Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Family Cancer Retreat in Glorieta NM

Cancer Services of New Mexico, a 501C3 non-profit, has been offering these free weekend retreats to cancer patients, survivors, and their families for the past ten years. Yes, I said FREE, and last weekend over 350 people attended from Friday night through Sunday afternoon, to listen to the medical community describe the latest news about testing and treatment for many varieties of cancer.

In addition to the hard science aspects, participants had a chance to attend workshops focused on the psychological and mind-body issues that are so important to address in one's healing journey. I was honored to teach two sessions of Yoga, relaxation, and meditation with this group, and extremely gratified at the positive response the practices received.

The class content and sequence is a protocol that has been successfully used for reversing heart disease by Dean Ornish, MD, at UCSF, and is currently part of an NIH-sponsored study with prostate cancer patients (generating some remarkable results).  For more information about this and other cancer research studies incorporating this Yoga protocol, see details below.

The next Family Cancer Retreat is September 16-18, 2011. For more information, go to For information on Yoga classes for People with Cancer, or for private sessions, please see my Scheduled Events or email me.

Prostate cancer is generally slow-growing, and is the only cancer in which is it possible to set up a control group under “active surveillance” vs. immediate medical intervention. Results from the prostate cancer study are demonstrating that the practice of one and one-half hour of daily Yoga relaxation, more than the other lifestyle interventions of dietary changes and group support, significantly and positively effected genetic expression of 500 genes. Specifically, the impact was on increasing the length of the telomeres (the ends of chromosomes which signify molecular aging) on the “good” genes (the ones that promote health), by ONE-THIRD, while reducing the effects from “bad” genes. After being in the study, the participants, who received no other medical interventions, had 30-50 biopsies of the prostrate gland and many of them no longer showed any evidence of cancer.

This is one of several significant studies that are showing that complementary mind-body approaches, in particular Yoga, are legitimate methods in the disease treatment and prevention. Currently, several other major health institutions, such as Vanderbilt University and the Veteran's Administration in Washington, are conducting Yoga for cancer patient studies.  

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