I started working with the International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation in May 2021, to help a group of cancer patients and survivors.
My father has the blood cancer WM, and I wanted to provide a safe space on Zoom for fellow “Wallies” to move and breathe, while addressing some of the side effects such as fatigue, compromised immune system health, decreased bone mineral density, balance issues, and stress. (Note: Yoga is a complementary or integrative practice to be used in conjunction with standard medical treatment.)
Our 45 minute classes incorporate some of the following:
- Breath exercises for reducing stress and boosting the immune system
- Gentle stretches designed to energize the whole body
- Yoga poses that move the lymph fluid, and improve balance and steadiness
- Meditations like body scans to facilitate mindfulness, acceptance, and relaxation
I never would have predicted the popularity of the class, but I’m so grateful to say that with the help of the IWMF we have been able to continue a well-attended, ongoing weekly class with Wallies from all over the world!
The zeal of these practitioners navigating so many health challenges is downright inspiring, an each week the community shares the benefits they experience, such as feeling less fatigue, experiencing better breathing and balance, feeling stronger and more flexible, feeling calmer and more relaxed, and above all – sharing a feeling of connection with each other, even over the Zoom platform.
To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or sign up through Michelle Postek, IWMF email@example.com
Thanks so much to Ann you, and the IWMF for these wonderful yoga classes. This is a highlight of my week. Ann is the best yoga instructor I have encountered. Her lovely personality and soothing voice make the classes most enjoyable and therapeutic. I just love her classes. It’s also very gratifying to meet with other WMers and hear about their experiences. Everyone is so willing to share and learn. Thank you for organizing all this. Anne M., North Bay, Ontario, Canada
“Ann’s communication style, skills, and knowledge are exceptional. She is tuned into and present to each participant. Her soothing manner and watching us carefully, recommending adjustments and gently encouraging us to accept how/where we are at that moment, makes me feel safe. She checks in with each person before starting the recording (smaller class so was able to do) and she also has us raise our fingers to show her (and us) where we are at that particular moment on energy level and stress level. The content of the class provides options while listening to our bodies. It feels so good! She facilitates a comfortable “community” with the participants even though using Zoom. I am grateful it’s available to do in my home. Often I can’t drive, yet want to do a class specific to my needs. This provides it! Having the classes available to watch again is wonderful too! Thank you so very much!” Barbara Q, Waldenstrom’s Chair Yoga Participant
- Cancer survivors including those recently diagnosed report better sleep, less stress, and improved mood and quality of life with the practice of yoga. Among less active cancer survivors, a restorative yoga practice may be easier to maintain, and also have benefits. Regular practice also increases benefits.
- The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Society of Integrative Oncology (SIO) recommend yoga for anxiety, stress reduction, depression, mood disturbance, and improved quality of life in cancer patients.”
- Qualitative results showed improvements in overall mental health, anxiety, depression, and mood. Physical health showed improvements in fatigue. These improvements were shown to last 8 weeks post practice.