Cancer survivors turn to yoga for peace and relief - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Cancer survivors turn to yoga for peace and relief

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WASHINGTON -

We all need help coping during life's most difficult moments. For people with cancer, there is a place in the District that is providing peace and even pain relief. It's not a drug or a new treatment. It's yoga.

Many turn to yoga in search of peace. Some lean on it more than others.

Cynthia Speckman is a 50-year-old cancer survivor. She has leukemia and is recovering from a bone marrow transplant.

At first, yoga felt slow for her.

“First yoga class, I was like, 'This is boring. Get me an elliptical. Get me a kickboxing class,’” she said.

But for Speckman, yoga has built more resilience than any elliptical ever could.

“Just be present with where you are today, not what your body was able to do yesterday and not what you think it is supposed to be able to do tonight,” said Speckman.

Corrin Bennett is the instructor in this therapeutic yoga class for people with cancer and others. It's at a non-profit called the Smith Center on U Street in Northwest D.C.

“Most people, when they walk in the door, are just blown away by the space and blown away by the energy that is here,” said Erin Price-Schabert, the Smith Center’s Development Manager. “And most of the time, they say, 'I've walked by you a million times. I had no idea you were here.’”

The Smith Center provides the tools to get through life's toughest challenges.

Bennett says yoga helps emotionally. Also with the stiffness and discomfort.

The deliberate breathing in and out has worked for Jacque Buschmann. She too had a bone marrow transplant.

“It's just really helpful to have breathing techniques to turn to when things are painful and or just upsetting,” she said.

Speckman knows what yoga has meant to her.

“It's meant life,” Speckman said. “I wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for learning how to do this practice and learning how to be present with my body.”

Online:

http://www.smithcenter.org/

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