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Kripalu Guest Stories: Amy K.

Amy K.

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I participated in the Kripalu Fitness and Yoga Retreat two weeks prior to a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. Before arriving, I was a mess! Here I was, an otherwise healthy 42-year-old with the same genetic mutation that caused my mother’s death at 41 years old as well as the early deaths of several great-aunts and cousins from ovarian or breast cancer. The decision-making process regarding surgery, the doctors’ appointments, and the preparations for my medical leave from work had left me filled with fear and loss—I was so unbelievably stressed, and the pressure was just building and building.

The Fitness and Yoga Retreat changed all that. By the end of the week, I was strong—physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was introduced to yoga, both on the mat and while hiking, and I now have a regular practice at home that I love. I learned breathing techniques to help calm and center me before and after surgery. I connected with other people in the group and really bonded with a fellow participant. And I even gave up my diet-soda habit!

One of the biggest things that has stuck with me since the program is just how movement—exercise, being physically active, losing yourself in these fun physical activities—has such a great impact on my body, mind, and spirit. It became clear in a new way that being physically active can help me emotionally.

My experience at Kripalu helped me approach my decisions and my surgery with such a positive outlook. The strength and inner reserves I developed through this program turned my surgery and recovery into an easy and life-affirming experience. I felt—and still feel—so good and self-confident. It strengthened my body, but it also strengthened my spirit.

Since the Fitness Retreat and my first surgery, I have returned to Kripalu to learn yogic techniques that I am now incorporating into my work as a pediatric occupational therapist. I also did a few days of Retreat and Renewal before a second surgery—and was again amazed at how good I felt post-surgery.

Thank you all!

—Amy K., pediatric occupational therapist, Cincinnati, Ohio