Yogic Benefits for Breast Cancer Patients

Yoga has some amazing benefits.  One that is recently catching on is what it can do for those living with breast cancer.  Last week Yoga on the Steps came to DC, the first city to see its expansion from Philadelphia.  A one hour, outdoor yoga class, Yoga on the Steps is meant to encourage breast cancer survivors to live a long and healthy life, and introduce the healing benefits of yoga.

I’ve known the healing benefits of yoga on migraines and some chronic issues for years  This is how I found it.  Yoga is also my go to solution for stress release.  So what are some of the healing powers of yoga?

–> improved physical functioning

–> reduced fatigue

–> reduced stress,

–> improved sleep, and

–> improved quality of life

As a step prior to beginning chemotherapy or hormonal therapy, yoga has been proved to increase physical functioning and decrease fatigue in women with Stage I and Stage II breast cancer.  Learning to control breathing and practice medication can help keep patients calm and increase his or her quality of sleep.

There are many types of yoga, but the important thing to remember is that no matter what type you try and practice regularly, you will always receive the benefits of yoga.  One of the most powerful benefits is the psychological side effects of doing a regular practice.  Whether you are a breast cancer survivor, patient or just an interested party, you will find peace of mind and a better sense of being from the process.  The more you to it the better the side effects, and the better you feel.

Yoga can be tricky to pick up though.  It is expensive, but you can always start wth a home practice.  Take it slowly, figuring out poses and making sure they are right.  The wonderful thing about yoga is that it is about how you feel doing it and you can do it however you want.  I have an instructor who has told us there times we won’t want to do anything but one pose and we won’t know it until we reach that pose.  This happens to me about once a month.  I rest in child’s pose and have no interest in moving on.

How do you get started? Buy a mat, a DVD and see how it goes.  Yoga Journal has some great suggestions of poses for breast cancer survivors.  It is a great resource as you go through a home practice.

A wonderful quote from Lauren Cahn in Huffington Post explains how yoga helped her as a breast cancer patient:

“Anyway, in those first few months of practicing yoga in between infusions in the chemo room and not being able to drag myself off the couch due to bone pain (caused by the drugs) and exhaustion (caused by the anemia caused by the drugs) and depression (caused by the fact that I had cancer) and projectile vomiting the one Fresca that I thought I could keep down, I felt pure joy whenever
I stepped on the mat.”

Anyone can receive the benefits of yoga, but for those suffering from so much between disease, treatment, side effects and an altered emotional state from all of these combined, yoga can offer a great opportunity to truly feel good.  Even if it’s just for that hour you’re on the mat.

Originally appeared on Fem2.0

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