Movement Medicine

There’s much to be said about the current state of fitness, where stick-skinny is no longer considered desirable, rather being fit and tone is now the gold-standard for both male and female statures. I’ve always been pretty active — training for dance competitions, discovering the allure of spin and pilates, going to bootcamp to get in shape for my wedding, and of course being introduced to yoga.

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My first yoga class admittedly was geared toward fitness. It was a power yoga class that focused a lot on holding strong poses, inversions, and flexibility. It wasn’t until I took a restorative yoga class that I was introduced to the notion of moving with the breath and how important the flow of energy is not only to exercise but to mental health and general well-being. There was an aspect of spirituality and honesty that I couldn’t get from lifting weights or running miles. There would be times when I would be in a pose and tears just stream down my face — apparently it’s quite common to have this type of emotional release during yoga because certain poses may open up chakras, or energy channels, and let stuck energy flow through. For a while, I was hooked and would incorporate it into my regular exercise routine.

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Fast forward a few years and move to NY where I started to get into more weight lifting and bootcamp classes, I unintentionally neglected my yoga practice until I would only get to do it once every couple of months. Rolling out my mat always felt good, but I just never gave it the priority I probably should have. After my diagnosis, I thought about this and had a light bulb moment while laying on a table getting reiki. Reiki is an ancient Japanese practice of laying hands on someone to promote energy healing. Again, the movement of energy throughout the body is key. The lady put her hands under my left shoulder just behind my heart (and where the cancer breast was) and breathed into me. I felt such a strong wave of emotion rise to the surface as the words “I don’t want it” kept repeating over and over in my head. The next thing I know, I was bawling on the table, which I now realize it to be the first big emotional release or unblocking of my heart chakra. (I later learned that breast cancer is said to be one of the manifestations of a blocked heart chakra).

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Whether you believe in chakras or energy healing (I definitely did not up to that point), I could attest that something in me changed that night. I felt lighter, happier, almost like I could see the light at the end of the tunnel…my perspective shifted along with my energy.

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I got reiki done as part of my soul healing throughout active treatment, and now I get it done every once in a while to get “tuned up”. I have learned that the chi or prana or life force or whatever you want to call it IS real. We are but living creatures made up of millions of cells and molecules, but it is this energy that gives life to our soul. We must nourish and restore this energy just like we would our physical body.

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So now I approach yoga like seeing my best friend. I make time for it, I look forward to it, I cherish it. I am thankful for my body that can still move, my lungs that let me breathe, my heart that has opened up and still beats to keep me alive.

I encourage you to take a deep breath, close your eyes, and find the healing power of movement. Movement of body, movement of energy, movement of self. Let it flow.

Shanti shanti shanti. Peace peace peace. Thank you thank you thank you. ❤

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