Alan is editor of Love of Life Yoga. He combines his certification as a Yoga teacher (RYT200), health scientist experience (BSc Biochemisty/Nutrition, PhD Chemistry) and pastoral appointment into his unique Love-Of-Life Yoga style.
He promotes proper eating, exercise, mental/emotional/spiritual for a healthy and happy lifestyle. He is particularly interested in advancing men’s health issues.
While living healthy is important, Alan emphasizes that it is a means to enjoy our life through experiences and relationships. In so doing each of us can open ourselves to living beautifully.
He lives in Ottawa, Canada with his Sweetheart of 35 years and has three creative adult children.
Imagine being told by your doctors that you have 3 cancers – all at once. What would be your thoughts and feelings at that news?
That’s what happened to me – two days before my 56th birthday. My doctors said I had kidney, bladder and prostate cancer. I came home from the doc appointment. I called out to my sweetheart of over 34 years, “Honey, please site down… I have cancer.” Yes that big ugly C word. “Yea, happy fucking birthday to me,” I recall saying.
This was not my first encounter with tumors. I was diagnosed with tumors in both the pituitary and parathyroid glands in the late 1990’s. The pituitary tumor was reduced successfully through medication. I had surgery to remove the one tumorous parathyroid gland.
The tumors changed my life. By the time they operated in 1998, I had lost 25% of my bone mass. The pituitary lesion left me unable to produce testosterone, cortisol and T4 – all key hormones needed for living. I learned that constant vigilance is needed to maintain my health.
I was introduced to yoga by my sweetheart. I fell in love with it. So much, that I obtained my Yoga Teacher Certificate. I found it an awesome way to not only get fit, but also to tame the runnng thoughts in my mind.
Fast forward to November 2014 and my birthday gift. After tests and visits to two urologists, they diagnosed me with bladder, kidney, and prostate cancer. I said to them incredulously, “Really?” . “That is what we are going with unless otherwise proven,” was the sobering response.
My spirits sank. I believed I was going to die. How the heck do you make it through 3 cancer diagnoses? On December 21, winter solstice, I was doing sun saluations, when I collapsed in a pool of tears. I felt that death was a certain outcome. As a lay there, I realized I hadn’t finished my sun salutation…I forced myself… to grind through each pose slowly and deliberately. At the end, I was resolute. Just like the asana is one pose at a time followed by another, my journey through cancer was also one step at a time. I found my strength to let go and travel through the steps, trusting that the Divine would be there with me.
The Christmas of 2014 was a sad one. My sweetheart and I gathered with our three children in Toronto. There was merriment with an underscore of tension, worry, and love.
I will remember the year 2015 as the year of hospitals, tests, and surgeries. My tumors were surgically removed in all three organs. It has been tough – from a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual sense. My wife and kids’ unwavering and loving support is what has brought me through this. I am also grateful for my yoga because physical poses and meditation helped me deal with my situation.
Over the past almost 20 years, I’ve overcome 6 tumors. That is more than average. I joke with my doctors that I won the cancer lottery. My kids tell me to stop overachieving.
What I learned is that to be healthy, we must decrease our exposure to anything that is harmful to us – while increasing helpful and supportive aspects of our lives. Our lifestyle must augment our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life – not erode it.
I have dedicated myself to exploring the options. I believe that the Eight Limbs of Yoga philosophy combined with modern medical, scientific and healthy living evidence can lead to a better lifestyle. Love of Life Yoga promotes the journey towards a living a full, happy and healthy life.