by Laura Kim and H. Chung So
Biomedical research requires extensive resources, and in challenging economic times, institutions continue to search for creative ways to raise much-needed funds. City of Hope’s Yoga for Hope program has found increasing success while providing health-minded fun and education for participants.
|Yoga for Hope participants enjoy a gentle workout while supporting City of Hope. (Photo by Ken Conz)|
Since its inception in 2009, Yoga for Hope has grown from a local event in Seattle to include events in San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix, and organizers aim to extend its reach to other U.S. cities, as well. The program has raised more than $130,000 for research, treatment and education at City of Hope.
Yoga for Hope events recruit locally known yoga instructors to educate communities about the spiritual, mental and physical benefits of yoga while raising support and awareness for City of Hope.
Lisa Considine, associate vice president of development, helped establish Yoga for Hope. She is a cancer survivor and avid yoga student who believes yoga can benefit patients by imparting a sense of peace and serenity.
“As a survivor of multiple myeloma, I feel yoga will always have a significant role in my lifestyle and my lifelong recovery process,” said Considine. “I’m grateful for the way that yoga has allowed me to take control of my health and well-being.”
Several scientific studies have shown that exercise helps reduce cancer risk, and evidence continues to grow. City of Hope researchers are exploring the role of exercise, including yoga, in cancer prevention.
“Recent studies have confirmed that increased physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer,” said Katherine Henderson, Ph.D., assistant research professor in the Division of Cancer Etiology. “While we are working to study this relationship further, we are happy to say that a woman can modify or maintain her physical activity to decrease her breast cancer risk.”
At City of Hope’s Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center, yoga classes provide patients and caregivers a way to help manage the emotional and physical process of treatment and recovery.
“Our yoga program has had a remarkably positive impact on our patients and families by helping to relieve joint pain, stress and fatigue,” said Linda Klein, operations manager in the Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. “Patients are empowered because they experience their bodies as being capable and reliable again. They develop an instant camaraderie, too; they share experiences and realize they are not alone. The benefits extend beyond the class, with breathing and meditation techniques to help relieve anxiety while undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, or when preparing for surgery.”
Considine concurred and expressed her hope that the Yoga for Hope program would continue to grow and benefit more patients.
“By expanding the Yoga for Hope program, we can help City of Hope teach communities about yoga’s lifelong benefits while supporting vital research,” she said.
For more information about Yoga for Hope, please visit www.yogaforhope.org.