Cancer made me scared, hurt, and mistrustful of my body. Yoga gave me strength, flexibility and courage.
Three years ago this last October, I was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer. The terror of a cancer diagnosis along with a year of radiation and chemotherapy, and the after affects of a double mastectomy and the removal of the lymph nodes under my left arm, had a profound effect on my entire life including my 15 year yoga practice and my teaching style. At the time of my diagnosis I was the mother of a one year old and held a deadline dependant, high-pressure day job. I taught corporate yoga to fit people and loved my intensive vinyasa practice, headstands, wheels, sweat and all.
When I came up for air, I was so frightened I couldn't think straight and so physically impaired I couldn't lift my arm. I re-evaluated my life. Moved back to my hometown of Buffalo, NY after being away for nearly twenty years, quit the stress in my life and started taking very good care of my health. But it wasn't enough. I still couldn't focus, I still couldn't sleep, I still hurt all the time. So I turned to yoga.
As I slowly progressed in my practice, I began to pay attention to how my body was working, how the turn of a finger could engage the whole side of the body, and what effect it had on me. I started using both the yoga classes I took and my own sequences to explore how muscle systems and bones worked to address tightness, imbalance, and weakness.
The classes I teach and the individual coaching I do is focused on giving my students that same understanding of how their body works so they can heal themselves and stay happy and healthy for their whole lives.