This is my journey. Breast cancer was and is part of this passage. Shaping the many roles that I fill
as a mother, teacher, daughter, sister, and girlfriend. I didn’t see it as a battle, or a fight against cancer.
There are bigger forces out there fighting that fight. My own journey led me through diagnosis of
Ductal Carcinoma In-situ (DCIS), knowledge overload, biopsies galore, waiting on pins and needles for
results, surgeries, radiation and contemplation about the future. So where does this all leave me?
With a full appreciation of my yoga practice in my life and of life itself.
When I was diagnosed over a year ago, I was also teaching yoga to cancer patients and survivors
at the Wellness Community at the Anne McCouch Center in Lansdale. I went through the process
much like many of my students had with their own diagnoses. I experienced first hand the support
and comfort they needed and the connectivity that not only the Wellness Community but also the
entire yoga community provided. I was drawn to the compassion and understanding like a bee to a
Yoga has been a part of my life for over a decade, both as a student and a teacher. But I never connected
so completely with my yoga practice until I was diagnosed. I have vivid memories of being in
the pre-op room where the medical staff needed to place a marker at the surgery site. Three hours
later and a pincushion for a breast, the needle was finally in. What got me through that ordeal? Yoga
did in the form of breath, focus, strength, meditation and a very supportive team behind me, literally
I continued to teach and practice yoga throughout biopsies, surgeries and radiation. During radiation
I started each session with the mantra “I dive into life without fear” and ended each day’s session in
the dressing area going through a few yoga poses either to energize me for the ride home or to relax
As much as this was a difficult journey, I do not regret having cancer. It has led me to deepen my
practice both on and off the mat. It has brought me to wonderful places like Kripalu in Lenox,
Massachusetts, for a yoga retreat. I’ve experienced powerful moments with thousands of other yogi’s
as in the Yoga Unites Day, where a mass yoga class was held on the Art Museum steps. Whatever
your journey is, it falls back on those powerful, life-changing moments that shape you and shape the
world that we are in.
A deep thank you to my friends and family who kept me lifted up and continue
to do so. Gratitude to the yoga community and to my students for providing
an enriching experience, one in which I am always a student.
Diane Kistler, Certified MOYO Teacher