Since today is Wellness Wednesday, we wanted to let you know about a yoga class that might interest you. The yoga instructor is Lorien Neargarder, and she runs a donation-based class specifically geared towards cancer patients and their caregivers. Read on for more information about Lorien and her class.
I didn’t always teach yoga.
I didn’t always work with cancer.
I discovered yoga after my second child was born, and four years later I made the big leap to leave my successful engineering career and the known corporate environment for the unknown world of teaching yoga full time. I have never been happier.
A few years ago, a friend and colleague asked me to fill in for her at her restorative yoga class for the Stanford Cancer Supportive Care Center. I declined at the time, but it inspired me to look into this work. I found several studies showing yoga’s benefits for those undergoing treatment for cancer.
Like most people, I lost someone important to me to cancer. It was during my college years, long before any thoughts of yoga entered my mind, but I certainly had the idea that there could be a better way to support her quality of life during her cancer battle.
I completed a Therapeutic Yoga training in 2009, where I learned to work privately and in group setting to support those undergoing any kind of systemic stress. I hadn’t decided what area of therapy I was going to pursue when two of my longtime students shared with me their recent discoveries: one had breast cancer and the other had leukemia. I began working privately with them – only weeks after completing my training, and then I knew where I would focus my efforts.
After working exclusively in one-on-one settings, I began teaching for the Stanford Cancer Supportive Care Center and witnessed firsthand yoga’s benefits for people going through treatment, as well as their caretakers. Side effects of treatment can be debilitating, but yoga meets the students at his or her abilities and offers gentle relief, improving quality of life without interfering with medicine. While Stanford’s program is incredible, I often hear complaints about how far away it is for us in the South Bay.
I was inspired to offer something similar to Stanford’s program: a respite from treatment that is financially and geographically accessible. The founders of Breathe Los Gatos had their own cancer journey, and together with their compassionate spirit, they embraced this idea wholeheartedly. So, each Tuesday at 1:00 PM, Breathe Los Gatos becomes a sanctuary for cancer patients, caregivers and oncology staff. These classes are offered by donation, so students pay only what they can afford. Using supportive props, gentle stretches and relaxing breath, students melt into their poses and reduce their stress response.
Wherever you are on your cancer journey, I hope you will join us. Until we meet on that path, please… Breathe.
Instructor Lorien Neargarder has taught yoga since 2004 and works privately with clients with cancer, as well as teaching group classes for the Stanford Cancer Support Center and for Breathe’s Cancer Support Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and teaching certifications in Hatha Yoga and Therapeutic Yoga.