Yoga teacher Anjali Rao distinctly remembers her breast cancer diagnosis at 37. “I remember the call that came from the doctor’s office after my first mammogram. He said the test showed microcalcifications and early stage breast cancer,” says Anjali.
Anjali had decided to test early at her doctor’s recommendation because of her family history. After consulting with a few doctors she opted for a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. “It was a rather radical choice but I made it keeping in mind my young age and young family.”
Anjali attended her first yoga class while recovering from her surgeries. After the class, she knew something had shifted. “I wanted to share yoga with other people going through cancer diagnosis and treatment.” A year after her first yoga class, she took her first yoga teacher training.
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In 2018, Anjali completed her 500 hour YTT and an apprenticeship with Lorien Neargarder, her mentor and now friend, who specializes in teaching yoga for cancer patients. Soon, Anjali started teaching gentle yoga to patients and survivors at cancer care programs. “I have learned as much—if not more—from those I have taught; about life and living, about grief and gratitude, about little joys and big victories, whether that’s celebrating the end of someone’s chemo or going back to work, or taking a family vacation.”