Sample from the Summer 2008 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine

“Crazy Sexy Cancer” Survivor

An Interview with Kris Carr

In 2003, 31-year-old actress and photographer Kris Carr was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage four cancer. When the doctors told her that there was no medical treatment options, Kris began filming her story. Her healing path included Yoga, meditation, detox regimens and healthy lifestyle changes. Taking a seemingly tragic situation and turning it into a creative expression (her film, Crazy Sexy Cancer, aired on TLC and Discovery Health and now is on DVD), Kris shares her inspirational story of survival with courage, strength, a positive attitude and lots of humor.

Integral Yoga Magazine: How did you come up with this wild name for your film?

Kris Carr: I didn’t want this to be my “sad story.” I wanted to challenge the stigma and bring humanity and humor to it. What’s sexy about cancer? The women who have it! It’s not “my battle with cancer.” I’m a lover not a fighter. Instead, I call it my adventure. That puts me in an empowered position. I think the battle terminology further feeds into the stigma. I live with cancer so I can’t allow my life to become my perception of the struggle, because then I totally miss out. Cancer feeds the monkey mind and it will devour you if you let it. Viewing cancer as my guru created many opportunities for growth. But let me be clear: Cancer is not a hunky dory gift, but it was the start of a personal revolution for me. It was that big wakeup call that forced me to take responsibility for my health and my life. Cancer has been my invitation to live—not die.

IYM: Were you practicing Yoga prior to your diagnosis?

KC: I first went to Jivamukti Yoga Center in 1992 and my heart and mind were blown open. The last time I saw Sharon and David [Jivamukti founders], I thanked them for preparing me for this journey. When I went to their Yoga classes, I was introduced to crucial concepts that at the time were so foreign to me. So when cancer came, it made sense to me that maybe there was something I could do to help myself heal. I began to increase my Yoga practice and adopted a vegan diet. I started to connect the dots and look to nature for advice—all the things they taught me. Instead of a weekend yogi, I became an all day, every day yogi [laughs]! But this means way more than just asana and I take it more seriously as I can’t afford not to!

IYM: You’ve referred to yourself as a “full-time healing junkie.” Was that just in the beginning or are you still and what’s your “regime?”

KC: I’m still a full-time healing junkie. I look at cancer like a Rubik’s cube—like it is something I can figure out. Perhaps, if I’m curious enough and educate myself then I can help my immune system and either continue to live with and manage cancer or thank it for the teachings and send it on its way. It’s my “take back the night” approach! And, I am feeling better. I learned that if I had a better diet, if I reduced my stress level by committing to my Yoga and meditation practice, if I stayed away from toxins I shouldn’t consume, then my body feels and functions better. I learned to consciously choose what I put in my mouth. My pharmacy is the supermarket. There’s an inner global warming happening in my body, just like outside. For me, I needed to begin by greening my inner home first. Now that’s disaster prevention for us and for our planet! The choices we make are really important.

As far as my daily schedule, well, I’m a big juicer. A couple of times a day I juice. I drink 16-32 ounces of green drink a day. I eat a lot of raw foods, I do rebounding, dry brushing…

Read the rest of this article in the Summer 2008 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.