Breast Cancer Survivor Bonnie Randall Champions Yoga for Grief Management

How does one survive breast cancer, plus the illness of one child and the death of another? For Bonnie Randall the answer is yoga.

Eight years after Randall’s own diagnosis with breast cancer, her son died. Four years before, her daughter had fought a difficult battle with an aggressive form of leukemia. But through her yoga practice, Randall has been able to manage her grief.

She is one of the many people who has discovered the power of yoga for cancer. “It’s tragic that people have to suffer the way we do,” she told the Cambridge Chronicle, “but the bottom line is, the important place is inside and yoga can get you there over and over again. The more you do it, the deeper you are able to get. It’s profound.”

After her daughter’s illness, Randall decided she wanted to do something to help alleviate the stress of other parents with sick children. She graduated from the Jon Kabat-Zinn mindfulness program in Worcester, Mass., and began to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital of Boston doing stress-relief exercises for parents. She has remained there for ten years.

Additionally, Randall teaches six yoga classes per week at an adult education center and at the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. In addition to stress relief, her practice specializes in easily-modified poses for people with particular weaknesses and health problems, such as those interested in yogic breathing for cancer patients.

Through yoga, Randall has found her own way to beat cancer and find peace. “Looking back, sometimes it’s hard to believe I’ve had to deal with what I’ve had to deal with,” she said. “I’ve released so much of those emotions I’ve been holding onto for so long.”

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