Cancer survivor so grateful she found Yoga

Written by Pam Temby on November 22nd 2016.

Suzanne McCall was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002, but through much courage and resolve, she has managed to turn her illness into something positive.

Ironically, Suzanne says she’s thankful for what cancer has given her: finding the gift of Yoga and the seeds for a more meaningful life.

“The benefits I have gained from Yoga are invaluable,” says Suzanne, a scanning coordinator for Ingles who did extensive research before embarking on a Yoga practice. “Since chemotherapy treatments, my body has been too fatigued to go to the gym or to go on a run. The heated classes at YAM have helped me tremendously with my bone and joint pain.

“I have become more relaxed and have been able to slow my body down to listen to my inner voice on what I truly need,” says Suzanne. “I’m gaining awareness of my true self, learning how to be present in my own life and to notice all the changes happening inside my body.”

Studies show that Yoga for cancer patients can provide much needed physical and emotional support. Stretching and breath work can reduce stress, improve sleep and help resume routine activities of everyday life, all while strengthening the immune system.

Suzanne says her doctor encourages her to continue with her Yoga practice as her condition has remained stable at this point. She has what is known as Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, cancer of the white blood cells. Drugs introduced in early 2000, one of which Suzanne is taking in a pill form, have revolutionized treatment of the disease and allow patients to have a good quality of life when compared to former chemotherapy drugs.

Suzanne’s daughter, Jessica Marie, turned her on to YAM, first taking a “Yoga with Cats” class about a year ago at the Sanctuary Brewing Company In downtown Hendersonville, where Jessica works. The heated classes at YAM’s regular studio were a big draw for Suzanne because the heat helps her pain.

Classes have given Suzanne the strength and determination to continue working a full-time job, hiking and, of course, enjoying her favorite activity – spending time with her grandchildren.

“All the classes at YAM have been amazing. The heat makes me relax and let go, which in turn helps my health,” Suzanne says. “Each class with each teacher is a different challenge and helps in a different way. Each teacher and student at YAM has a sweet and kind spirit that is hard to find anywhere else.

“No matter what kind of day I have had, I know that I can come to class and I will leave feeling amazing,” she says. “I look forward to each class I take at YAM and truly feel blessed every time I leave there.”

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