YJ People's Choice Seva Award scholarship nominee, Good Karma Awards
Founder, Yoga4Cancer and Retreat Project
New York City, New York
When Tari Prinster was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 56, she couldn’t have been more surprised: Two days earlier, she had won a cross-country ski race for her age group, and cancer was not on her agenda. Nor was the way she felt as a patient: The treatments weakened her health, strength, and happiness, and she didn’t feel like “taking it easy,” as the doctors suggested.
The other thing she realized: Yoga was her best prescription for wellness. It helped her deal with the side effects of cancer treatments and gave her the emotional support and spiritual comfort that she needed.
After her recovery in 2003, Tari wanted to share the gift of yoga with other survivors and learn why it has been so effective. She became a certified teacher, started offering free classes to cancer survivors, and researched everything she could about yoga and cancer. This was the birth of her methodology and ultimately her teacher-training program to help other compassionate yoga teachers effectively and efficiently work with cancer patients and survivors. “My dream is that Western medical professionals and hospitals recognize that yoga taught by specially trained and specifically certified yoga teachers is the final prescription a cancer patient/survivor needs in his or her healing process,” Tari says. “They can prescribe yoga for life, yoga for all the lifelong side effects that will be there, regardless of whether the cancer is not.”
Today, Tari’s businesses—yoga4cancer and the Retreat Project, a nonprofit dedicated to underserved and low-income women who are cancer survivors—help thousands of cancer survivors. And with her recent best-selling book Yoga for Cancer: A Guide to Managing Side Effects, Boosting Immunity, and Improving Recovery for Cancer Survivors, she’s on the path to helping more.