Article Title: Yoga as an Adjunct to Cancer Treatment
By: Deborah Crooks
While the billions of dollars spent on cancer research each year have yet to yield a cure, yoga practice is being accepted and recommended as a helpful addition to a treatment plan. When people are diagnosed with cancer, much of their lives becomes focused on their disease. Increasingly, yoga classes are offering a place where those living with cancer can remember what is well.
Barbara Voinar began teaching a Healing Yoga class for women living with cancer after losing two friends to the disease. It focused on helping people feel more alive with respect to the traumas their bodies were going through, says Voinar, who offered the class for free for five years at 4th St. Studios in Berkeley. Voinar felt it imperative that the classes not come with a fee. Even if you have insurance, it doesn't cover it all. Their whole lives are shifted financially.
Such thinking reflects a widespread response of yoga teachers to the epidemic that is cancer, be it breast, ovarian or another form of the disease.
Several programs have been launched to give communities of those living with cancer a place to practice. Team Survivor, Clinic Exercise Program for Women Living with Cancer was founded in 1999 by two cancer survivors with a mission to enable women living with cancer to take an active role in regaining and maintaining their health. The Los Angeles Clinic offers a free exercise program for women with cancer in under served communities. Life Goes Om, a recently-launched program initiated by GreatYoga.com's Sue Spielman is creating a network of yoga studios which offer free classes to those undergoing cancer treatment. Practicing yoga gives someone a way to regain their own authority and power during highly stressful cancer treatments, notes Spielman.
Yoga studio's can sign up for Life Goes Om for free on the www.greatyoga.com site. Other resources include, www.teamsurvivor-la.org, www.commonweal.com,
www.owmarkley.org, and livestrong.org