ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Bruce Alfred never thought one day he'd be able to explain what a sun salutation is, let alone, become a yoga instructor.
"At the end it starts to peel away all those layers of stress, doubt and worry," Alfred said.
But he also did not expect to be diagnosed with stage-four non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in June of 2005.
"A doctor came in and started talking to me about the cancer and I hadn't told my wife yet cause I hadn't been able to bring myself to even say it," Alfred said. "It was such a shock because I think like many people we live just thinking everything's going to be great, the way it is today is the way it will be tomorrow."
Like cancer does, it called for a drastic shift in his day-to-day lifestyle.
"Four young kids, a wife, run my own business, and between that and trying to stay fit with weight lifting and stuff that I was doing, it was pretty much burning the candle at both ends," Alfred said.
Simple things were anything but.
"Everything hurt and just to move was tiring," he said.
During chemo Bruce traded in the barbells for a yoga mat.
"There was certainly in the back of my mind the thought that this might not end well or my life might end a lot sooner than I ever imagined it would," Alfred said. "Those were the kind of thoughts that I didn't want to have in my head until I really needed them."
Yoga is about more than stretching. It's a mind-body-spirit activity.
"Finding yoga helped me to be more in the moment and not worry too much about what might happen next week or next month," Alfred said.
Slowly Bruce conquered one battle after another. Now, there's no trace of cancer in his system, although he isn't considered cured.
"It's just a huge wake up call that life isn't going to go on forever," Alfred said.
Keeping reality in perspective he looks inside and uses yoga to slow down in a fast-paced world.
He's taking what he's learning and reaching out to others with a Yoga for Cancer class at the RAC. It begins on April 14 - however, it is not free.
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