In 2019 the lovely Petra Winkler-Hirter, who had returned to Australia to do her Junior Intermediate Iyengar Yoga exam, came to visit me. She told me about her diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer and how her yoga practice helped her deal with it and care for herself during treatment.
One week after our interview Petra had the first of a series of seizures that revealed she had brain metastasis. After two operations, and, in her words ‘a tough recovery,’ she was back teaching again in March 2020. Back in Munich now, she says life has new value, she’s accepting her mortality and taking each day as it is.
As she presciently wrote in 2008 on her first trip to India, “Who are we, if we take away things on the material plane? How much time do we spend to experience ourselves? I’m not Petra, the blonde girl with the blue eyes, if you take away my body. The thing left is the soul, but what is the soul? This is the journey of yoga.”
I hope you find our talk inspiring.
To read Petra’s blogs and find out about her classes for breast cancer survivors, go to theflowyoga.de.
Thanks to Sarah Allely for help with the editing on this one.