How Yoga Heals
The various practices within yoga help in the healing process by doing these things:
- the breathing techniques calm the nervous system
- movement increases circulation, which processes or filters out stress hormones
- meditation harnesses the mind, getting a handle on anxiety
- and deep relaxation, the finish to all classes, allows the participant to rest in a profound state of quiet calm awareness
- yoga attenuates the stress response, dampens it. Stress is not only a potential impediment to good health, but also increases dramatically with a frightening diagnosis such as cancer.
The specialized yoga that I teach is designed to meet the special needs of cancer patients at any stage of illness or ability. This is not pretzel yoga! As a chair-based class, it keeps participants safe and comfortable and can adapt to their various physical needs. Participants practice gentle movements and postures, breathing techniques, meditation and receive information on the physiological benefits of these activities as well.
“I noticed more energy and was better able to quiet my anxious thoughts.”
The medical research reveals that yoga can improve quality of sleep, lower stress hormones, decrease pain and fatigue and improve social and emotional well-being.
“My body is becoming stronger and balanced. I am able to relax, to decrease the feeling of stress. My mental outlook has improved.”
My mission is to:
- serve those living with cancer or chronic illness through the practice of yoga
- educate this population, their caregivers, and medical professionals on the benefits of yoga and the science behind the practices
- implement yoga programs in medical settings or wherever it will serve best
- continue to study, unearth, research and refine the practices for those on a healing journey
Michelle Stortz specializes in yoga for cancer and chronic illness and teaches in numerous medical settings throughout the Philadelphia area. Her teaching is augmented by her studies in meditation and Buddhism and her involvement with the Springboard Meditation Sangha. She leads retreats and group classes and works with individuals in private sessions.