Community Spotlight: Families for Justice as Healing
Finding Savasana: Yoga Support for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors
When bodhi & mind, yoga for women with breast cancer, founder Kristin Sinclair was diagnosed and began her own treatment for breast cancer, it was difficult for her to maintain her yoga practice. She searched for ways to continue to do yoga, and sought ways in which she could use yoga to strengthen her mind and body for her treatment and recovery. But she found few resources. With her own resiliency, and the help of a caring friend and fellow yogi, she found a way to adapt traditional yoga positions and flows to accommodate her unique challenges and to "maintain energy, strength, and flexibility throughout treatment".
What Kristin felt intuitively, research and bodhi & mind's program participants (bodhis) are now verifying. Scientists observe biological, in addition to psychological, benefits from yoga practice. Early results from studies link meditation and mindfulness practices with "improved [..] overall quality of life, [...] cognitive, emotion[al], social functions and pain and fatigue symptoms."
Bodhis participate in free group or one-on-one sessions specially formulated to fit their needs. They train local, certified yoga instructors to adapt their practice to serve women with breast cancer, and then pair that instructor with their bodhi. They also partner with hospitals to connect their bodhis with other resources to help them through their treatment. Since its founding in 2012, bodhi & mind yoga has reached more than 40 women with over 200 hours of direct service. Serving people facing medical challenges is a central tenet of the LZF mission and bodhi and mind yoga is a perfect fit.
The Lenny Zakim Fund provides more than money and prides itself on being a connector.
Executive Director DJ Arnold shared
"One of the most powerful gifts The Lenny Zakim Fund has given bodhi & mind yoga is a connection to similar organizations that have already gone through the growth process that we are embarking on. The connection to Beecher and Jackie at Lucy's Love Bus has been a phenomenal resource. Being able to reach out to an organization that has gone through its growing pains and has figured out the basics of what works and what doesn't helps to inform our strategic plan and next steps."
The effects of breast cancer, like other diseases, are not always obvious --- your mental health is challenged, your personal relationships are tested, and the constant appointments, treatments and medications wear you down. It becomes increasingly harder to do the things you love, even when those things are beneficial to you. When disease wears women down, bodhi and mind can make relaxation and peacefulness possible.
While Kristin lost her battle with cancer in 2013, her legacy and indomitable spirit live on in the work of bodhi & mind yoga and in the many women the organization has touched.