Beat Cancer with the Help of Yoga| Yoga for Cancer
Mar 13, 2019
Think about hearing the words- “you have cancer”. Imagine how your body is going to respond to this news.
We understand that fighting cancer isn’t easy, but giving up isn’t an option! In its myriad forms, cancer constitutes no less than a battle. It is a battle with the disease as well as its treatment. The real test of a cancer survivor's endurance is the debilitating weakness that follows cancer treatment.
Researches suggest that regular yoga sessions can help cure cancer and also provide a better quality of life to the cancer survivors. A yoga session will include a series of postures and breath work that help cancer patients cope with the symptoms and side effects. Also, it will have some positive impact on psychological well-being and improvement in the quality of general well-being.
Dr Anita Peoples, University of Rochester says “(Yoga) strengthens muscles, reduces anxiety and allows those who practice it to do more in their life.”
Yoga can help build endurance, both physically and emotionally. It can help a patient cope with pain and nausea using relaxation postures, fatigue using rejuvenating poses, and deterioration with strengthening postures. Meanwhile, breathing helps to balance the nervous system.
Here are a few yoga asanas to get started. Have a look.
Half Sun Salutation- Ardha Surya Namaskar
Sun salutation is the core of yoga. The flowing movements of the sun salutation are virtually synonymous with yoga. Their origin is in the ancient devotional practice of prostrations- a bowing down in homage to the power of the divine spirit that manifests in every being, every moment.
Ardha Surya Namaskar is an excellent way to warm up the body at the beginning of a yoga session. It is a complete practice in itself, even if you have only 5 minutes. Through this practice, you can tune your whole body to that attitude of reference and surrender.
- Create a calming space around yourself and stand straight with your legs close.
- Press your palms together. Ensure your shoulders are down and back.
- Keep your chin straight and look straight. Inhale deeply and raise your pressed arms above the head.
- Feel the stretch. On exhaling, bend at the waist and bring your palms towards the feet.
- Bend your knees, if desired.
- Keep your back straight and touch the fingertips with your toes.
- While inhaling, return to the standing position.
- You can choose to repeat the salutation as many times as you want.
Bridge Pose- Setu- Bandhasana
Bridge pose alerts both the body and the mind. The Sanskrit word Setu Bandhasana means “construction of a bridge”. The pose is commonly used to stretch and strengthen the back and abdominal muscles as well as open the lungs and the chest.
The posture is simple and quite exhilarating. This rejuvenating backbend will keep your spine flexible and helps alleviate stress and mild depression. It will improve blood circulation and therapeutic for hypertension while providing strength to fight cancer.
- Lie on your back by keeping arms at your sides and palms down.
- Bend your knees and keep the base of your feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your feet parallel to each other and as close to the buttocks as possible.
- Now press the hands and the heels into your yoga mat and lift the posterior. Lower the back upwards and away from the floor.
- Keep your head, neck, and arms in the resting position on the floor.
- Remain in this posture for 60 seconds.
- Come out of bridge pose while exhaling. Roll your spine slowly down on to the floor.
Legs up the wall- Viparita Karani Asana
Viparita Karani, also known as the legs up the wall or the inverted lake pose, has numerous health benefits. The Sanskrit term means “renewal of energy”. According to Hindu scriptures, the legs up the wall pose keeps both old age and death at bay.
A restorative pose, this asana allows the blood to circulate to every part of the body. This pose is practised with empty stomach and bowels. This asana has therapeutic health benefits which help to soothe and calm the mind.
- Find an open space near the wall so that you can practice this asana comfortably.
- It is a simple pose. Just lie on your back with legs propped up against a wall.
- Now make a 90-degree angle with the legs resting flat on the wall's surface. It will take a little bit of movement to get comfortable in this position.
- If you desire a bit of comfort, then you can choose to place a cushion beneath the lower back.
- Soften your throat and your face and keep your head and neck in the neutral position.
- Now concentrate on your breathing and hold the position for at least 5 minutes.
Cat/ Cow Pose- Marjarasana
Cat/ Cow Pose also known popularly as Marjarasana or Bitilasana is a wonderful way to warm up the spine at any point on or off the mat. It is a powerful pose for the mind. It increases coordination, fosters intentional focus, and invigorates prana- the vital life force in the body.
Marjarasana is associated with the increase in emotional balance and stability of the mind. This pose helps to enhance positivity within the cancer patients while allowing the body to increase the ability to experience joy.
- For the cat-cow stretch, come on your fours. Begin the pose on your hands and knees.
- Now exhale and curve your spine outwards.
- During this moment gaze upward toward the ceiling without straining the neck.
- While inhaling, come into cat position by curving your back inwards. Release the top of the feet on the floor, round the spine and release the head down.
- Face downwards and look at the floor.
- Practice this asana with the breath for about 10-15 minutes.
Corpse Pose- Savasana
Corpse Pose or Savasana is a pose of total relaxation. The Sanskrit word the Sava means “corpse” and asana means “pose”. It gets its name from the recumbent posture of a dead body. This pose is usually practised at the end of the yoga session and is a position of rest and relaxation.
Savasana brings in a meditative state of rest which may help in the repair of tissues and cells, and in releasing stress. Though it may look like a nap, it’s a fully conscious pose that calms the nervous system and promotes equanimity in the entire body.
- Lie down on the floor on your back. Make sure you are completely comfortable. The more relaxed you are, the more benefits you will receive.
- Now close your eyes and let your feet and knees relax, toes facing to the sides.
- Leave your palms open and facing upwards.
- Breath slowly, gently, deeply, and allow your breath to relax you more.
- Retain the posture until you become aware of your environment
These basic yoga postures will help those surviving cancer and enduring painful chemotherapy. These poses will be an anchor to internal calm and a heightened feeling of well-being.