By: Kathy Bressler
Yoga was a part of Kathy Bressler’s life before her breast cancer diagnosis, and became imperative after. She had been an avid yogi for five years prior to her diagnosis in 2015, participating in hot yoga classes five times a week. Kathy always had a strong connection to breast cancer – her mother and grandmother both died of the disease.
“Yoga made me feel whole at a time that I was at the greatest potential to feel broken,” Kathy said. “I found an inner strength I never knew I had at a time that I was afraid I could no longer be strong. Yoga helped me prove to myself that I was strong and healthy, cancer hadn’t changed that, or defined who I was.”
Throughout her treatment – 22 weeks of chemotherapy, five weeks of radiation and seven weeks in a hyperbaric chamber – Kathy’s oncologist urged her to stop practicing yoga, worrying about dehydration in a hot yoga studio. But Kathy, a trained nurse, felt confident that yoga was the right choice.
“As a nurse, I know how to take care of myself,” Kathy said. “I ‘rocked chemo’ and felt it was a result of staying connected, regularly participating in yoga. Regular exercise also helped me maintain healthier eating and lifestyle habits that I felt lowered the side effects of chemotherapy.”
Even though she couldn’t participate in all the movements right away, stretching helped bring Kathy back to her full range of motion within five weeks after treatment, with no additional physical therapy.
Kathy felt her yoga studio and classmates were an extension of her family even before breast cancer. After her diagnosis, the fellowship and support of those around her was overwhelming. Classmates would call and check up on her if she missed a class, and the entire studio rallied around her in support of her battle.
Kathy Bressler with her extended yoga family.
Yoga was an important aspect of Kathy’s recovery, helping her heal spiritually, mentally and physically. Regular exercise – like yoga – can help breast cancer survivors reduce stress and anxiety and give a sense of control over their bodies. Studies show exercise appears to help lower breast cancer risk by about 10 – 20 percent.
Kathy will be one of the One Million men and women supporting Komen’s newest partnership with world renowned yoga brand Manduka called project:OM. Taking place Mother’s Day weekend (May 12 – May 14) project:OM will bring together millions across the country to participate in the world largest yoga event in support of breast cancer research and community programs.
Kathy found a family, inspiration and strength through yoga. By exposing millions to the benefit of yoga and supporting breast cancer research and community programs, project:OM will drive positive change on an epic level, and help Komen achieve its Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026.
You can make an impact by attending a local class. Online classes will be available as well for cities that are not hosting an in-person event.
So, grab a friend and join the "M" challenge! Learn more: http://bit.ly/2oJGb1n
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