Five Things I Learned from Cancer. {Yulady Saluti}


{Yulady Saluti ~ by Robert Sturman}

“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Last May, Yulady Saluti, a 32-year old yoga teacher, beautiful wife and mother of six, was diagnosed with stage-2 breast cancer. She decided to share her bittersweet journey with the world and video-blog her way through cancer.

Her courage and willingness to take her life in her hands and creatively fight for it, has been a source of inspiration for many people.

She recently joined yoga photographer Robert Sturman to co-create and celebrate the art of being alive, and to support the National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Yulady’s life has changed in remarkable ways since her diagnosis. Today she reflects on the lessons she learned from cancer and how they affected her plans and priorities, remodeled her self-image and shaped her life as a whole.


{Yulady Saluti ~ by Robert Sturman}

Five things I learned from cancer.

5. My weight is not important. 

I love working out and taking multiple yoga classes in a day. Exercise coupled with a good diet were an integral part in maintaining my appearance.

My surgery and treatments have curtailed my exercise and chemo has changed my taste buds. After gaining about 20 lbs because of chemo and steroids I realized that being healthy and fighting this cancer was far more important than my dress size.


{Yulady Saluti ~ by Robert Sturman}

4. I don’t need asanas to practice yoga.

“Asana” means pose, and yoga means union—therefore yoga is everything else. Asana is just a small part of yoga.

I practice yoga everyday even though I can rarely practice asana. Fighting cancer without yoga would have been impossible for me.


{Yulady Saluty ~ by Robert Sturman}

3. My kids think I am beautiful no matter what I look like on the outside. 

When I found out I was going to loose my hair I freaked out because my kids loved my long hair. In fact when I told my 6-year old I was going to cut my hair he started to cry.

I thought It would be too shocking for them to see Mom go from having very long hair to being bald, so I cut it and played with hair colors for about two weeks. Each time I changed my hair color my kids would tell me how beautiful I looked.

Now that I am bald they rub my head and tell me constantly “Mom you look so beautiful. Can you keep your head bald?”

In the eyes of my children I will always be the most beautiful Mom in the world.


{Yulady, pre-cancer}

2. Your true family and friends will pull you through anything.  

I am fortunate enough to have a great husband who adores me no matter what, unlike many women who write to me and tell me how their husbands left them after they found out that they had cancer.

Those types of emails break my heart and make me realize how lucky I am, not only because I have such an amazing husband, but because I have a great support system. All of my friends and family members came together and really helped me get through my toughest times.

I wish I could write every single name down to thank them all, but they all know who they are.

{Yulady & her husband, Jerry}

1. “Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.”

I have heard this saying many times but never truly understood it until I was diagnosed with cancer.

I had so many plans. Funny how things can change so quickly. I went from the picture of health to a double mastectomy nearly over night.

I have learned not to look so far forward and instead, I relish each day with its ups and downs as if it were my last.

I stop and smell the roses everyday now. You should too, they smell great.



And here is how it started…


“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou 




 About Robert Sturman:

The official visual artist of 2005’s 47th Annual GRAMMY® Awards, Robert Sturman, has formal training as a painter and photographer, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Following his degree, Sturman completed a two-year apprenticeship with Carmel, CA-based master photographer William Giles, whose striking images have been said, “to have the impact of a Zen koan,” a description that could apply to Sturman’s imagery as well. He also studied for two years at the Memphis College of Art under acclaimed Italian painter John Torina, whose ephemeral, atmospheric landscapes are echoed in many of Sturman’s works. You can find out more about Robert’s work at his online studio and connect with him via Facebook and Twitter.


More on the Art of Being Alive: 

>> When cancer doesn’t get the best of you {Our interview with Yulady}. 

>> A little more life: the art of yoga through the lens of Robert Sturman {Our interview with Robert}.



{P.S. Check your tatas.}



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Yulady Saluti
Yulady Saluti never stops moving. She is a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor who has appeared in DVDs with Tara Stiles and Deepak Chopra. She has rocked her yoga on television with Sadie Nardini, teaches at four different yoga studios, and is doing all this while taking care of six kids and a devoted husband. (Oh, and she has cancer.) Yulady is now documenting her journey as a mommy-yogi-with-cancer on her Youtube channel. She plans to return to a full teaching schedule after treatment in New Jersey at Powerflow Yoga, Onyx Mind Body, Poe Yoga, and Inferno Hot Yoga. Find out more about Yulady's journey on her Youtube channelher website, follow her uplifting tweets @yogalody & connect with her on Facebook.
Yulady Saluti

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  • Mamaste
    Mamaste commented on October 16, 2012 Reply
    Yuady could be you, could be me, there but for the grace of god go I. Check your tatas (guys too) xoxo ~Mamaste
  • Suresh M. Nair commented on October 16, 2012 Reply
    More power to you, Yulady. You are so beautiful…and not just to your kids and amazing husband, to the rest of us too :-)
  • ManifestYogaJen commented on October 16, 2012 Reply
    Gorgeous!!!! Bravo.
  • Susanna Harwood Rubin
    Susanna Harwood Rubin commented on October 17, 2012 Reply
    Gorgeous and inspirational. My family has been deeply affected by breast cancer & this is so meaningful. Thank you Yulady for your fierceness and your grace and Robert, as always, for your beautiful photographs.
    • Yulady Saluti commented on October 19, 2012 Reply
      Thank you so much Susanna. I am sending you all my love and looking forward to having dinner next week =) xoxo
  • Ashley commented on October 17, 2012 Reply
    Your continued awesomeness amazes me, Yulady! Looking forward to your return to Onyx. Namaste. :)
    • Yulady Saluti commented on October 19, 2012 Reply
      Hi Ashley Thank you!! yes I miss my Onyx yogis so much. xoxo
  • Tanya Lee Markul
    tanya lee markul commented on October 18, 2012 Reply
    This is absolutely beautiful. I am truly inspired. Thank you so much for sharing such depth and beauty and more than anything, thanks for sharing the courage and strength. xoxo
    • Yulady Saluti commented on October 19, 2012 Reply
      Thank you for such kind words Tanya <3 xoxox
  • Linda Esposito (@TalkTherapyBiz) commented on October 19, 2012 Reply
    You are beautiful, brave and badass. Your kids and husband are lucky. Prayers and well-wished for your continued recovery and endless success.
  • Tracy Wisneski
    Tracy Wisneski commented on November 13, 2012 Reply
    Wow! I am the “Johnny Come Lately” but still honored to have found you! I am officially in love with you and your husband (not in the creepy way, of course)! Thank you so much for sharing your story and your life and your beautiful family! Many blessings to all of you!
  • PRAVEEN VARMA commented on June 11, 2013 Reply
    Yulady i salute you for your continuous commitment to teach and spread YOGA. You are fantastic !!! May Life bestow upon you thousands and thousands of blessings and May you live long and healthy and inspire thousands into YOGA -Praveen Varma.
  • Digamber Singh Kharayat commented on November 12, 2013 Reply
    I am really very happy to see you positively charged through rough weather.May the Almighty give you strength and courage to go ahead in your life with the same determination.
  • lannah ltng commented on January 1, 2014 Reply
    I love this website and her story is beautiful. However it could perhaps have a different outcome. I propose that people look into natural ways to heal with living food, nitriloside (B12), hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, coconut water etc. Doctors dont always have the answers. We have to attempt healing through nature first then as a last resort Big pharma which is an industry that thrives on ill health.
  • Tori commented on February 13, 2015 Reply
    Stay intfemaoivr, San Diego, yeah boy!

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