Living with cancer blog

Yoga helps cancer survivors with overall well-being

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. May 26, 2012

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.

With

Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.

22 Comments Posted

May. 26, 2012