Pink Power

Posted October 3, 2016

Irini Res, Ailey Extension yoga instructor, has survived cancer, twice. In 1995, Irini was in her 40s when she received a diagnosis of stage 2B breast cancer. The prognosis was devastating as the cancer had started to spread to vital organs and required invasive treatments. She was given a 40% chance for survival.

“If it wasn’t for my yoga and my dance,” Irini explained “I couldn’t have made it. I worked hard to pull myself together and get my mind in the right place. Yoga and ballet put me back on track.”

“In 2005, I felt it again,” Irini shared. When she told a doctor at a follow up appointment, he suggested it was only scar tissue. Listening to her intuition, she got a second opinion and her dark suspicions were confirmed.

Irini strengthened her focus on movement and continued with yoga and ballet. “It was the only thing I could do. You have no control over anything but yourself.” Irini explained how she endured more chemo therapy which was nearly unbearable.

Today, treatments are less harsh. “We’re going to see an end to this, we will. It will become a memory.” However, breast cancer is still very much a threat today. And that is what this annual initiative is all about.

“Don’t ignore the symptoms, if you’re tired and you’re tired for too long, your body is fighting against something. […] Just check it out. Don’t be afraid.” Irini encourages women to know their bodies and be proactive. She is a pillar of support for her students who are enduring this brave battle. “You too can survive!”

While non-impact classes may be easiest for women and men being treated for breast cancer, Irini suggests that people find any class that works for them.

“Don’t withdraw, get out there and be the warrior” she says referencing a yoga pose. Irini also created modified positions for her yoga classes for students of any age, experience, and energy level. “Give your body and organs the space to thrive ‒ that’s going to keep you strong.”

At 66, our Ailey yoga guru Irini is here to show people the light. “Movement allows you to empower yourself. If you are able to get through the class, whether it’s Zumba, ballet, or yoga, you can find balance. That is your power fight off this horrible illness.”

Irini teaches Power Hour Yoga on Wednesdays at 8pm and Power Ashtanga Yoga on Sundays at 5pm.

Interviews conducted by and blog article written by PennyMaria Jackson.


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