By: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.
Breast Cancer & Fear
The diagnosis of breast cancer or other illness can produce fear, stress and other extreme emotions, often interrupting normal sleep patterns. When there is excessive tension in our physical body, the muscles tighten and the breath becomes erratic, preventing us from relaxing and allowing for much needed sleep.
Yoga Postures For Rest
There are a few things we can do to prepare for rest and maintain it. Doing reclined asana (yoga posture) if needed, right in the bed, helps. While in the yoga posture, become conscious of the breath by focusing on the “in and out breath”. If we can build a regular asana practice with conscious breathing, we release muscular tension and consequently our nerves relax. Restorative yoga postures are most helpful in this situation. Supported Bridge, Savasana, Supported Legs Up The Wall, Supported Child’s Pose are a few of the best poses for producing a restful state.
Yoga Breaths To Calm The Mind
When the breath is brought under control, the physical body functions better, since oxygen is absorbed efficiently and carbon dioxide is eliminated. This results in improved mental and emotional functioning, allowing for sleep. If thoughts takes over the mind try breathing deeply with your eyes focusing on an object. The mind and breath will then focus on a single point and the “monkey mind” will stop jumping around. This requires practice. It just doesn’t happen so please be determined and patient. You can do it.
Physical Benefits of Reclined Yoga Pose Supported Bridge
This specific, reclined, supported, yoga pose combined with deep breaths is intended to support recovery from breast cancer and assist in managing lymphedema. This yoga pose is a mild inversion that calms the nervous system and quiets the mind. Excellent chest opener which will free the breath.
- Strengthens buttocks, quads and hamstrings
- Post surgical benefits of reducing fibrous adhesions and scar tissue
- Opens chest and ribs, massages spine, frees the breath Opens front of body and pelvis
- Raises hips above heart to reduce heart rate Alleviates stress and mild depression
- Helps relieve symptoms of menopause
- Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, and sinusitis.
- Begin on your back. Make sure head is in a natural alignment.
- Your back can rest on folded blanket so that your back body/kidneys feel soft and supported.
- Knees remain bent with ankles underneath. Place a block in between feet to help with alignment of knees and ankles.
- Arms relax along side body, palms facing up.
- Notice your breath and focus completely on relaxing your body starting with the crown of your head to the tips of your toes.
- Stay in this pose as long as comfortable. If uncomfortable start with a smaller bolster or blankets.
- You have the option of arms extended over.
- Stay for 10 full breaths/or more.
- When finished roll on to side off of the bolster(bolsters).
Note: If the bridge is too high adjust to lower bolster or folded blankets.
To experience the benefits of yoga for breast cancer, it is essential that you begin with simple, gentle yoga movements. You should also consult a doctor before you begin practicing yoga. It is also necessary that you follow a yogic diet that consists of a mainly vegetarian diet to enhance the benefits of yoga.
About Diana Ross: E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher, survivor that cares and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at email@example.com if you have questions.