A philosophy which was developed in ancient India, Yoga helps those who practice it find balance between body, mind and spirit. At first, this entails understanding physical alignments, balance between strength and flexibility, and deep breathing in many different postures combined with various meditations in different postures. As your Yoga practice expands, it may include working with the Chakras, energy centers, and evoking the spirit while making positive nutrition and lifestyle changes. Yoga could be used to improve strength and flexibility, reduce heart rate and blood pressure while increasing oxygen intake and achieve deep levels of meditation and relaxation; the relaxation response and increased concentration tap the power of the mind and spirit. Yoga may also help to reduce back, neck or arthritis pain.
Potential Benefits of Yoga for Individuals with Cancer
Many of the benefits of Yoga are similar to the benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi. The Asanas, or the physical postures, will improve flexibility, strength and balance. By adding deep breathing and meditation to the movements, many aches and pains in the soft tissues, joints or bones from the cancer or treatment side effects can be reduced. Yoga has been known to improve one’s mood and energy while reducing feelings of depression, fear and anxiety. Modified Yoga is a great complimentary method/philosophy for both preparing and recovering from surgery. The combination of emphasizing body, mind and spirit empowers individuals with cancer, their families, and caregivers to take a more active role by practicing and preaching about Yoga and its benefits to anyone who is going through this life changing journey.
Harvard Medical Publications/Yoga for Anxiety and Depression http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression
NIH – fact sheet provides basic information about yoga, summarizes scientific research on effectiveness and safety https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm
NIH Research Matters/Yoga for stretching eases low back Pain – https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm