Instructors Teaching Survivors

Open dialog for instructors teaching, or planning to teach, cancer survivors. Share tips, insights, ask questions and support and inspire each other!

Yogis: 33
Latest Activity: May 20, 2012

Spanish YCS

Catching up and checking in with you inspiring yogis!  It's been a while since I 'touched base' - I've been focusing on developing yoga trainings for instructors who want to teach patients and early recovered or on-going patients.  I will be teaching at Red Lotus in San Diego, August 6th - in case you're in the area.

I've also signed up to go the Yoga Alliance's first Annual Leadership conference in October, to lobby my case to develop YCS Standards for teacher training. Will I see you there? Palm Desert (gorgeous) in the Fall.

My other project has been to get the YCS cd that I made, translated into Spanish! The Universe dropped a professional translator in my lap - at an advocacy dinner in DC -

Marilyn Vicens has translated it!  Now, the audio taping - and I am aiming at Fall to have the cd's produced!  It's taken four years to get to this point...chipping step forward, two back, a balancing posture...quietly with strength, we hold our intention.


What have you been up to? What are your dreams?  Are you chipping away? Have you realized a dream?

Love and Blessings,


Discussion Forum


Hi,Im wondering about getting/giving referrals to each other, since we may be located in different neighborhoods. I have been contacted by someone in the San Fernando Valley that is interested in…Continue

Started by nancy stannard Sep 23, 2011.

Teaching Introductory Class to Yoga Teachers 8 Replies

This year,, I've committed to do things that excite and scare me. No frighten me, just give me a chance to move past some personal fears. I taught an introductory class of yoga instructors on how to…Continue

Tags: fear, facing, workshops, instructors, instructoring

Started by Jean Di Carlo-Wagner,MA,E-RYT500. Last reply by nancy stannard Jun 19, 2011.

a gem to share!

I love the information from this site. Thank you all so much! This video has helped many of my students: Warrior chest…Continue

Started by Lorien Neargarder Mar 23, 2011.

Read about Tari Prinster, survivor, yoga teacher, advocate


Tags: teaching, cancer, YB, survivors, prinster

Started by Jean Di Carlo-Wagner,MA,E-RYT500 Feb 3, 2011.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Ellyn Houston on August 4, 2011 at 8:26pm

Hello, everyone. :0) My name is Ellyn.

I've worked as a group fitness instructor for 6 years - the last four in a medical facility. I'm AFAA certified as a group fitness instructor where I teach mainstream and specialty classes. I've recently let go of my AFAA personal trainer certification to pursue a Cancer Exercise Specialist certification - for which I am currently awaiting the exam results with "calm anxiety". ;0)

I've taught yoga for four years after a 6 month intensive training by a seasoned RYT yogi when I was hired at the medical facility - and I am finally registered to begin my own RYT (250hr) this Fall.

I've met with the director of our Cancer Center and have given her my proposal to begin 12 week restorative yoga sessions with newly diagnosed/treatment/reconstruction breast cancer patients - which is still in the "approval" stages -  but is looking positive. :0)

Today was my first yoga class with a group of breast cancer survivors at the clinic. We are running a 10 week session of Cancer WellFit.

What I learned in my first teaching experience is the students are my teachers.

One woman was in the class whom I didn't recognize until three hours after the class ended. When I last saw her - before her diagnosis/treatment - she was a regular member of our gym.  A strong, determined fitness warrior. When I saw her today - she was the same.

Sadly, the changes from the illness and side effects of chemo kept me from recognizing her - in spite of the fact she recognized me. 

During the class she avoided eye contact with me. She never spoke to me unless I spoke to her. It wasn't until the dawning moment of my realization of who she was - that I understood why. She knew I should recognize her - and didn't. She didn't address me with it. She avoided it.

I see her again Tuesday. And I can't wait.

I held back on the intensity of the class today based on her presentation to me and what the "book" taught me about Chemo's side effects. What SHE taught me today as my "baptism by fire" lesson was the student teaches the teacher. NEVER prejudge. I gave a stereotypical response based on her appearance and attitude and in turn  "protected" her with a modified my yoga flow of a gentle intensity - when that was the LAST thing she needed/wanted.


Comment by Camille Kittrell, M.S. ERYT on August 18, 2010 at 9:36am
Hi, Susan...I'd be happy to offer input. I still prefer live-voice interaction (the antiquated telephone call). So much more can be conveyed. Are you open to that? Camille
Comment by Susan Basmajian, B.A., RYT on August 18, 2010 at 9:23am
Hi Camille, I am a Patient Navigator with Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Dr. Joanne Perron (a physician and bc survivor) and I will be teaching a workshop for breast cancer survivors in October in association with a local breast cancer event. As I work on the Heart Centered Restorative Practice, I would love to have your input....Namaste, Susan Ps Thanks for your response
Comment by Camille Kittrell, M.S. ERYT on August 18, 2010 at 9:09am
Dear Susan, I did get your emails, we corresponded, something came up for you, so you put off my Teacher Training, which I would be honored for you to attend. I remember a web site you're connected to, describing a new yoga program for BC Sur. The heart-centered text was authentic, no paraphrases of other programs, and the class style so appealing to someone like me who does creative yoga/stretch sequences. I'll email you. Camille Kittrell
Comment by Camille Kittrell, M.S. ERYT on August 18, 2010 at 8:59am
Dear Jean, Thanks for the welcome. I am a survivor, but not of BC. But that's another story. And, yes, in 2004, nothing much online. That year, I led my Teacher Training at a survivor-teacher's home in Missouri, because she wanted info & teaching skills so badly...and I was the only source she could find.
Comment by Susan Holbrook on August 18, 2010 at 5:12am
Dear Camille, wonderful to read your story! I am interested in your "teacher training" and had sent you an email at but it does not go through. Is there another "contact" email that would work? Looking for to being able to make contact with you, Susan Holbrook
Comment by Susan Basmajian, B.A., RYT on August 17, 2010 at 4:26pm
Welcome will be a wealth of knowledge for Yoga Bear. I am a breast cancer/TRAM flap survivor and yoga teacher. I loved your post and look forward to connecting with you.
Comment by Jean Di Carlo-Wagner,MA,E-RYT500 on August 17, 2010 at 3:47pm
Dear Camille,
Welcome to the "Instructor's Forum" and thank you for sharing your journey from survivor to teacher, to trainer! I, too, searched websites and articles in 2004 and found it challenging to connect with other instructors. We are blessed at YB to have an opportunity for on-going support and information! Thank you, again. Blessings, Jean
Comment by Camille Kittrell, M.S. ERYT on August 17, 2010 at 2:24pm
Greetings to all, and especially to the attendees of my "Teacher Training: Yoga for Breast Cancer Recovery & Beyond" who have urged me to join YogaBear (To Alicia Barry: Here I Am, Finally)!

2010 Upcoming Trainings:
Waltham, MA Aug 28-29
Corpus Christie, TX Oct 8-9
SF, CA Dec dates TBD Recovery Level II Class filmed 8/6/10
Features Lymph Drainage Sequence, Dynamic Yoga Asanas to Increase ROM & Rebuild Strength, Post-Reconstruction Healing Movement; web link coming soon.

My Story: My work with women facing breast cancer began in 1998. Then, the local recovery exercise and healing resources for survivors was so minimal, so inadequate, that I found it downright shameful considering Boston is a medical mecca of world-renowned hospitals.

Online, too, there was barely anything. For years and years, I would check every week or so, sometimes for hours at a time, for links to yoga and breast cancer. On the rare occasions that my online searches led to another instructor involved in recovery yoga, often in faraway states like North Dakota or Mississippi, I'd fire off an email and we'd bond like a hummingbird to nectar. Each of us nourished by our sharings as cancer-specialty teachers, so rare back then.

In the ensuing years, I became an advocate for all types of cancer recovery therapies. My reputation as an expert instructor with 20 years of experience, plus a strong higher education background, helped me to join the medical community as a Workshop Presenter at Massachusetts General Hospital, Lahey Clinic, Dana Farber, and other esteemed hospitals.

In 2003, I founded Exclusive Yoga Studio, a wonderful oasis for the newly diagnosed, as well as survivors years beyond. My uniquely graceful, yoga-based rehab program earned a reputation among oncology physical therapists and social workers as a very effectve, soothingly beautiful form of rehabilitation.

That same year, I was recognized as a "pioneer in mind/body exercise for cancer survivors" by Beth Israel Deaconess and Harvard Medical School--not only for my recovery classes, but also for my aforementioned "Teacher Training."

Media attention continues to come my way, which means I tell my story over and over. I don't sugarcoat what it is like to do what I do. And I don't think a business that's centered around yoga for breast cancer survivors is a wise choice if you need first to know your bills will be paid before you can sleep soundly. If you check out the free "Testimonials" vignette on the upcoming YogaVibes film of my Recovery II Class, you'll see why I'm still here doing what I do.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have executed more business acumen. I was urged early on (2001) by the now-deceased NYC elite trainer Annie Toglia, who designed the first-of-its-kind "Staying Abreast" rehabilitation exercise program, to protect my methods. I did long ago copyright my Teacher Training Manual, albeit begrudingly and only at the urging of a savvy client to whom I naively cooed, "It's about breast cancer for karma's sake!" I guess a copyright does establish a time frame for the creation of an "intellectual property".

But it hasn't fully protected my web site content, which I put online in 2003, including my "Teacher Training" description.

Nonetheless, the universe continues to send me marvelous people seeking my premier training, my recovery classes, my advice, my support, my feedback, or perhaps just a hug and a beam of hope.
As the respected and outspoken journalist Linda Ellerbee used to say at the close of her outstanding TV news show, "And so it goes...." Camille
Comment by Jean Di Carlo-Wagner,MA,E-RYT500 on July 19, 2010 at 3:52pm
Dear Tar,
Another excellent resource for teachers, additional training, even if we are cancer survivors, adds to our confidence as yoga teachers. Please keep reminding us of the dates and places, the more we hear, the more we know.
Blessings! Gratitude for your service and ability to share with others. Jean

Yogis (33)


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