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  • Sarah Waara

Yoga Connection: Making a difference for cancer survivors


Yoga Connection class at Ascension SE Wisconsin - Mayfair Road

Cancer is a disease that not only attacks the body, it also has an overwhelming impact on a patient’s mind and spirit.


While treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery treat the physical components of cancer, the mental and spiritual impact still lingers — even during remission.


Ascension Wisconsin Foundation recognizes the importance of addressing these important aspects of disease management. In recent months, Yoga Connection, an 8-week yoga session specifically designed for cancer survivors at any stage, has extended its offerings to Ascension All Saints Hospital and Ascension NE Wisconsin - St. Elizabeth Campus while remaining at Ascension SE Wisconsin - Mayfair Road in Wauwatosa. The sessions are also available to caregivers.


“Yoga Connection helps with physical fitness, but it also has the potential to reduce anxiety, depression and stress which works to improve mental health and quality of life,” said Kayla Thorne, Cancer Prevention, Wellness and Survivorship Coordinator for Ascension Wisconsin. “The specially-designed class instruction can also improve sleep, energy and confidence.”


Yoga Connection, a program funded thanks to donor generosity to Ascension Wisconsin Foundation, follows an 8-week format with classes meeting once a week. The classes have gentle stretching to improve range of motion, guided meditation and breathwork, relaxation techniques, and more.


All classes are taught by yoga instructors that are specifically certified to work with cancer survivors, which allows for a safe and comfortable environment. The instructors understand the physical, emotional and additional challenges that impact those who are touched by cancer and are able to modify movements whenever necessary.


Feedback from former participants show just that:


“This is an excellent program that has helped both me as a caregiver and my wife as a patient by reducing joint pain. Many patients undergoing chemo would surely benefit from this class.”


“For the first time in months, I was able to rise from bed relatively pain-free.”


“I am so thankful for this class. I come in so loaded down and leave feeling relieved and renewed.”


“Yoga Connection is my ‘me time’ to keep me healthy so I can care for my husband.”


“This class is a great way to get out, make friends and do something normal again after having surgery.”


While the classes are free for participants, donations are encouraged to ensure the program can sustain a regular cadence. For more information on Yoga Connection, please contact Kayla Thorne at kayla.thorne@ascension.org or visit the Ascension Wisconsin cancer survivorship program website.


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