Book review

Yoga can help heal your body and mind after a cancer diagnosis.

Yoga for Cancer: A Guide to Managing Side Effects, Boosting Immunity, and Improving Recovery for Cancer Survivors
By Tari Prinster
Healing Arts Press, 2014, 302 pages
ISBN 978-1-62055-272-8

“Cancer steals your breath, yoga gives it back.” —Tari Prinster

Let’s get this out of the way first: a diagnosis of cancer changes everything. From the initial diagnosis through treatment and recovery, there will be altered states of consciousness and new ways of moving through all aspects of life. One constant that can help patients to cope with the continuum of emotional and physical changes is yoga. More specifically, a modified yoga practice for supporting wellness.
Tari Prinster is a cancer survivor and long-time yoga instructor. Over the course of several years, she has developed the y4C (yoga4cancer) methodology, a targeted science-based approach to help yoga teachers and students with cancer to create active healing tools. Her book was five years in the making, and this author’s dedication to detail is evident on every page.
In contrast to other yoga books depicting “ideal” body types, the photos in Yoga for Cancer show real people with cancer—people like our sisters, girlfriends, and ourselves. Drawing from the experiences of real cancer patients is what makes Yoga for Cancer such a credible and strong tool.
Stylized step-by-step diagrams fill the pages; these are expertly drawn with a simple clarity that allows no room for misunderstanding. Where specific yoga poses are best avoided during certain times—such as during treatment or when side effects occur—these are thoroughly explained so that readers can selectively build a personal, tailored routine.
Prinster reports on the proven benefits of yoga including detoxification, bone strengthening, immune system support, pain management, fear and anxiety management, emotional well-being, and improved body image. (The importance of these is magnified when viewed through the lens of a cancer diagnosis.) Understanding why and how to modify traditional poses enables patients and survivors to reap the benefits of yoga when they may feel vulnerable, yet need it most.
Prinster’s text hits the mark. A deep knowledge of cancer’s effects (and side effects) allows her to present the roles of both patient and practitioner with confidence. Prinster’s own words and the testimonials of survivors/students weave together personal narratives and proven principles of medicine.
Yoga for Cancer is a fully integrative book that works on every level to both motivate and soothe. It deserves to be in the hands of cancer patients everywhere. What are you waiting for? Go and tell a friend!
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