A SURVIVOR of breast cancer has spoken of how she used yoga to help her recover from a double mastectomy.
Faringdon resident Loueze Miller, 52, turned to yoga to deal with the aftermath of her treatment in 2007.
The mother-of-one has set up a business in South Street, Osney Island, Oxford. and is teaching classes to people who have been through similar health battles.
Mrs Miller, who has practised yoga for years, was living in Oxford in 2007 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
In the same year, she underwent a double mastectomy in the Churchill Hospital’s Jane Ashley Women’s Centre.
She said: “It was a major operation and there were huge complications, which meant my recovery was particularly difficult.”
“A procedure which should have taken four hours instead took 12. I was in intensive care for a short period afterwards.
“But through all that pain I remember being on the ward, surrounded by all these other women who were going through the same things, and I could see the distress and it was so sad. I kept wishing that I could help them, because of the kind of serenity I felt, because of the breathing work I was using, which took a lot of the fear away from the whole experience.”
Even while going down to the operating theatre, she added, the meditation techniques had helped.
But it was in recovery that it was most important.
Mrs Miller said: “When I came round I obviously felt completely different, like an elephant was sat on my chest, and I had to learn to pace myself and take a step back.
“I also started doing little movements and techniques to aid my recovery so I wasn’t just lying there for six days.
“Physically, when you have your breasts removed as a female that is huge.
“You keep wondering if you will ever feel like a woman again and there are lots of different things going on in your mind.
“I was able to detach myself.
“Yoga helped me realise that it doesn’t matter what issue or disability you have, that is not you and you can get through it.
“But it’s not easy. You have to keep practising and teach yourself.”
She has taught since January last year in her new studio owned by her friend Lisa Park, an osteopath.
Now she is teaching yoga as a way of dealing with difficult experiences in life such as cancer, brain injuries, or age-related illnesses.
The classes are open to all.
She said: “Having gone through difficult things myself, I feel like I can empathise with a lot of people.
“That helps in situations where people may feel insecure about not being able to do certain movements.”
For more information, call 07773 277650 or visit innersenseyoga.co.uk