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Dubai: Cancer survivor uses life lessons to become oncologist yoga instructor – News


Lebanese expat Jessica shared her experience at an event organized by Majlis Al Amal

Photos: supplied

Published: Saturday, October 7, 2023, 6:00 am

Moving to the UAE after surviving breast cancer, Lebanese expat Jessica was going through a rough patch when she saw an advert for a yoga teacher training course in Bali. “In my mind, I felt like I had found a purpose,” she said. “So I just packed my bags and left.”

Today, Jessica is on her way to becoming an oncologist yoga instructor, after leaving her full-time job at her family’s business.

Designed especially to help those who have suffered from cancer, oncology yoga adapts its words and techniques to suit those suffering from the disease.

Jessica was one of several women who shared their experiences at an event organized by Majlis Al Amal, with October being breast cancer awareness month. Celebrating the resilience and transformation of women, it was a platform for women from all walks of life to share the experience of her beating the big C.

Guilt for cancer

Jessica said one of the hardest things for her to experience was guilt. “Many people, including me, feel guilty that they gave themselves cancer by not eating or exercising properly,” she said. “There are a lot of mental issues related to cancer that aren’t talked about much.”

According to her, yoga became especially important to her after understanding its importance in the lives of patients. “It’s one of the activities that prevents cancer from coming back,” she said. “It gives mental clarity and helps patients with mental guilt type.”

She said oncology yoga will help her better care for cancer patients. “It’s about the words we use, the mantras we say and the poses we do,” she said. “For example, we would never say the words ‘corpse pose’ to cancer patients. Additionally, many of them may have surgery scars, which means they cannot perform certain postures. “So, we modified it to meet their needs.”

Family support

Jessica was about to move to the United Arab Emirates to be with her family when she received her diagnosis. She considers herself lucky that her mother was with her throughout the trip. “My mother really understood me and she gave me the space she needed while she supported me,” she said. “She never made me feel like she had an illness. She used to drive myself to go to chemotherapy and back.”

Jessica highlighted how important it was to have the support of friends or family during the trip. “That is why a place like Majlis Al Amal becomes so important,” she said. “There are many people here fighting cancer but they are far from their families. They can build their support group through Majlis Al Amal.”

The free walk-in service offers counseling and various other services to cancer patients.


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