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Every day researchers are learning more about the health benefits of mind-body techniques. Yoga has been in the spotlight showing positive benefits for cancer survivors.
Yoga is an ancient Hindu practice combining meditation, breathing and body postures to relax the mind and body together.
There are many different types of yoga. The most common form used for health conditions is Hatha yoga because it has easier movements and a more relaxed pace.
One of the major concerns that cancer survivors may experience long after treatment is over is lack of energy and fatigue. When studied with a group of breast cancer survivors, those who used yoga had a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, improved energy levels and mood.
Along with decreasing stress levels, other benefits include an increase in muscle strength and flexibility, and improved balance.
Next time you see your health care provider, ask if yoga is a safe option for you. If you have never tried yoga, begin by exploring classes offered in your health care center or community center.
Many times health care centers will offer classes on seated yoga for those people with limited physical mobility. Start slow and find an instructor who will work with your individual needs at first to get you comfortable with the techniques. At the end of a yoga session, you should feel energized, yet calm and relaxed.
At Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, we have resources to help connect you to local classes for yoga. Stop in at the Cancer Education Center in Minnesota, the Patient and Health Education Library in Arizona, the Cancer Education Resource Room in Florida, or check our website (www.mayoclinic.org/cancer-education/) to learn more.
I'd love to hear from those of you who have tried yoga. What did you experience? Share your ideas with those who may be just getting started.
Follow me on Twitter at @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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YOGA IS THE BEST OPTION NO DOUBT.
I started "restorative" and "gentle" yoga classes in the spring of 2012 after chemo, surgery and radiation for Stage IV endometrial cancer (diagnosed 7/11/11). I was so weak my arms shook during the simplest of acts such as cat/cow which is don't from an "on all four" position. The physical benefits of returning strength and flexibility came soon, then breathing big slow breaths, calmly. After a few months I noticed that these gentle, restorative yoga classes were not only helping me physically, but emotionally as well. Anxiety was replace with a feeling of....joy! I recommend it to everyone, not just cancer champions - but really, a yoga studio is the most accepting of places in our busy world and a great place to learn how to live again!
I am an EC survivor, 5 years. At 65 and after surgery that moved 1/2 a stomach to the bottom of my throat, I would never have thought I could be a Yoga particpant. This is my third year of going to a half hour class once a week and doing well with it. I am a certain I could be doing more with it if I had the time but am working full time, caring for a couple grandchildren, and farming part time. Yoga has really helped with overall fitness and flexibility but the biggest help is in the mental training to relax and overcome physical challenges. I always am challenged in class but feel the good effects from the yoga for several days.
Yoga was the salvation to my recovery following bilateral mastectomies. I attended a weekly 'Cancer Care' yoga class and found it not only helped me recover my muscles after surgery, but it also taught me how to meditate - which I believe helped speed up my recover time. Thank you, Zia, for helping me get through such a difficult time in my life! Yoga is now a part of my daily routine.
Yoga helped me after breast cancer to gain mobility and range of motion.
Many thanks for your great post.
I am a researcher at the area of cancer survivors and those programs to enhancing of well-being.
could you explain for that how yoga can improve well-being among cancer survivors.
please send your email and send some information about it.
Yoga is a hot topic with my online support group www.treatmentdiaries.com. There are many of us who are in the middle of treatment and those who are survivors of 5+ years...it's amazing to the read the stories and so inspiring to learn from others who can relate. I love it!
I have been practicing yoga since the mid '70s. I have not been diagnosed with ca but have had asthma for many years. Yoga provides help for breathing, as well as flexibility, balance, strength and endurance. Relaxation is the best part of the sessions. I attend yoga sessions in our community center for 1 hour, five times a week and also walk two miles/day. We use DVDs - Yoga Zone, the first three basic tapes. We now have an instructor who is providing guidance, as well as chair yoga for those who need this adaptation. I am sold on yoga! Age 82.
I was having contemporary dance lessons until i found out breast cancer. During chemotherapy i started pilates lessons, and now, one year after i finishe with therapies, i am having power yoga and pilates lessons, and i think this is the best of therapies. I recommend this therapie to everyone.
In 2003 I had a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. It was only several years ago I started going to yoga once a week. Wish I had started sooner. (Age 74)
Been doing Hatha Yoga since 2001. I practise daily and especially when undergoing surgeries or dental procedures. It helps with blood pressure and following recent heart surgery the surgeons were AMAZED at my speedy recovery at my age, 84.
Not only yoga,but simple meditation can be very energising.At least temporarily.
I feel yoga was a huge help when diagnosed almost 4 years ago. The breathing helped me immensely when stressed or overwhelmed. Thankfully I had already practiced yoga and had an understanding of the positive aspect of mind body connections. The hardest thing for me was learning to trust my body after my colectomy. I had a lot of fear of having an "accident" during yoga class. Now I have resumed my practice slowly and find it to be one of the keys to my mental well-being. I agree that it has helped my energy level as well. My brother who dealt with 3 transplants and 4 years of chemo for multiple myeloma also practiced yoga. It fed his soul and allowed him to feel at peace during some horrible times both emotionally and physically. He also taught a class (no charge) to others in his community which sustained him. One of my memories will be of him doing a headstand and other challenging physical positions just months before he died. I hope others try yoga too.
I have passed one year yet figthing for my life with a peritoneal cancer and I received an intense chemotherapy treatment together a surgeon and I have gotten good results, I have all the blood indicator well and the CA 125 between 50-60 u (I started the sick with 8730 u in the CA 125!). But fortunatelly I am member of Self Realization Fellowship, a religious association founded by Paramahansa Yogananda on 1920, since 2000 year. Yoga teaching has been my faith, my strenght, meditation, energizes exercises but mainly my fauth in God and my Guruji. They are with me, helping me to cross this valley of sorrow and If they are with me I will win. Thanks to Yoga, thanks to God and my spiritual Masters of SRF and to the Cuban Medical Science.
Thanks to Mayo Clinc and happy Sunday dedicated in USA to the cancer survivors.
Yoga has gotten me through my treatments, there were times I was just too tired to go to class, but when I could get there it was wonderful!
I am writing from Sydney Australia. I was diagnosed with oestrogen + BC in 2009 on my 50th birthday@! and followed usual routine t/m, lumpectomy/removal 15lymphys with one micro metatsis but this was enough to tip me into 4 rounds chemo and obligatory radiation followup. I am on post arimatose inhibiting drug for next 5 years called Femara which I found created muscle soreness. I discovered that exercise was the key to combatting this. I embarked on a program at my specialised exercise clinic which involved cardio work/light weights and power plate machine work for bone density depletion hat come with post medication. I also returned to yoga practice and a studio locally which is infrared heated. This provides a great combination of detoxifying and aids muscle relaxation that greatly enhances my yoga practice. My range of movement, strength, fitness and general sense of wellbeing have all improved remarkably. I love the yoga practice the most though and have found the combination of infrared heat and my gentle yoga practice extremely therapeutic for `rinsing and cleansing' of toxins after cancer treatment. Highly recommended but go gently at first and build up practice. Find a good studio that suits you with welcoming teachers also enhances this practice.
Thank you for this subject. Our breast cancer support group, Breast Cancer Bridge, here in South Jersey recently had a retreat for a lucky group of us. Yoga was one of the workshops offered. While yoga with a true "master" was new to many of us, it remains a favorite highlight of the day in my memory. There were a few positions some of us with compromised conditions could not get comfortable with; we were offered chairs. Apparently there is an online site available "yoga journal". I look forward to practicing this form of finding peace for many years to come! Thank you again for this topic.
Johns Hopkins agrees with you also. I find Hypnosis works well for mind body and spirit work and have used it for four years to help friends.
Since I enjoy rithm, I find that dancing, just at home, to the tunes of a radio station I like helps greatly both physically and mood wise. Try it!
I had never done yoga before cancer. I love it now. I found a theraputic yoga class. It has made the after active treatment issues a lot easier and my road back to healthy living smoother.
I started a yoga class for cancer survivors in Jan 2011. (I was diagnosed with OvCa and had surgery in Nov 2010). It's a low-key, restorative class that has helped me tremendously. The breathing techniques are helpful with stress. In addition, it helped me to regain some strength while in treatment.
I've been practicing yoga for many years.
I am triple negative. I had both my breast removed. I had my last chemo in 04/19/11.
I have osteoporosis starting in 07/11/11.
I never stopped doing Yoga or any of my other exercise (walking, spin & kettle ball class. I am now starting to feel the Yoga various twist in turns. I am just not as flexible as I use to be. No more head stand or tridpod poses for me. Age 71
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