Tari Prinster is a cancer survivor, master yoga teacher, celebrated author and founder of yoga4cancer (y4c) and the Retreat Project, which bring specialized yoga to cancer survivors worldwide.
When Tari was fifty, she started a yoga practice to ease symptoms of menopause. After a diagnosis of breast cancer, yoga became a powerful tool for her to manage the daily challenges of treatment side effects. More than a way to stay healthy, yoga gave her a community and the emotional support and spiritual comfort so necessary for recovery and beyond.
The challenge of cancer led to life change. Research about cancer and yoga was in its infancy in 2000. Tari got curious why yoga was so healing for her, but not recommended by her doctors. Cancer patients were told to “go home and rest.” She read widely, including both classic Eastern texts and Western science about anatomy and movement.
Tari discovered that yoga poses and sequences had to be tailored to survivor needs and that conventional thinking in yoga as well as Western medicine had to change. Yoga teachers and health care providers need to be educated about cancer, the immune system, and the benefits of yogic movement and breathing. And teachers and providers need to talk openly and honestly about cancer with their students.
Today, the vision Tari developed with her team has deepened and diversified. Her organization has trained over two thousand yoga teachers here and abroad, and provided help to tens of thousands of survivors. Recent trainings were requested in Japan and Germany, and Tari’s book has been translated into Spanish. Scholarship funds to support diversity are raised from corporate foundations like Lululemon as well as private donors. She was featured in the film YogaWoman and regularly presents at Yoga Journal and other industry conferences.
Tari believes it is never too late to start, never too late to change. In her words, “Yoga made me feel younger and stand straighter. I sleep better, my weight is good, and my bones are strong.”
Tari’s best-selling book, Yoga for Cancer: A Guide to Managing Side Effects, Boosting Immunity, and Improving Recovery for Cancer Survivors, , is an illustrated guide for cancer survivors (and friends and family) to manage recovery and promote long-term health. y4c methodology integrates Eastern traditions like yoga with contemporary Western science, deeply informed by Tari’s personal experience as a survivor and master teacher. 53 poses and 20 sequences use movement and breathing to reduce and manage cancer treatment side effects. Go to y4c.com/books.
- “What Yoga Teachers Need to Know about Teaching Cancer Survivors.” Kripalu Magazine, 2016.
- “Navigating Cancerland with Yoga, Yoga Therapy Today, 2015.
Honors and Awards
- International Association of Yoga Therapy certification
- First Annual Seva Leadership Award by Yoga Journal, 2015
- Give Back Yoga Foundation sponsorship
- Kripalu 1000 specialty program faculty
- Yoga Ambassador, Foundation for Living Beauty