
I have been a very active student of Michelle’s since the beginning - from a healthy student to one diagnosed with breast cancer, a bi-lateral mastectomy and months of chemotherapy. Michelle paved my horrific journey with such profound healing that words cannot express. The family Michelle creates in the studio is so therapeutic, supportive and warm - every care giver and family member I invite is in awe of how lucky I am. Namaste. (And much LOVE!)
My visits at the Yoga and Cancer classes are very helpful with strenghtening and healing of my whole body. I am less stressed and sleep better as well. I am always reluctant to try new things but so happy my daughter encouraged me to attend.
Lana’s Yoga and Cancer class is an oasis where I can concentrate on relaxation & healing in a loving & supportive atmosphere. Thank you Yoga East!
I’ve recently joined the yoga and cancer class with Janis in Portsmouth. Although I’ve been a survivor for many years, I still have problems with lymphedema and this class definitely helps with lymphatic movement and drainage. It’s also beginning to strengthen my back and abs, weakened from reconstruction. Janis is a compassionate teacher and always offers modifications to movements. But my favorite part is the relaxation at the end of the class — I feel so much better and more productive when I return to work. I don’t know why any cancer patient or survivor wouldn’t want to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Thanks for making this class possible.
I joyfully and gratefully attend the weekly Yoga and Cancer class at the Portsmouth Center for Yoga and the Arts. Our teacher, Janis Sheldon, is a kind, knowledgeable and gifted teacher. Her nurturing presence and careful guidance create the safe space I need for inner work and healing. The caring group experience supports being able to more fully live into our basic well-being and wholeness. What a blessing!
I have been attending Michelle’s Yoga and Cancer classes for quite a long time yet it’s been difficult for me to sit down and write about my experience. One of the reasons I find it almost daunting is that the classes impact my entire being in many different ways and some of them are very hard to articulate. Another reason is something that I’m just coming to understand; I am beginning to open up in the Yoga and Cancer classes and learn how to ‘feel’ the experience rather than ‘think’ it. This has been largely possible for me as a result of Michelle’s kind and nurturing direction and guidance. Her Yoga and Cancer classes are safe sanctuaries where I have been encouraged to explore mindfulness, self care and self compassion requisite to true inner work and healing.
After the doctors are done with their cutting, radiation, and chemotherapy, you wonder what now? How do I find peace with this body that looks, feels, and performs so differently? How do I find peace with this mind that holds the fear of recurrence?I was fortunate to find the Yoga and Cancer Program shortly after I completed treatment. It has helped my tremendously. The physical poses have helped me recover from treatment and multiple surgeries in a safe and supportive space. I have found a simple joy in movement that I didn’t completely understand before cancer. Sometimes you don’t appreciate things until you have lost them, even temporarily. The breath work and meditation have helped quiet my mind.However, the best part of the Yoga and Cancer Program is the community. All the instructors are wonderful people who give so much. I appreciate the work they do to modify traditional poses to make them safe for everyone to practice. They often say “if this is available to you” when introducing a pose. It’s a great way to accept how you are feeling in that moment. There is an immediate bond with my fellow students (and instructors) because we have heard the words, “you have cancer” or someone you love has cancer. It is a pleasure and privilege to know them. I look forward to class every week!I will have this yoga even if I need another surgery. I will have this yoga even if the cancer comes back. This gives me peace and the courage to accept whatever comes.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Michelle Couture was the kindest, most supportive person I could have connected with during that tumultuous time. Fast forward after surgery and while I was going through chemo I received an email from Michelle letting me know that she was starting a yoga class for women going through cancer. While I was reluctant to go (am I strong enough? will I be able to keep up?) the impact of those classes remain with me. Unlike a support group, I was with a group of people who shared something similar yet it was not at the forefront of our conversation. We knew what each of us were or had faced and that was enough. The class itself was truly moving. Michelle created a space of time for us to breathe, relax and give us peace, As I neared my complete healing Michelle encouraged me to attend other yoga classes at Prasada Yoga Center, she was intuitive enough to know I was ready to step out of the nest to rejoin others. I am selfish to admit there are times that I’d like to go to the Yoga & Cancer class but I will save my space for someone who needs it. If you know of anyone who could benefit from peace, relaxation and strengthening of spirit - Yoga and Cancer is the place they will find it.
When I first came to Yoga and Cancer classes nearly two years ago, I was hoping to find a way to become stronger and more flexible. And, indeed, I am learning how to do this. What I also found was a sanctuary. This practice, the community and our teachers have helped deepen my self-care and cherish my life.
Yoga and Cancer is a program of Yoga in Action a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
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