When one is faced with a life-threatening illness, it is not uncommon for living to become chaotic. At the age of 42, Stephanie Massey was diagnosed with breast cancer. This coffee lover, wife and mom of two teens used every ounce of resiliency and strength to survive through treatments. With a large support system, excellent medical care and a positive mindset, cancer is gone for now. With this journey becoming more and more of a memory, Stephanie is thrilled to explore and live through new dreams, like her ambition to become a yoga teacher and a meditation coach. Both yoga and meditation played a vital role in Stephanie’s healing. Lending hope, inspiring with grace and giving back is her passion. Follow her journey that takes her through breast cancer treatment and beyond into a life full of abundant love.
We asked Stephanie, what experience brought you to yoga?
Although Yoga has been in my life, on and off for over 20 years, I really found it recently. In February, 2017, at the age of 42, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The physical, mental and emotional stress of diagnoses is unreal. My sister, who is a school teacher, psychotherapist and yoga teacher pushed me gently back into Yoga. Yoga and Yoga Nidra meditation became one of my best tools for healing. My Yoga practice became healing, nurturing and grounding. I practiced every moment I could. It helped me heal from surgery, accept chemotherapy and radiation therapy as a tool for healing, and allowed me to heal my cells. Currently, I have no evidence of disease. Which means treatment and healing worked!
How did you discover Yoloha and what do you love about it?
I saw Yoloha at The Toronto Yoga show in April 2018. I didn’t have the time to talk to anyone that day, but I came home and googled Yoloha. I called to talk to someone and got Chris! I thought, there is no way he will talk to me, but, we had an awesome uplifting conversation and I felt an instant connection. I come from a family with a family business, so I understand some of the challenges of making a product and getting it to market. However, the added challenge is to make a high quality product, with high integrity and superb environmental standards. Wow! Yoloha meets and exceeds these qualities. I was sold before I even tried the mat. Once I did try the mat, well seriously it is excellent, soft and not slippery at all! I just love The Aura.
What style(s) of yoga do you teach? Practice?
I try to practice all 8 limbs of Yoga in my life. When I was recovering from surgery or having high pain days from chemo, I would meditate, or just breathe. There were days I could visit and uplift a friends spirit as she was in the hospital fighting for her life from this disease. My asana practice has evolved as I have gotten stronger. I love restorative Yoga. For me, I can drop into the space of healing and re-new my spirit and my cells! I am currently in a 200 hour YTT and I am loving it! My mat is supporting me so well through YTT. I am able to keep up physically pretty well. I am aiming for a specialty as a teacher for women going through or recovering from Breast Cancer.
Other than yoga, what are your hobbies or favorite ways to spend your time?
Of course, I love to spend time with my family. I have a supportive husband of 22 years as well as a 16 year old daughter and a 14 year old son. They are my everything. We live in Southern Ontario and we love to travel. We like to spend time with close friends. We are readers and netflixers and we love to cook. My hobby throughout diagnoses and treatment has been writing. I quickly realized how much my story and experience through Breast Cancer matters to others. I began writing and started a website and a blog. I find it very rewarding when someone messages me and says that they booked their mammogram (that they have been dreading) thanks to my writing! You can read my story at www.stephiemassey.com
Do you have a favorite charity or non-profit?
YES! My favourite charity is Re-Think Breast Cancer in Toronto, Ontario. They are a grassroots organization focusing on young women with Breast Cancer. They advocate for us, educate us, nurture us as young women. Our experience as young women with breast cancer has different challenges and Re-Think speaks to that. You can read more at https://rethinkbreastcancer.com
Other than yoga, what is your favorite way to take care of yourself?
Taking care of myself throughout treatment has been my #1 priority. Seriously, everything else got put on hold. I had 2 surgeries, chemo and radiation, my medical team was amazing. I am on hormone therapy for 5 years. I also had a Naturopathic Oncologist help with my vitamins and nutrition so that I could best support my body throughout treatment. I love massage therapy and acupuncture for pain management. I love nature, specifically the beach. Walking barefoot on the sand re-chargees me. My most active form of self-care though is reducing stress at all times. I am very mindful of stress in my life and in my families life. When I recognize it I take an active role to reduce it.