The Power of Yoga: How it got me through Cancer - Guest Post by Healthy Whole Me
The weird and wonderful world of social media can certainly be a negative place for me sometimes. It can invoke huge feelings of insecurity and unhealthy comparisons. But amidst the negativity are some truly incredible people out there that continue to inspire me daily. Dani from @healthywholeme is one such person. She has been kind enough to write a guest blog post for me, and here’s her story:
To me finding the yoga practice that suits YOU is like discovering your favourite cup of tea. It’s a bit like Earl Grey or PG tips - there are many different schools of yoga and so many teachers interpreting these in their own ways. But once you find your practice, it feels like arriving home. At least that’s how it felt for me.
What I love most about yoga is that it is a journey. A journey through your body and mind but also through your life. I practiced gentle yoga through recovery, I flowed through powerful asanas when I was on the mend and through the times when I could not physically move much I was practicing yoga too. Through my breath, my actions and my intentions.
When my mother in law ushered me to my first yoga class I had already finished treatment for breast cancer. I was 33, with three children under the age of 4 when I discovered my lump. Surgeries, chemo and radio-therapy had left me tired, weak and I was riddled with anxiety. I was still waiting for my hair to grow back, and I had lost my toenails through treatment too. So I wore a hat over my wig, socks on my feet and the first few hours on the mat were merely taken up by me worrying that my wig would fall off or that my feet would slip and I would fall flat on my face in downward dog.
I did not fall in love with my practice immediately. But I kept going back, week after week & today I love it so much I want to stand on my head everywhere I go! Much to the annoyance of my three daughters and my husband.
But between my self-conscious first few classes and today lies a journey of transformation, which seems to continue to take on shape and I will be forever grateful for that.
Initially my physical yoga practice has slowly started to rebuild my ‘house‘. I slowly grew stronger, more flexible, which in return gave me a little more confidence that I was on the right path. And with confidence came hope.
Mentally my yoga practice has made the biggest difference. The weekly hour on my mat was the only time of my week where I did not feel panicked about the future or where a past event came rushing through and to the forefront of my mind. I did not know what it was for a very long time. But today I understand that I was able to tap into my present moment…little by little did yoga help me find some mental relief.
From focusing on my breath to pulling up my knee cap, I became more aware of what is happening right now. All my worries about the future of my health are really an illusion. It has not happened, besides there are no guarantees either way. And I cannot change all the things that have already happened, these belong to the past. So what I’m left with is the NOW and that NOW is all we’ve got.
Naturally to me this meant stepping on the mat more often. As if to seek this state of relaxation more often too. Teacher training was my next step. It was throughout this, and going through a double mastectomy at the same time, that I learnt all about the yoga that I could practice off the matt too. Phew, what a relief that was. Bandaged up and unable to move my arms and body very well for many weeks and I never felt I was missing out on anything.
Today I know that my yoga practice had taken on another transformation.
Off the mat and into that emotional and mental body of mine and deep into my heart.
How wonderful to be able to tap into yoga in so many different ways.
To learn more about Dani and her fab recipes, head to www.healthywholeme.com