I tried a few free yoga classes here and there. At that time, yoga seemed like a luxury or a cool experience. I started taking yoga more seriously after being diagnosed with breast cancer. My journey with yoga happened in an unexpected way. The hospital where I received chemotherapy treatments had recently started a holistic program. The program incorporated therapy dogs, massage therapists, yoga, and meditation instructors. I had a history of having anxiety attacks prior to my chemotherapy treatments. As soon our car pulled into the hospital parking garage, my anxiety levels would shoot through the roof! One day, the yoga instructor stopped by my little “chemo cubby” and offered a guided meditation session. My treatment had just started. I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon so I thought sure, why not? After the meditation session, I opened my eyes and immediately noticed how relaxed I felt. To my surprise my body felt lighter and my anxiety was completely gone! I couldn’t believe focused thoughts and controlled breathing eliminated the uneasiness I’d felt just moments earlier. I realized that yoga and meditation gave me something I could control in a world that was full of unknowns. After completing 16 rounds of chemo and multiple surgeries, I received good news. The oncologist determined that I had a complete pathologic response to all my treatments. This meant I was finally cancer free! God had answered my prayers and healed me! I also knew yoga played a key role on my journey to recovery. As a friend once said yoga became my “chemo gift.” These are gifts I received during treatment that I may not have experienced otherwise. It was at that point I decided that I wanted to become educated enough to share my love of faith and yoga with others. In 2019, I officially became a Certified Yoga Instructor! My kids and I have “mommy and me” yoga sessions at home. I am also a yoga instructor at a local studio in my city and I’m truly enjoying it!
I’ve been asked many questions about yoga. I always say if you can breathe you can do yoga! Modifications for the poses are always available. You can also use blocks or straps to help you extend your stretch. Yoga literally means to “yoke.” It’s the unification of mind and body. It is not a religious practice. Yoga is an energy practice and a spiritual practice. The postures of yoga are just one aspect. The purpose of yoga transcends beyond the physical poses. As you train your body to become more disciplined you also train the mind. I’ve experienced firsthand the physical and emotional repercussions a cancer diagnosis can cause. For me, yoga was an escape from the chaotic repetition of treatments, doctors’ appointments, scans, and surgeries. Yoga can help restore mindfulness and balance back into your life! Have you ever considered trying yoga? I’ll help make the decision easy for you! Let’s take a look at the many physical, emotional, and health benefits that yoga provides.
BENEFITS OF YOGA
1.) Increases metabolism and energy levels
2.) Stimulates balance
3.) Encourages flexibility
4.) Increases strength and stamina
5.) Tones muscles
6.) Eases anxiety
7.) Used to treat depression
8.) Relieves back pain
9.) Helps with arthritis pain by lubricating the joints
10.) Aids in digestion
11.) Lowers high blood pressure
12.) Improves asthma
13.) Supports healthy sleeping habits
14.) Cultivates awareness
15.) Promotes increased self esteem
We live in a fast paced world that thrives off instant gratification. Yoga allows us to pause and live in the present moment. The practice of Yoga fosters patience. It encourages us to peel back the layers and see ourselves as we truly are. In return, we become the best possible version of ourselves. The inward journey of discovery leads us to our true purpose in life. Just like holding the more challenging poses, yoga teaches us that nothing in life will lasts forever. You can breathe and get through it. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. So take a deep breath and draw your focus inward. Yoga doesn’t require much. Just hold on to your faith, grab your mat, and you’re ready!
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes:
“Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.” ~ Jigar Gor
“The yoga pose is not the goal, becoming flexible or standing on your hands is not the goal. The goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. The goal is to love… well, you!” ~ Rachel Brathen
I hope my experience inspires you to deepen your practice or give yoga a try. Much love and light always!
Until next time, Ciao Bella!!!