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Jessica From Cancer Survivor to Oncology Yoga Instructor

Jessica, a Lebanese expat, was going through a difficult time when she noticed an advertisement for a yoga teacher training course in Bali.

Moving to the UAE after surviving breast cancer, Lebanese expat Jessica was going through a rough patch when she saw an advertisement for a yoga teacher training course in Bali. 

“In my mind, I felt like I had found a purpose,” she said. “So I just packed my bags and left.”

Today, Jessica is on her way to becoming an oncology yoga instructor after quitting her full-time job with her family’s business.

Yoga Tailored for Cancer Patients:

Designed especially to help those who have undergone cancer, oncology yoga tailors its words and techniques to accommodate those dealing with the disease.

Jessica was one of the women who shared their experiences at an event hosted by the Majlis Al Amal, with October being breast cancer awareness month. 

Celebrating women’s resilience and transformation, it was a platform for women from all walks of life to share their experience beating the big C.

The Guilt Surrounding Cancer:

Jessica said one of the hardest things for her to live with was the guilt. “A lot of people, including myself, have this guilt that they caused cancer to themselves by not eating and exercising properly,” she said. “There are a lot of mental issues surrounding cancer that isn’t discussed often.”

The Healing Power of Yoga:

According to her, yoga became especially important to her after she understood the importance of it in the lives of patients. 

“It is one of the activities that prevent cancer from returning,” she said. “It gives mental clarity and helps patients with mental guilt.”

Catering to Cancer Patients:

She said oncology yoga will help her cater to cancer patients in better ways. “It is about the words we use, the mantras we say, and the poses we do,” she said. 

“For example, we would never say ‘corpse pose’ with cancer patients. Also, many may have surgery scars, meaning they cannot do certain poses. So, we modify it to meet their needs.”

Supporting Each Other Through the Journey:

When she was diagnosed, Jessica was on the verge of moving to the UAE to be with her family. She considers herself lucky that her mother was with her throughout the journey. 

“My mother understood me and gave me the space I needed while supporting me,” she said. “She never made me feel like I had a disease. I used to drive myself to chemotherapy and back.”

The Importance of Support:

Jessica highlighted how it was important to have the support of friends or family members when going through the journey. 

“That is why a place like Majlis Al Amal becomes so important,” she said. “So many people fight cancer here but are away from their families. They can build their support group through Majlis Al Amal.”

The free drop-in service offers counseling and several other services to cancer patients.

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