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Yoga, writing workshop for those diagnosed with cancer

Pam Roberts in the Shelburne Falls Yoga Studio.  Recorder/Paul Franz

Pam Roberts in the Shelburne Falls Yoga Studio. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

SHELBURNE FALLS — Twenty years ago, Pam Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer. Every week through treatment and rehabilitation, Roberts attended a writing workshop, where she found that no matter what prompt was given, she’d write about her experience with cancer.

“I found it so healing,” Roberts said.

Now, Roberts, who lives in Shelburne Falls, helps others fighting cancer with their own healing process by teaching writing and yoga workshops throughout New England. She has led the workshops, which are for people at any stage of the cancer journey, for 10 years.

On Aug. 2, Roberts will lead a free one-day workshop, Spirit of the Written Word with Gentle Yoga, for individuals living with a cancer diagnosis. The workshop, offered through Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s Oncology Department, is from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, at the Shelburne Falls Yoga Studio and Gathering Room, 1 Deerfield Ave., Shelburne Falls. Funding has been provided by BFMC’s Wheeling for Healing Bike Event.

No writing or yoga experience is required and all sharing is voluntary and confidential. Yoga mats and props will be provided. Participants should bring a bag lunch. The workshop is meant as an introduction.

“Some people come to class after surgery or radiation therapy. They feel they just need to get back into their bodies. It is a lot to recover from,” Roberts said.

Gentle yoga is a class for beginners that includes basic breathing exercises and postures from stretching, strengthening and balance poses.

Roberts started leading writing workshops in 2003 after she attended a four-year program in New York at the School of Healing Arts. She continues to do a weekly writing group in the Greenfield Arts Space. She uses the Amherst Writers and Artists method, which is based on the belief that everyone is a writer.

Finding that the combination of yoga and writing can both help calm the body and still the mind, Roberts created a workshop that integrates yoga and writing. She has practiced yoga for the last 15 years. Roberts is a certified teacher of Kripalu Yoga and Yoga of the Heart Therapy for Cancer and Cardiac Patients. She started to lead weekend retreats for people with cancer.

Spirit of the Written Word with Gentle Yoga workshop is limited to 12 participants; registration is required. To register, or for more information, contact Pam Roberts at 413-625-2402 or email pamro@aol.com. Information is also available in the Oncology Department at Baystate Franklin Medical Center.

The Wheeling for Healing Bike Event, benefiting BFMC’s Oncology patients and services, will take place on Aug. 24, starting and ending at the White Eagle Polish Picnic Grounds, Plain Road, Greenfield.

For more information on the bike event, go to baystatehealth.org/wheelingforhealing, or contact Baystate Health Foundation, 413-794-4288.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268 On Twitter, follow @RecorderKatMcK

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