Recently, I was asked if our yoga4cancer classes in New York City are women only. ‘Good question!’ I responded, and ‘Thanks for asking.’ This gives me the opportunity to clarify my approach and my working policy for our classes.
First, a little history is needed. In 2003, I started a yoga class for women breast cancer survivors at OMyoga under the sponsorship of a foundation whose mission was to support women only programs. Within the first few years, we extended the program to help women beyond those suffering from breast cancer. For many years the classes continued under the title: OMyoga for Women Cancer Survivors, WCS. Two years ago when OMyoga closed the doors of its studio in Manhattan, I knew our yoga classes must continue but in a new form. This was the birth of yoga4cancer.
In setting the foundation for yoga4cancer, I knew I wanted to help as many survivors as possible – no matter race, gender, creed or background. Cancer doesn’t distinguish, why should we?! It seemed appropriate to offer them to all cancer patients and survivors. Plus in the 10 years since the inception of the program, more men were interested in learning & participating in our classes and in yoga in general. Many men had become teachers within the y4c family and using our principles everyday to heal. So I didn’t want to exclude any type of cancer or person it effects. Cancer is not gender specific and yoga is beneficial to all, male or female. Our instructors and classes are capable of helping anyone no matter the type of stage or type of cancer – male or female.
That being said, like most yoga classes, whatever style or specialty, the number of women usually outnumbers the number of men participating. So it often appears as if only women attend y4c classes. But in fact, we welcome all cancer survivors of both genders and all races to y4c classes. Spread the word. Bring your male friends to class!