The beautiful and harmonious practice of yoga asanas, meditation, and Pranayama techniques give women suffering from breast cancer a chance to explore their emotions, accept the condition, and overcome tiredness ad fatigue. Yoga, the Sanskrit word for union, is a wonderful art that incorporates the principles of exercise, meditation, nutrition, and lifestyle with the goal of unifying body, mind, and spirit. Hatha yoga, one of the most basic and simplest form of yoga, would be the best suited for those suffering from cancer as it helps in
- Improving the physical strength
- Reducing tiredness and fatigue
- Improving sleep
- Easing stress
- Improving the life
Yoga And Breast Cancer: The Scientific Link
According to the studies of American Society of Clinical Oncology, conducted in 2003, women suffering from stage I or stage II breast cancer showcased positive changes from practicing yoga. A set of women from a group of 126 were asked to practice yoga for a duration of 2 months. The results were amazing. These women, who were expected to undergo or hormone therapy or chemotherapy, showed a “12% improvement in fatigue, physical functioning, and quality of life compared with those in the program who did not take the yoga classes.”
In yet another study that appeared in 2006, a group of 60 women suffering from breast cancer and receiving about six weeks of chemotherapy were studied. 50% of the women were asked to practice yoga two times a week. According to the study, the yoga group showcased better energy levels, lower levels of lethargy, improved nighttime sleep, less daytime sleep, and better quality of life.
[ Read: How To Reduce Your Risk of Cancer ]
What Should You Be Aware of?
There are certain things you should keep in mind before practicing yoga.
1. Always Verify The Credentials of Your Instructor!
A simple yoga certification is not the qualification for a good teacher. While teacher training certification is essential, it also important to find out whether the person has an in-depth knowledge of the subject and your condition. Hence, it is advisable to find out qualified instructors with the help of your doctor.
2. Risk Associated With Lymphedema
The lymph nodes are removed in many women who have breast cancer. In such cases, it is advisable to avoid various strenuous asanas to thwart off the risk of developing lymphedema. Find out a yoga teacher who has an experience of working with women who have breast cancer.
3. Bone Fractures
If cancer has invaded your bones, then you could be a higher risk of sustaining fractures. Hence, it is advisable to avoid intense yoga types such as Ashtanga. You could opt for mild classes that focus more on meditation and breathing techniques.
If you are ready to begin your stint with yoga, here is a simple move you could try.
Savasana – The Corpse Pose
Relax and unwind yourself with this resting asana. It helps in doing away with the stress and tension, at the same time giving you an opportunity to explore your thoughts. Lie down flat on your back, allowing the legs and hands to rest in natural positions. You could keep a few bolsters beneath your sacrum and lower back for additional support. Allow your body and mind to relax by breathing consciously, in and out through your mouth. Once your body and mind calms down, close your eyes and focus on your thoughts, allowing your breath to deepen and lengthen naturally. Lie down as long as you wish to.
Asanas such as Warrior I and Child’s Pose could be useful in strengthening your body and mind alike. Work with a teacher with the consent of your doctor and manage your cancer in a splendid way.