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How yoga helped me on my cancer journey

I would like to share an experience or “journey” with you that means a great deal to myself and hopefully helps others in their quest for calm, inner peace, self-belief and general well-being.

I started yoga at the beginning of 2016 with an attitude of just seeing what it would be like. I have competed in a range of sports at international level over the years and thought, “it’s only yoga in a hot room, it can’t be that hard” …. I was so wrong!

The first class I took with Ian was a completely new experience for me. I struggled to stretch, hold the poses and well…everything! I gained so much respect for this practice, the instructor and the intense yet satisfying workout that I received. I slept like a baby and became hooked on my new-found workout method. I became a regular in Ian’s classes.

I found myself becoming more agile, detoxed, mentally and physically relaxed and I became more focused on the positive aspects of life, rather than letting small things worry me. I put this down to Ian, who is unbelievable in his instruction, his confidence and spiritual ways. Not to mention the quotes he throws in during class which I still remember and focus on…."let things go, don’t look back you’re not heading in that direction”, these gave me goose bumps as I totally got his vibe, as did the others in the class, I’m sure.

Of the many quotes that Ian spoke of which means the most to me is “listen to your body whisper before it starts to scream”. This has rung true to me and my own personal experience that I want to share with you in hope that it may help others in the pursuit of good health and well being.

During the first half of the year I found that I was needing to go to the toilet more regularly than usual, I felt stomach cramps, and I felt tired. I thought “it’s just a stomach bug” …. typical guy thing I guess. I had lost 8 kilos and thought it’s the hot yoga and a good diet (I’m sure that helped). I told my partner who is a theatre nurse…. who said “go and see a doctor”. After visiting the doctor and getting blood tests I was told “you have a clean bill of health” … I had a tear in my eye as I left the doctors happy, admittedly I was had been concerned.

Not long after I celebrated my fiftieth and I was sent the National Bowel Screen Test (you know the pack that almost everyone can’t be bothered doing!). For some reason I did the test and within a week I was visiting the doctor and they had me booked in for a colonoscopy.

My nightmare began when I had the colonoscopy, they found Cancer. To be told this is horrific enough, then to be told “X” amount of years to live was worse. I didn’t really hear the part of the sentence that they said “without treatment”. Suddenly my world changed, my work, my sport, recreation, hobbies and yes even yoga. I freaked out and felt terrified. I was dreaming planning my funeral.

You never know how strong you are until you must be strong, is another quote I value. I eventually accepted the facts and overcame the initial grief to have an “I’ve got this” attitude.

Immediately I was being scanned for more cancer. I had CAT scans, PET scans, MRI scans and surgery to insert markers into my liver (yes, they found some shadows in my liver as well) this was one of the most painful experiences that I have ever had. I was put through some extremely emotional, very painful and daunting situations including an overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia during the scans.

The yoga classes that I had been doing all year really came to the fore during this time. Ian had taught me to breathe properly and to release negative energy. I could control my emotions, relax and focus on the positive, be calm and not worry about what hasn’t happened.

Ian is amazing and he has unknowingly helped me on my journey. I have only just managed to go back and do a class of Ian’s in which again inspired me to be strong and positive. He has helped me conquer a lot of physical and mental emotions. It is part of my journey to success and I can’t thank him enough for being so inspirational and helping me cope during this time.

He has changed my outlook on life for the best, I am grateful for what I have and what people like Ian do for all of us. I look forward to more classes!!

Remember to “listen to your body whisper before it starts to scream”.



Michael Montgomerie.

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