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Cancer survivor describes how yoga helped her recovery and changed her life

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A cancer survivor has shared how yoga helped her through her recovery and led to a new way of life.

Ellen Cullen, from Wallasey, Wirral, told the ECHO how her breast cancer diagnosis gave her family “quite a shock” because she had always been fit and healthy and had no symptoms or lump.

But a routine mammogram appointment in 2014 found cancer in her right breast, which required surgery to remove her lymph nodes followed by radiotherapy.

The 61-year-old mother-of-two lost mobility in her right arm following her operation and turned to yoga to help her regain movement.

Ellen, who has two grandchildren, credits yoga with helping her arm heal but says it also enabled her to flourish mentally.

“It wasn’t just my arm that was healing,” she said. “I found yoga had helped me centre myself, helped me let go of the tension.

“It left me feeling stronger within and in my body.”

Ellen went on to train as a yoga instructor after receiving the all clear from cancer and now runs her own classes where she combines the practice with mindfulness and counselling as part of her business Life-Shift.

She said: “Yoga changes you from the inside out. My favourite quote is one by Yung Pueblo who said ‘I knew I was on the right path when I started to feel peace in situations where I would normally feel tension’.

“It therefore gave me clarity and coupled with lockdown kick-started a period of deep reflection whereby I became clear sighted on what I really wanted to do next in my life – hence Life-Shift was born, and I began to set up my own business.

“I will be forever grateful to yoga for helping me to beat cancer and find my new chapter in life.”

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