I found an ad in the newspaper for a yoga class for breast cancer survivors. It was what I’d been looking for — a specialized class for the lymphedema risk and other issues caused by cancer treatment. At Circle Yoga in Washington, D.C., I found my support group.
Two instructors, Jill and Karen, alternated teaching Yoga for Breast Cancer. I was the last to join the class and started between surgery and chemo. The other women were way ahead of me in treatment. All were mothers of young children, and between 38 and 41 years old. Jill and Karen began each class with a thoughtful meditation. They allowed us to take a moment to say what was on our minds. They asked what we needed from the yoga practice. And what we needed to let go, if only for a little while.
At one class, I shared that, to friends, family, and co-workers, I appeared strong, independent and capable. But, I was starting to have meltdowns. I was tired. I was tired of focusing on that outward appearance. I knew I needed a break of some sort, but didn’t know who to ask or what I needed. I just wanted a break. The other women said they hit that wall, too — around the sixth chemo session.
Circle Yoga was my refuge. This yoga class was as important to me as any medical appointment. I relaxed and let the meditation transport me. I was with other survivors getting my warrior poses on. Jill and Karen continued the class faithfully each week, even when I was the only student left.