Science tells us that psychological stress can affect the immune system – the body’s defense against infection and disease, including cancer. Reducing stress benefits us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Smith Center offers therapeutic yoga weekly, as well as regular yoga workshops, meditation and qigong classes, and more.
Ongoing Therapeutic Yoga Classes
Weekly gentle yoga classes are open to anyone interested in attending. They are specifically designed for adults facing stress, cancer, or other illness. Learn various techniques to help reduce stress and balance mind, body and spirit. Restorative Yoga focuses on relaxing the body in restful postures. Note that ‘rest’ is different than sleep. Rest provides the body an opportunity to renew and heal. Enjoy a greater sense of wellbeing and enhanced energy. All levels welcome.
Our yoga classes are listed with the National MS Society and we welcome patients and caregivers of those with multiple sclerosis to our gentle yoga classes.
Weekly on Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00pm,
with Beth Lawrence, RYT500
$10/session or $25/month
-Our chair yoga practice will connect body and mind. You are invited to relax deeply as we move through a series of gentle seated and supported poses that promote self-care. All levels welcome.
Monthly on Wednesdays, 4:45-5:30pm,
with Cathrine Nelson, RYT200
-Lying on a yoga mat with blankets for support, or sitting comfortably in a chair, you are invited to rest while being guided into a state of deep relaxation, the aim of which is to quiet the mind, relieve mental and physical stress, and to guide you to come home to yourself.
Wake-Up Morning Stretch
Weekly on Wednesdays, 8:00-9:00am,
with Terry Conroy, RYT500
$10/session or $25/month
-This yoga class combines gentle yoga postures, including some extended holds, to awaken your mind, body and spirit, and prepare you for your day. You will be asked to focus on how each posture feels in your body, bringing mindful awareness to your practice. All levels welcome.
Gentle PM Yoga
Weekly on Tuesdays, 6:00-7:15pm,
with Yael Flusberg, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, RMT, MS
$10/session or $25/month
-This yoga class encourages a greater sense of well-being and enhanced energy. You will learn various yoga postures, techniques in progressive relaxation, breathing practices, and meditation to help reduce stress, as well as balance mind, body, and spirit. The class is designed specifically for adults facing stress, cancer, or other illness and is open to anyone interested in attending. All levels welcome.
- Whether you are new to yoga or an experienced yoga practitioner, this class is for anyone touched by cancer, including caregivers, family & friends.
Once registered, you will receive a Zoom invite to join the day of class. An invitation will be sent around 20 minutes before the start time of class.
NOTE: If you are experiencing any difficulties on the day of class, please email info@2Unstoppable.org (please check your Spam folder just in case the Zoom email got delivered there instead of your inbox).
Register through our Programs Calendar or call us at 202.483.8600
About Beth Lawrence, RYT500
Beth discovered yoga in early 2002 as a mother of six-month-old twins. She was looking to get back into shape after their birth. In yoga, she found far more than she anticipated- an age-old practice designed to help people relieve stress- both mental and physical. After a few years of regular practice, she knew she wanted to share her positive experiences with others. She has been leading yoga classes in the DC area since 2007 after completing her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Nth Degree Yoga with Martha Rosen. In 2011, she went back to earn her RYT500. Her personal practice is inspired by Integral Yoga and Sivananda Yoga, both of which incorporate body and mind into the practice.
About Cathrine Nelson, RYT200
Cathrine is a 200-hour Hatha Yoga teacher. Further training in Yoga for trauma has led her to offer Yoga and Yoga Nidra to patients with PTSD and cancer in a hospital setting. Daily she sees how the power of Yoga Nidra brings peace and tranquility to herself and to others.
About Cathryn Pethick,AA, AYS, C-IAYT
Cathryn Pethick,AA, AYS, C-IAYT is a certified yoga therapist and teacher, Ayurveda specialist, and professional chef- whole foods cooking and nutrition instructor. She shares those skills with private clients through her own Well-Being, founded in 2012, and is on staff with Maryland University of Integrative Health’s Masters in Nutrition degree program. At Smith Center, Cathryn teaches cooking and nutrition classes, gentle yoga, and contributes to Smith Center’s wonderful integrative cancer support retreats as chef and yoga therapist. She has decades of experience in diverse culinary settings, practicing/teaching yoga from a therapeutic perspective, meditation, and the study of Ayurveda, diverse spiritual and philosophical traditions, and Oriental healing/martial arts. Cathryn shares the intention of nourishing well-being for us individually and as a collective with yoga, meditation and food-as-medicine, by cultivating the healing power of balance, optimal nutrition that supports our vitality, and compassionate presence that nurtures us all.
About Yael Flusberg, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, RMT, MS
Yael Flusberg first came to yoga hoping she could get rid of stuff, namely the ways life’s stresses and traumas had become painfully embodied. Fifteen years and thousands of layers of release later, yoga continues to teach her how to make strategic, creative, and life-nourishing choices. Trained as an integrative yoga therapist, Yael’s classes blend active with receptive states of being, and are both insightful and lighthearted. Off the mat, she is a coach, writer and energy therapist. Since 2005, Yael has taught yoga classes at area hospitals, libraries, workplaces, schools, and yoga studios. As an integrative yoga therapist (E-RYT500) she facilitates both group and individual yoga therapy sessions, working with people dealing with a variety of conditions including cancer, digestive disorders, diabetes, eating disorders, fibromyalgia, hypertension, mental health challenges (including depression, anxiety, grief and trauma), rheumatoid arthritis, scoliosis, and sports injuries. She currently teaches a weekly therapeutic class for people living with cancer and their caregivers on GW’s campus. More info: https://yaelflusberg.com/
About Terry Conroy, RYT500
Terry Conroy has been a yoga practitioner for over 15 years, and a yoga teacher for over 10 years. Terry’s teaching provides a combination of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga postures appropriate for any body type or physical condition. Terry believes that yoga is about what you can do, not what you can’t. Her goal is to help others feel grounded, strong, and confident. Her yoga specialties are chair, gentle mat, and yin. Her motto is, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” Terry is certified in Yoga4Cancer, Yoga4Trauma, and Yoga Nidra.
Stress Reduction and Integrative Health
Countless studies have proven the physical and emotional benefits of including stress reduction as part of an approach to optimal wellness. Additionally, Smith Center’s yoga classes are listed with the National MS Society and we welcome patients and caregivers of those with multiple sclerosis to our gentle yoga classes.
Restorative yoga, as well as other forms of yoga, meditation, and other techniques, help to trigger the Parasympathetic Nervous System, also known as the PNS. The PNS is responsible for balancing the body and bringing its response system back into equilibrium. Stimulating the PNS helps to lower heart rate and blood pressure; it helps to healthily stimulate the immune system and keep the endocrine system operating healthily.
When this system gets out of whack, or when the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) gets over-stimulated, the PNS helps to bring all back in balance. It is believed that if the PNS is tapped out or under-active, illness pervades. Thus, forms of relaxation, such as yoga and meditation, that help to stimulate the PNS are generally beneficial for overall body health.
David Spiegel, MD, author of Living Beyond Limits, reports, “In medicine, we are learning that physical problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, can be influenced by psychological interventions, such as relaxation training. Mind and body are connected and must work together, and this should be a powerful asset in treating medical illness.”