How Yoga and Wellness helps during and after Breast Cancer
Studies show that about 12% of women in US develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. For women in US, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, with the exception of lung cancer.
According to National Cancer Institute, exercises like Yoga can be extremely beneficial in reducing the risk of many cancers, breast cancer in particular. The regular practice of Yoga can lead to a decrease in levels of hormones like insulin and estrogen that are responsible for the development and progression of the disease. Also, studies support the fact that physical activity has a potentially “favorable influence on breast cancer incidence and outcome”, which makes it imperative for one to get involved in a holistic practice like Yoga.
A 5000-year-old system of old and proven principles and practices, Yoga not only includes exercises and meditation but also incorporates fundamentals of nutrition, good health, ethics and well-being. Research in breast cancer patients have shown that Yoga is a low impact but highly effective exercise that work on various levels like:
- Reducing fatigue and stress.
- Improving physical functioning.
- Improving sleep
- Contributing to a better quality of life
A typical Yoga session, (preferably with an experienced instructor), basically equips you with learning and regularly practicing a series of poses that are beneficial to your present condition. They may vary from sitting, standing and lying down, patients can even use a chair. Breathing techniques have a very important place in Yoga as they help you achieve better controls of body and mind.
Although Yoga is recommended at all stages of cancer diagnosis, it is safe and advisable to consult your doctor before starting a regimen. Also, it is highly recommended to go through an instructor who will teach you the best poses, based on your condition. Whether it is before, during or after radiation or chemotherapy sessions, or any other hormonal or targeted therapies that you may be going through, there is a specific range of poses that are beneficial.
Always begin with exercises that you are comfortable with and keep pushing your limits. Challenge yourself, but take care not to attempt anything that is beyond your physical limitations. Restorative Yoga is always advisable at the recovery stage it is gentle, involves minimum physical work and makes use of breathing techniques.
The following poses can be beneficial to breast cancer patients:
- Fish pose
- Seated Side bend
- Cat Cow pose
- Diaphragmatic breathing or Pranayama