A young man named Richie is using yoga as a part of his healing process after being diagnosed with cancer.  The journey of Richie’s yoga testimonial is shared here from the perspective of one of his most dedicated yoga teachers, Julian Garcia.  Julian shared a powerful yoga talk “Healing with Richie” at the Yoga Talk @ One Fire Hot Yoga Festival event that took place on March 30 in Bethesda, Maryland (D.C.) and left a memorable impact on all in attendance.  This testimonial is truly amazing- please share the yoga love and join the movement to heal the world!

“Four years ago, Richie Smith was diagnosed with Stage 4 Brain Cancer at the age of (18). Richie immediately underwent emergency surgery the day after the diagnosis. One (1) of the two (2) tumors applied intense pressure/stretching of the nerves that resulted in a loss of immobilization of the use of the left-side of his body. Richie started Bikram yoga in January 2016. In order to practice Richie requires physical assistance from another person – to be placed in yoga postures. During the month of September 2016, I worked with Richie Smith to complete a 30-day Bikram Yoga Challenge. We tracked the neuromuscular changes throughout the month. During the practice Richie requires an assistant or two to help move his left arm and leg, therefore we developed a manual for Richie to allow him to modify his postures to receive more benefit from his effort.

Here are some of the results from our 30-day challenge:

1. Postural stability was assessed with the iPod on the side of the hip. Standing Balance with eyes open improved by 36% in the anterior-posterior direction and improved by 27.3% in the medial-lateral direction. This would mean a reduced chance of falling.

2. Explosive power of the knee extensors (quadriceps) was measured with the iPod on the lower leg during a seated unloaded kicking task. Richie showed an impressive improvement in leg power; 148% increase for the right leg, and 181% increase for the left (more affected) leg. This change would translate into a greater ability to catch himself during a trip or stumble.

3. Chair rising power was measured with the iPod on the side of the hip during a five repetition sit-to-stand test. The average time for one chair rise improved from 1.65 s to 1.14 s, a 31% improvement. The total time for five sit-to-stands improved by 34%. This should translate into better mobility and independent transfer ability.

4. Arm control was measured with the shoulder abducted to 90 degrees and the iPod attached to the upper arm. The amplitude of the fluctuations in three axes improved by 24.3%. This is an indication of neural adaptations that led to better control of the muscles by the brain.

5. Walking ability was measured over a 3-meter path while the iPod was capturing step by step timing. The number of steps necessary to cover 3 meters was reduced 38%, from 16 to 10. The average step length increased 3.2 fold. The gait speed increased from 0.139 m/s to 0.505 m/s, a dramatic 3.6 fold increase. Total time to complete the 3 meter walk was reduced from 21.6 s to 5.94 s.

Walking ability is key to physical function, is an important marker of neurological function, and is critical for mobility and independence. More confidence during walking can lead to greater physical activity and less fear of falling. Additionally and most importantly, I am thrilled to report that after (4) years with brain cancer Richie is now in remission.”

– Julian (JJ) Garcia

Together we will make a difference and heal the world with yoga!



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