>A Yoga Program for People with Cancer


A recent report published by a leading British cancer charity is urging cancer patients to increase their level of physical activity. The Move More report was a review of findings from 60 scientific studies on the effects of exercise on cancer. The conclusion was that even light exercise can lower recurrence and reduce risk of death in many forms of cancer. Researchers have also established that the gentle exercise of Yoga can be particularly effective at battling the side effects of treatment such as fatigue, depression, stress and insomnia as well as boosting energy level and appetite in cancer patients.

Based on this evidence, Jeri O’Dowd RN, RYT of Coastal Holistic Wellness and Malinda Breda, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist at CarolinaEast Rehabilitation Hospital have come together to bring the healing effects of gentle yoga to people living with cancer in the New Bern area. Thanks to a grant from the CarolinaEast Foundation and through a partnership with the YMCA, “Gentle Yoga for People Living with Cancer” will be offered for the first time in our community. The 90-minute class will be held on Tuesdays from 4:30-6:00 p.m. at the Twin Rivers YMCA in New Bern Thanks to the grant, this program will be at no cost to participants.

“This program is intended to increase relaxation and improve the overall well-being of participants’ mind, body and spirit. Classes will consist of gentle yoga poses, relaxation, and time for connecting with others,” says O’Dowd.

Classes will be led by O’Dowd, a registered yoga instructor with a background in oncology nursing and research. “A holistic approach to healing, especially one that includes physical activity such as yoga, has been shown in numerous research studies to be a great asset to patients battling cancer,” says Dr. Breda. “This evidence-based program is similar to other very successful programs offered by major hospitals and cancer centers nationwide. We are thrilled to have the chance to bring it to patients here in Eastern North Carolina.”

Membership at the YMCA is not necessary for participation. However, the Twin Rivers YMCA is offering to waive the sign-up fee should a participant in this program decide to become a member. Yoga supplies for the class will be provided at no cost to participants.

“We hope to offer individuals dealing with a cancer diagnosis a safe and relaxing environment in which to experience the healing practice of yoga” says O’Dowd.

To register for the class or to find out more, contact Jeri O’Dowd at 252-876-8330 or by email at coastalholisticwellness@yahoo.com.

Submitted by: Megan McGarvey, Director of Public Relations for CarolinaEast Health System