Teachers There's a class for that

Felicia Tomasko on the practices that helped her heal

Resilience. Strength. Suppleness. Flexibility. 

These are some of the benefits we receive from our practices of yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, and everything else that we commit to on and off of the mat.

There are moments when we definitely feel the benefits; when I definitely know that I have felt the benefits over the years.

Yet when we’re really tested, we have the opportunity to check-in and see if we really are developing resilience, strength, suppleness, flexibility, or any of the other benefits of practice.

For me, that test came in the form of a cancer diagnosis. First of all, I recognize I am lucky. I discovered a breast lump. The diagnosis process revealed that it was an early stage. And although the treatment has been intense: surgery and radiation and recovery and another upcoming reconstructive surgery, I’ve been receiving good news. But back to the fact that this is a test—and it has been intense—surgery is no joke. It is one of those experiences that strips so much away, literally, figuratively, energetically. Twenty-five days of radiation tested my mental stamina and severely burned my skin before healing could begin again. And that doesn’t even take into account the rest of it. The mental, emotional, and spiritual processing. The diagnostic testing, the news, the decisions, the shock, the identity crises, all of it.

All of it asked everything of me. Everything that I experienced required me to put my practice to the test and see if it really did everything that was promised. Did my yoga practice really help me develop qualities like resilience, strength, suppleness, flexibility? How were these qualities that I honed during practice of service to me while navigating this set of challenges throughout my personal healing journey? After all, they are all nice words but what do they really mean?

What I discovered in my practice is that they mean everything. In the moments when I needed an anchor to keep moving forward, I found that anchor through my practice. I recognized my own resilience. My strength. My suppleness and ability to keep finding solutions. My flexibility to keep moving forward—to prepare for procedures and to support the ability of my body to repair itself. Every day, I draw so much from my practice. Even in the moments when my practice was simple, when my practice was subtle, when my practice was nothing like how it used to be before surgery, my practice always was—and remains—a daily exercise in maintaining resilience, strength, suppleness, flexibility.

This is why I recorded this series of audio meditations and these asana practices.  These are practices I used when I needed them. These are the practices that reminded me of all my inner strength. These are the practices that have helped—and are continuing to help me—navigate the challenges that are not only part of the healing journey, but that are the journey themselves. When I was in the pre-operating area at 6am, when I was in a hospital bed at midnight, when I was home alone on my couch, when I was in the midst of a radiation session, these are the practices I used. Because it’s all real. It all means something. The resilience is real. 

From guidance in the waiting room to visualizing positive outcomes, Felicia lovingly created this class collection to support your healing journey, no matter what form it takes. View the full collection here: In service of healing

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