News flash! I took an all-level yoga class today with healthy people. OK, in the grand scheme of world affairs that really wouldn’t make a blip on the Associated Press radar. Yet, what sounds so simple really was a major accomplishment for me. No one in the class knew I once had troubles (except the teacher) and as I swept from a lunge to downward dog my heart beat in wild delight. It has been two and a half years since I was in a class open to the public. Days after my operation I didn’t dare dream this was even possible.
When a woman has a mastectomy, she can’t move her arms very high afterwards. I’m not sure if it’s the removal of lymph nodes or compromised pectoral muscles but the first thing they teach and tell you to do is exercise your arms. Mobility is painful and if you don’t get your arms moving in the first few weeks the damage will last for the rest of your life. One exercise is called “Climbing the Wall” and my friends I did it every day both physically and mentally. You don’t understand why everyone wishes you good health in the New Year until you don’t have it. It really is everything.
I’m a lucky girl as I’ve been taking Pilates classes before and then after my operation. I added the Yoga classes when I discovered them at OM yoga studio in Manhattan. Tara Prinster was teaching classes specifically designed for women who had/have breast cancer. It took me a while to go more out of fear of the unknown. My fear was that it would be depressing. It was anything but. There is camaraderie in those classes that I don’t feel anywhere else. Even with my newfound strength to join the healthy, I won’t give up on my other classes. I like the women who share similar histories to my own.
So tonight before I turn in to bed I’m sending a special shout out to Kelly Considine, Tari Prinster and Cortnie Miller. They are the women who helped me find my strength physically and mentally. If anyone in Manhattan who has had breast cancer or is going through treatment and wants an instructor to help her build her strength, call or write one of these women. They are amazing and know how to work with physical limitations. If you don’t want a private class, then join the public ones. They are worth it and don’t worry, everyone in the class understands where you are at.
If you don’t have cancer but want to give to others who do here is a retreat project that Tari is working on: http://www.theretreatproject.com