Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Amy 1, Fear 0

Recently I wrote an article on my experiences as a breast cancer survivor for the Organization Living Beyond Breast Cancer. In it, I sang the praises of the healing components of yoga and the blessings I have reaped as both a teacher and a practitioner. 

I received many positive responses.  But one woman challenged me that women should not practice certain poses after a mastectomy. In particular she wrote of the risks of lymphedema that can occur in women who practice downward facing dog following a mastectomy.  Lympedema is chronic swelling of the arm in which lymph nodes were removed.  It can occur after the surgery or any time later. And I practice hundreds of downward facing dogs.

I really had to reflect on her concerns and her knowledge of the risks involved.  I am aware of the risk.  And yet, at the end of the day this yogi chooses to continue her practice. As a survivor I have to face the fear of  cancer returning.  I would prefer to live my life not fearing a small potential risk when the rewards I reap from my practice are so monumental.

My complete response to her concerns were recently posted on the Living Beyond Breast Cancer's Blog and you can click here to read it.
So the title of this blog post isn't 100% accurate.  Sometimes fear wins in my everyday life.  But this time, I decided I wasn't going to let fear rule my decision.  Yoga brings me joy and joy is a much nicer emotion.  In this instance that's the direction I'm headed.

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