Highlight on Cheri Clampett: Founder of the Cancer Center Yoga Programs & Therapeutic Yoga Instructor

Feb 7, 2017, 10:44 AM by Lisa Winebrenner, Oncology Wellness Supervisor
Cheri Clampett and Jodi Anderson
It was a great day back in 1999 when Cheri Clampett, CYT contacted the Cancer Center asking if she could bring the healing aspect of yoga to those going through cancer treatment. With Cheri’s vision, a small grant from the Balm Foundation and support of the Cancer Center’s Board of Directors, a yoga program for cancer patients was started and has been going ever since.

Cheri’s vision began with her personal experience with cancer. Lying on a hospital bed, after surgery and treatment for cancer, Cheri came to the realization that despite her frightening situation, there were self empowering ways to meet and live with illness. In fact, it was through yoga that Cheri was able to listen to her body, relax her mind in the midst of one of the most stressful things that had ever happened to her, and support her own recovery process. With more than 25 years of experience as a yoga instructor, Cheri brings depth and insight not only to her classes at the Cancer Center but also as she teaches the program she developed called Therapeutic Yoga Training Program (level I and level II) which is available for nurses, physical therapists and yoga instructors all over the country.

The yoga classes at the Cancer Center started out twice a week. Quickly the demand for more classes grew and we now offer six classes per week. Instrumental to the success of our program is the experience, knowledge and caliber of our two other gifted instructors, Kat Connors-Longo and Anne Van DeWater. The type of yoga taught at the Cancer Center is primarily Restorative Yoga, a form which utilizes a sequence of supported poses to calm the body and mind. Despite various physical limitations, each student is helped into the poses, completely supported, so that they are comfortable and do not have to work to hold the positions.

The yoga classes are just one of the Cancer Center’s Oncology Wellness classes and all are based on the fundamental concept that everyone has the capacity and power to participate in their own healing and well-being, once given the knowledge, skills and opportunities necessary to do so. Last yearmore than 300 unique patients participated in our therapeutic yoga program(with over 1,700 visits).

Funding through the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara allows the yoga classes to be offered to patients going through cancer treatment free of charge.