“I started Yoga when I started chemotherapy… ” A Yogi Story

“I started Yoga when I started chemotherapy, January 2016. I hadn’t ever done Yoga or chemo before, so it made sense in a way. My daughter found Senior Yoga at Poser YOGA and said I needed to do it. My daughter is always right. My doctor also said, “The more you do, the more you will feel like doing.” She was right too.

The first pose I mastered was Final Relaxation. My second was Child’s Pose. The 6-week session was over before I knew it, and the second series rolled into a third and fourth. In Senior Yoga I found a caring community of women who were quick to praise progress and accomplishment, and quick to offer compassion for injury and bereavement. Laughter and love. In Yoga I found a way to distance myself from the physical and emotional clamor of chemo. I found a place, if only temporary, of neutral space and quiet where I could find my inner strength. Surprising what happens when you only breathe.

Yoga is non-judgmental and teaches self-discovery and appreciation. I went to each class with whatever I had that day. I valued my flexibility and recognized my balance wasn’t what it used to be. I was always the one in class facing left when everyone else was looking right. Over the weeks, Supported Fish and Happy Baby poses became part of my muscle memory.

My chemo ended in August and more 6-week sessions rolled by. Firmly in remission in January 2017, I ‘promoted’ myself to Beginner Basics, seeking new challenges. Warrior One was difficult enough on its own; why did there have to be a Warrior Two? And Exalted Warrior and Humble Warrior? While trying to coordinate all of my limbs into a balanced and cohesive pose, I thought of other names of the pose, like —- Warrior, always remembering to breathe.

Two classes a week, not one, steepened my learning curve. I accepted my Tree Pose would have a ‘kick stand’. The first time I did a Downward Dog that felt like it could be a resting pose was sublime. I squared my hips in Warrior One, and kept my back arm lifted in Warrior Two. Yes!!!

In Poser YOGA’s Summer Challenge I won two free classes and decided to try two new classes. You are supposed to leave every day concerns at the door to the studio, but reality intrudes in the form of prior commitments. Restorative Yoga was serene, but weekend time slots don’t work for me. The schedule and rhythm of Slow Flow was better. Time to ‘graduate’ out of Basics, even if it meant a later dinner.

Always willing to push, I dared myself into a Strong Flow noon class. Note to self: walking and biking do not build upper body strength. I rendered a graceful Side Plank Twist into a flailing corkscrew disaster that safely ended in only a resounding ‘thud’! Child’s Pose for me for the rest of that sequence. Humbling, and an opportunity to improve.

For now I will switch between Slow Flow and Strong Flow as they fit my schedule. My daughter, now a certified Yoga instructor in Los Angeles, and I are attending a weekend Yoga retreat in Ojai for my birthday in February. As she said, “You have three months to get in shape, Mom.””

We’d like to acknowledge Sara Becker, for sharing her story with such courage and vulnerability. What a journey this amazing woman is traveling, and we are so pleased to be along for the ride. We’ve watched her progress from Senior Yoga to Strong Flow. Yoga is reversing the aging process and she continues to get stronger every day! It’s never too late to start Yoga, and Sara is a perfect example!

In January we have some exciting changes coming for our Senior Yoga series! We will now be offering two levels, which will allow us to provide more precise instruction, based on what our students need and want.

If Senior Yoga seems right for you or someone you know, please follow this link for information and/or registration: https://poserstudios.com/senior-yoga-sher/ or call us at 360.393.0977.

*Sign up by the end of November and get our current rate of $55/series. In December, our prices will be going up.