Joy Boots: A Group Yoga & Talk®
Program for Survivors of Cancer
One great program. Two ways to experience it:
Live Online OR In-person in Austin, Texas
Many survivors wish they had a handbook on how to deal with the emotional fallout of having cancer. Just look at any online cancer support Facebook page. Anger, grief, fear of recurrence, self blame, stress, PTSD, anxiety and depression are all common emotional responses for humans on the difficult road of cancer and its medical treatments.
New medical developments are thankfully leading to longer survivorship. And survivors need tools to help us get our lives back.
This program will introduce you to:
- specially designed kundalini yoga and meditation practices.
- group therapy sessions where you can safely share what’s truly in your heart and mind beneath the surface of the brave face you wear for the benefit of loved ones.
- a community of other women who also want to focus on deeper self understanding and healing.
The Joy Boots program begins with a 45-minute 1:1 consultation with me so that I can learn more about your situation and specific needs.
Then, once a week, our group will gather together. My online group will gather live via a safe and easy-to-use virtual meeting room. My in-person group will gather in Austin, Texas. Each group session begins with 45 minutes of specially chosen Kundalini yoga for cancer survivors, relaxation, and meditation practice. An hour of group therapy follows the yoga, where we get real about what’s happening with our bodies, our minds, our energy, our desires and dreams, and our relationships.
The group acts as a mirror, a sounding board for feelings and ideas, a laboratory for personal growth, and a sanctuary for connection and healing.
Between our live weekly sessions, you will be given a recorded meditation and yoga practice to follow, as well as suggestions and prompts for journaling. You will have access to an optional and completely private Facebook page to keep in touch with the group between sessions, and I will also be offering reasonable email support to answer any questions or concerns that may arise.
Why do you need this program?
The cancer experience changes us. Sometimes people suggest you can just “sail right through it,” but the reality is often much more difficult.
As they wheeled me in for the first MRI at MD Anderson Cancer Center, I remember feeling hysterical, like I might laugh or cry or scream. I wanted to shout: ” You don’t understand! I’m really healthy!” Instead, I was a good patient. Quiet, compliant and immobile.
One of the affirmations I used during treatment was “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” Also, “Lord, Please get me through this moment!” Not the whole day or even an hour, just that one moment. It was an important re-direction of my mind so I could get through some excruciating times.
But there were other feelings underneath: anger, despair, fear, shame and self blame, a desire to give up.
What happens to feelings when they are set aside for the sake of survival?
Sometimes they fragment, landing in parts of the body or in the back of the mind, waiting to be remembered.
About 6 months after the end of active treatment, I signed up for a free pilates class. I had never done pilates, but I had done lots of dance and yoga. I figured I could handle it.
Imagine the scene: I’m lying on the pilates table being hooked up to machinery, my body still weak and my mind still too fatigued to follow directions well. If you’ve been through cancer treatment, this might sound a little familiar. And it was familiar to my body – it brought back a flood of memories from chemotherapy treatment.
Frustrated and embarrassed at feeling unable to follow instructions, I started crying and couldn’t stop.
I left that day, but returned later to take some private lessons. Eventually, I was able to tolerate the discomfort and begin to befriend my body in this new way.
Recent research in neurobiology finds that ignoring or repressing emotions or memories does not make them disappear. Instead, the limbic system, the emotional part of the brain, stays activated as though the initial experience is actually happening.
You might not be talking about it, but you are still feeling unexpressed emotions, in the mind or in the body.
Crucial to our healing from painful or traumatic experiences are safe places where we can feel and express it all. The key is inviting and integrating these feelings through activities such as yoga, meditation, therapy, creative expression, social support and connection.
I’d love to share the story of my Joy Boots journey with you. Click here for a closer look about why I decided to offer this group.
The Benefits of Yoga and Talk® For Cancer Survivors
- Recognize the physical and emotional imprint the cancer experience has created.
- Begin to heal your relationship to your body by befriending it through compassionate observation of your physical sensations
- Experience deep physical and mental relaxation
- Increase vitality by discharging fear, anger, and grief
- Express yourself and be heard
- Create new positive mind/body experiences through movement, meditation and sharing.
- From a relaxed state of mind and open heart, connect with your tribe on the emotional and spiritual wounds of cancer.
- Practice guided visualizations and meditations for healing.
- Receive a video of the meditations and visualizations for use between sessions.
- Share about the sacredness you have experienced as well as the difficulties.
- Identify what’s next in your emotional and physical recovery, even as you celebrate what you’ve been able to overcome.
- Appropriate for both total beginners and more experienced practitioners.
Joy Boots: An 8-week Group Yoga & Talk® Program for Survivors of Cancer
Austin Group –
at Integrative Psychotherapies
1310 South First St., Ste. 200
Austin, TX 78704
October 3-November 21, 2017
One individual session prior to committing is required. Special rate of $100 for this session.
$75 per weekly session/$550 paid in advance
Questions & Answers
When is a good time in my treatment for me to do this group?
You should be in a place during treatment or after treatment where you feel like you can commit for the 8 weeks. You do not have to feel great to show up. You can come as you are – that’s what this is about. You may choose to rest during parts of the yoga – that’s ok. Like in all my yoga classes, you will be encouraged to listen deeply to what you need.
How do I know if this is a good fit for me?
This could be a good fit for you if you are interested in learning tools from yoga and meditation and group therapy to help you process your experience. Participation requires an initial individual session for me to learn about your history and goals for the group and how I can help during the group. I’m happy to answer questions prior to setting up the individual session to help you make your decision.
I don’t have a lot of energy and I’m not very flexible (or any other concerns about physical ability). Can I still participate?
In my weekly classes, I have experienced yogis and people who have never done yoga and are sitting in a chair. The practices are taught to include everyone with modifications and encouragement for resting and observing the breath as an important part of practice. I encourage everyone (over and over) to go at their own pace and practice listening to their bodies cues and the sound of their own breath. That being said, I’m happy to discuss any specific conditions you may have and for you to discuss with your doctor any concerns about yoga.
Can I just drop in or do I have to commit to the whole 8 sessions?
To promote emotional safety (people need to count on other members being there week to week) and to encourage people to make the most of their experience, a commitment to the 8 sessions is required. It is not unusual for people to sometimes miss a session because of unforeseen events. I ask that people let me know when that’s going to happen so I can inform the group.
What do I need to have ready for the first session?
You need to have a dependable, private space in your home where you can speak privately and confidentially each week. This online program requires an up to date computer with camera capability (so we can see you when you speak) and access to the internet.
Having an uncluttered space (free of “to-do” lists) helps you relax and be present with the group. You will benefit by giving yourself time to mentally disengage from daily life, your phone, children and pets, and regular responsibilities.
What about confidentiality?
All members are expected to maintain strict confidentiality about the identity and experiences of other members and to avoid the accidental eavesdropping by others present in the house.
No internet connected system can be completely secure.
Kelly has a legal obligation to break confidentiality and seek assistance if you state that you are actively suicidal or homicidal or if a child is being injured.
When do I pay?
You may pay for the individual session when setting it up. Once we determine together that the group will be a good fit for you, I will send you a link to pay for the group sessions.
Who should not participate in the Joy Boots Yoga and Talk group?
You should be stable enough in your medical treatment schedule and daily schedule to be able to commit to attending for 8 weeks.
People who have been instructed by their physician to avoid exercise, should not participate.
If you are in a state of acute emotional distress and need more active intervention from mental health professionals, I will recommend that you seek assistance in your area.
The Yoga and Talk® Group and online mentorship is not meant to be a substitute for ongoing in person psychotherapy, face to face social support, or advice from medical providers.
If you are feeling suicidal, I want you to have the attentive support you need from practitioners in your community. Please contact the National Suicide Hotline for referrals online or at 800-273-8255 or call 911.
Do you offer free services?
Yes. Subscribe to my mailing list for a free weekly video or blog especially for cancer survivors. You may also want to participate in the Webinars or in my weekly Yoga Warriors Wednesday Class in Austin, Texas.
Also, check out the American Cancer Society; Cancer Survivors’ Network; CancerCare for other free support services.*
I again left the group today feeling so much joy and energy. 🙂
I’ve had all kinds of therapy in my life, but I’ve never left a session feeling this good. I noticed how beautiful the day was when I left group. I felt happy to be alive and ready to engage in life. I did not feel that way when I arrived. I stayed up until late with energy and feeling positive.