Topic #6.1 – Class as a Survivor – Part #1

‘Do not imagine that you already understand and impose your imperfect understanding on those that come to you for help.’ BKS Iyengar

1) Preparations:

Your transition from being a student of yoga for cancer to a teacher of yoga for cancer has begun. In this topic we challenge you to experience class as a cancer survivor by simulating common side effects of treatment. This exercise is hands-on, informative, and proven invaluable to every certified yoga4cancer teacher. Please join us with trust and an open mind, and collect the following materials:

  • One roll of duct tape or strong masking tape
  • Small hand towels – bigger than a face cloth but smaller than a body towel
  • A few grains of rice or popcorn kernels
  • A shirt that covers your skin that is not sensitive to tape
  • yoga props, preferably 1 mat, 2 blocks, 2 blankets, 1 bolster and 1 strap
  • A friend to help you might be required and helpful
  • A notebook for your thoughts and reflections

This exercise and the materials above will help us improve our imperfect understanding of others. We will essentially be putting on a ‘costume’ of someone whom you hope to serve. In Part #2 we will wear this ‘costume’ during practice.

Note to cancer survivors:  We encourage you to participate in this exercise and identify some side-effects or experiences that you might have not personally experienced during your treatments and / or in your recovery.  An important aim of this exercise is to think beyond your own cancer diagnosis to better understand others.

2) Watch the Introduction Video from Tari

Please do not watch the following video until you have collected all the above listed supplies.

3) Prepare & Participate in your ‘Class as a Survivor’

Tips to putting on your ‘costume’:

  1. Choose one or two side effects to focus on during this exercise. Which side effect do you imagine to be the most challenging to experience, or to have when practicing yoga? Do you currently have any survivors in your ongoing classes whom you wish to better understand and serve? Perhaps their side effects can be your focus. In the video, Tari focuses on weight gain, limited range of motion, and neuropathy. You do not have to incorporate all of these examples and may choose others that are more challenging or curious for you.
  2. With the help of a friend, put on your Cancer Survivor ‘costume’.
  3. Set up your yoga4cancer Props.
  4. When you are ready, select “Mark Complete” on this topic and proceed to topic 6.2 to take class with Tari as a survivor.  Remember to hit Full Screen icon for the best viewing experience.
  5. Check out the video below for some extra tips from Dale and Tari, especially during this unprecedented time of lockdown in response to COVID-19.