Breast Cancer Survivor Earned Yoga Instructor Certification During Chemo. Now She Teaches Class For Women In Treatment
When Michele Faith was diagnosed with breast cancer, it helped her decide which direction to take her career, and it was one she never expected.
Faith is a yoga instructor at Renew Wellness in Columbus, Ohio. She began practicing yoga in 2005, and eventually decided she wanted to teach it. In 2016, she graduated from her 200-hour teaching program and began a 300-hour program at Yoga On High in November of that year.
But in February of 2018, she was stunned to learn that she had stage 2b breast cancer.
She had a partial mastectomy and was told she’d need to undergo 16 rounds of chemo and 30 sessions of radiation.
Amazingly, during the nine months between diagnosis and the end of her treatment, Faith continued to work on her yoga certification.
“I’ve learned that no matter what’s going on with you mentally, physically or emotionally, there’s a practice for you. Yoga can meet you right where you are,” Faith wrote in an article for Yoga on High.
The yoga program Faith went through provided her with the tools she needed to get through the months of treatment and uncertainty.
She credits the different types of yoga and meditation practices for keeping her calm, helping her connect to herself, reducing her insomnia and anxiety, and helping her make tough decisions about treatment and changes to her lifestyle.
And on top of all that, at the end of her 300-hour teacher training, she had a clear idea about how she wanted to use all of her yoga training: to help other survivors.
Now she’s teaching a 6-week series specifically for breast cancer survivors, to provide them with way to deal with potentially long-term side effects of breast cancer treatment and make them more “comfortable and confident.”
“By attending teacher training, I was hoping to gain more knowledge to use as a teacher and a yogi,” Faith wrote. “But I’m coming out of training with so much more than that – a sense of purpose, new friends, and a network of loving support.”
The class will focus on breathing, meditation, and gentle yoga poses to help deal with common issues those going through treatment face, such as anxiety, insomnia, low energy, and fatigue. No previous yoga experience is needed, and the class is free for survivors.
“The more you look like you’re struggling, then the more that people around you worry,” Faith told 10TV. “So I think we, especially as mothers, are just like holding it all together, really trying to make sure we don’t upset anybody too much and that gives us extra emotions and thoughts to deal with,” Faith said.
Her class allows survivors to have a safe space to be away from their families for a bit to reconnect with themselves and reflect.
Learn more in this video.