This month we are focused on the concept of Strength as well as bringing awareness to the healing and prevention benefits of Yoga. 

Many of us don’t know how strong we are until we are forced to confront a challenge. Several of our strongest Refresh students have graciously shared their stories with us about their fight with cancer. This week we spoke with Kelly.  

Kelly N. 

Do you mind sharing what kind of cancer you have and how it was discovered?

Advanced stage Non- Hodgkins Lymphoma

How do you use yoga in your fight against cancer? If not yoga, what other tools do you rely on?

I believe that yoga and healthy eating had a huge impact on the sustained health of my body leading up to and immediately after my diagnosis. By all accounts I should have felt extremely sick and incapacitated but I was up walking around and had much greater energy than would be expected for my level of diagnosis. During my treatment it was physically difficult to maintain my practice but I used stretching and meditation to relax and keep my body from atrophying. My Christian faith was also paramount during my fight and prayer was something I relied on a lot. This was particularly true in moments of loneliness or fear. In those moments God was the only one who could really be near and I felt very encouraged by that.

What can people say?

I am okay with people asking questions about the process or experience. As long as there is authenticity and compassion it can feel positive to share.

Kelly the Artist

What should they ask?

As long as there is an authenticity to understand then many questions are acceptable. I would definitely say to be mindful of how the person is responding to gauge if more questions are a good idea. Also, if you do talk about these serious issues it’s important to be respectful of how you transition to a new topic. Cancer is such a major event in someone’s life so seeming to brush it away too abruptly can feel dismissive. Again, this is about really paying attention in that moment and reading the person’s reactions.

Any Final Reminders?

It is very important that people shouldn’t put an undue burden on someone to “be strong” or to remind them that they came through the sickness or to focus on the positive if they are talking about things that are negative or hard. Make sure to give them the space to struggle with hard things if they need to.

Kelly and Rebekah hanging out
Kelly and Rebekah at our staff potluck

What great words to live by. Thank you Kelly for your strength and bravery and for telling us your story. Check out our other blogs for more stories on strength, cancer, and yoga.

Refresh Yoga Center is a community located in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. We welcome all people to share a passion for health, well-being, and love.