Yoga For Breast Cancer – Forward Fold

Forward Fold Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer & LymphedemaBy: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

What can I say? Just resting your feet up while you dangle down is bliss. Let yourself go. Oh Yeah! This can be so relaxing and releasing for tight shoulders or coming out of a back bend. We under estimate sitting in a chair and hanging down.

Benefits

  • Broadens side body/obliques/quadratus lumborum
  • Assists in lengthening the spine and opening shoulder rhomboids
  • Rejuvenates and relaxes the lower spinal muscles
  • Relieves neck and lower back pain when the head and torso supported
  • Encourages relaxation through stretching
  • Reduces excessive kyphosis in the upper thoracic back
  • Stretches chest and axillae, and gluteals independently
  • Draws the breath to the back body creating space in the lungs
  • Brings blood to the head, pelvis and broadens sacrum
  • Slows heart rate
  • Facilitates an immediate relaxation response

Instructions

  1. Begin seated on edge of stable chair so
  2. pelvis tilts forward with legs extended,
  3. place large bolster in underneath feet .
  4. INHALE, lift and lengthen spine upwards.
  5. EXHALE, come forward and drape your body over thighs. Let your arms dangle down.
  6. Stay in the pose and enjoy the breath
  7. coming to the back body. When settled
  8. into the pose continue to release the
  9. spine and open shoulders out to side
  10. more.
  11. Rest and enjoy the deep opening into the
  12. back body.

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.

Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Breast Cancer Recovery Pose – Challenging Child

The Challenging ChildBy Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

The Challenging Child brings our breath to it’s edge by drawing the diaphragm down and lungs up. It teaches us to lift and lengthen up and out. Not just the lungs are affected but this pose also encourages the spine to lengthen and ankles to open. It is quite a pose to explore but please make yourself comfortable while exploring it’s nuances.

If someone is in recovery this pose teaches patience, to be open and not to judge but to simply let go. Great pose.

Benefits
Increases lymph circulation to pectoral region
Lengthens spine to a natural alignment
Stretches shoulders and lattisima dorse (major back muscles)
Relaxes entire spine, sacrum and lumbar
Increases range of motion in shoulder girdle
Broadens hips, opens tops of ankles and helps to align knees
Precaution
Shoulder injuries/rotator cuff and knee pain

Instructions

  1. Begin seated on your heels or use a folded blanket in between heels and hips. A
    blanket can also be placed under knees/ankles if uncomfortable. Bolsters in front and
    block to rest head on.
  2. Roll up a blanket or partially folded yoga mat and place in the crease of your hip and
    lower belly.
  3. INHALE, lengthen up.
  4. EXHALE, hinge forward and bring hands out in front around or underneath the
    prop. Then begin to either extend arms out onto forearms or cross arms underneath.
    If tightness is felt in mid or lower spine come up onto hands until you begin to feel a
    release in the spine. Place forehead on block.
  5. Stay and breathe into the entire spine. Enjoy the release and lengthening.
  6. INHALE, come back up.

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.

Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Book

Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

 

Dry Brush & Pink Salt Bath For Breast Cancer Lymphedema

By Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

Relaxation and detoxification of your body with a therapeutic bath is a complementary therapy that anyone can perform in the comfort of their own home. If in a cancer related weakened state please have friend or family member close by during and after a therapeutic Pink Salt bath and dry brush body massage.

A detox bath is thought to assist your body in eliminating toxins as well as absorbing the minerals and nutrients that are in the water. Most of all, it’ll leave you feeling refreshed and awakened. Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body. When the body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas.

Relax & Detox Bath Instructions

  1. Schedule time for yourself
  2. Fill tub with hot water
  3. Add 4-6 ounces of “Pink Salt” aka Himalayan Salt
  4. Mix bath water gently with hand
  5. Enter bath and soak for at least 20 minute however 40 is recommended
  6. Be sure to drink plenty of water after a “Pink Salt” bath to rehydrate the healthy relaxed cells

After Bath Care
Be sure to stand up with care, baths can make person feel dizzy or lightheaded. Have a towel ready and use a dry brush to brush/rub the body down and help stimulate the lymphatic system.

Dry brushing stimulates the skin and circulates lymph fluid which is vital for overall health. The skin is the largest organ in the body and is responsible for a quarter of the body’s detoxification. The ability of the skin to excrete toxins is of paramount importance. Dry skin brushing helps to shed dead skin cells, which improves skin texture and cell renewal.

How To Use A Dry Brush For Breast Cancer & Lymphedema

  1. Dry Brush your entire body before you shower, preferably in the morning or before bed. This helps loosen and remove dead skin and uric acid crystals.
  2. Start at the soles of your feet doing circular movements, then brush upwards on your legs toward your heart. Use long, even strokes.
  3. Brush all the way up your legs, scooping forward from behind your hips to your tummy. If you have cellulite on your hips and thighs, concentrate their a little longer.
  4. Then begin circular movements over your tummy. Start with up on right and down on left, simulating the natural movement of the bowels.
  5. Be kind in the thin sensitive skin areas of inner arm, arm pits or tops of hands and not directly on breasts. Avoid brushing anywhere the skin is broken or where you have a rash, infection, cut or wound.
  6. When ready, start the shower with warm water and end briefly with cold. Let the cold water start at your legs then the heart is last. This hot/cold therapy further stimulates the lymphatic system which improves overall circulation.
  7. Dry off vigorously and massage pure plant oils into your skin or spray on Simply Lavender. You may want your skin to breathe for a while too. Enjoy this process of good health and detoxification.

Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body. When the body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas. Dry skin brushing stimulates the lymph canals to drain toxic mucoid matter into the colon, thereby purifying the entire system. This enables the lymph to perform its house-cleaning duties by keeping the blood and other vital tissues detoxified.

Visit Breast Cancer Yoga To Purchase Dry Brush

 

Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Bridge Flow Up & Down Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer

Bridge Flow Up & Down Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer

By Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

This is a fun pose that keeps giving. It can be challenging and place you squarely in the moment while using your inhales and exhales. Great opportunity to connect in the moment with your breath. Important to rest when needed, and important to make sure the height for your back is appropriate.

Benefits
*Strengthens core, buttocks, and quads
*Lengthen hamstrings
*Post surgical benefits of reducing fibrous adhesions and scar tissue
*Opens chest and ribs, massages spine, frees the breath
*Increases cervical and axillary lymphatic drainage
*Strengthens and opens lower lumbar
*Reduces varicose veins
*Softens tired leg syndrome
*Stretches 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
*Encourages anti-aging process by reversing gravity
Caution: Neck injury unless practicing with an experienced teacher.

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Instructions

  1. Begin seated on one large bolster, or several folded blankets with legs extended. Lift the spine and lengthen up, slide sacrum forward then place hands behind, lower down until shoulders touch the ground evenly. If back is uncomfortable start at a lower height. Neck should retain natural curve.
  2. Once comfortable in the pose, INHALE, extend arms out to side in T position.
  3. EXHALE, bring knees up and in using core strength. You have the option of arms extended overhead.
  4. INHALE, bring legs up 90 degrees.
  5. EXHALE, bend knees back.
  6. INHALE, lower toes first then heels to ground.
  7. Repeat using the breath as your guide.
  8. When finished stay for 10 full breaths with legs 90 degrees.
  9. Then take the opportunity to draw knees to chest and release tension.
  10. When finished lower feet to Bridge, remove the bolster. Lower hips down and come into KNEES TO CHEST.
    *Make sure shoulders are evenly placed on the ground and neck has slight arch. 

    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.

    Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Book

    Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Wheel of Life Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer

Yoga For Breast Cancer - Wheel of Life PoseBy Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Certified Yoga Therapist and Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

Few exercises are offered for breast cancer and lymphedema health improvement. Yoga exquisitely blends techniques which promote muscle tone, flexibility, proper breathing, mental clarity, stress relief and peace.

If your chest is not tender Wheel of Life is a great full body pose. Arms and head can move in all directions. Great for moving lymph fluid throughout the entire body. Use your bed for the ultimate comfort.

Benefits
Creates an openness for hips
Increased circulation to chest and lymph area
Lengthens side body
Increases vitality
Post surgical benefits of reducing fibrous adhesions and scar tissue
Improves shoulder flexibility
Stretches the tensor fascia latea muscle, waist and spine
Expands back ribs for deeper breathing
Increases ROM of cervical spine (neck) if head turns to opposite side
Mild twist within inner core

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Instructions

  1. Begin in Partial Recline (knees bend and back to ground) then turn
    both knees to right creating a twist. Shoulders remaining to ground,
    arms in T position, and then extend right lower leg.
  2. INHALE, bring right arm up and over to ground in front of chest,
    press down on hand, push up and draw left arm behind and bring
    chest to ground (lower torso carefully), arms in T position.
  3. Stay as long as comfortable  – 10 breaths.
  4. Head can stay to the right or turn to left but only if comfortable.
  5. Extend upper right arm 90 degrees overhead (arms are in a 9:00
    position).
  6. INHALE, press up when done, roll back over.
  7. EXHALE Knees to Chest.
  8. Repeat on other side.

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.

Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Book

Try Our NEW Yoga Book

Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Beginner’s Twist Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Yoga's Beginner's Twist Pose

By: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

Twists are valuable for supporting breast cancer recovery and for the repairing of breast tissue. Lateral movements that are inherent with twists encourage the lymph fluid away from the tissues toward lymph nodes which then circulate the fluid to functioning lymph vessels. If the lymph system cannot effectively drain, lymphedema may result. This pose will teach you how to relax your shoulders, lengthen the side body, reduce resistance to deepening the twist and open the hip flexors.

Benefits

  • Opens pectorals and decreases soreness in chest
  • Creates an openness to lymph area for increased circulation
  • Lengthens side body
  • Increases vitality
  • Post surgical benefits of reducing fibrous adhesions and scar tissue
  • Improves shoulder flexibility
  • Stretches the tensor fascia lata muscle, waist and spine
  • Enhances circulation to the chest and shoulders
  • Expands ribs for deeper breathing
  • Increases ROM of cervical spine (neck) if head turns to opposite side
  • Mild twist in inner core

Instructions

  1. Begin seated in STAFF POSE with hands on the earth, a little behind the hips.
  2. INHALE, both legs to the left with knees bent and right foot/ankle resting inside the arch of the left foot.
  3. EXHALE, turning to the right as far as possible bringing the right arm back and the left hand forward in front of right knee – stay for 5 full breaths.
  4. Keep your shoulders soft and down.
  5. Breath into your lower ribs.
  6. Allow the collar bone to be wide.
  7. Relax right hip down so the twist can deepen.
  8. INHALE, return to center.
  9. INHALE, both knees to the right with both knees bent and left foot/ankle resting inside the arch of the right foot.
  10. EXHALE, turning to the left as far as possible bringing left arm back and right hand forward in front of left knee – stay for 5 full breaths.
  11. INHALE, return to center and back to STAFF POSE.

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.

Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Forward Fold Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer & Lymphedema Management

Forward Fold Yoga Pose For Breast CancerBy: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Co-Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

What can I say? Just resting your feet up while you dangle down is bliss. Let yourself go. Oh Yeah! This can be so relaxing and releasing for tight shoulders or coming out of a back bend. We under estimate sitting in a chair and hanging down.

Benefits

  • Broadens side body/obliques/quadratus lumborum
  • Assists in lengthening the spine and opening shoulder rhomboids
  • Rejuvenates and relaxes the lower spinal muscles
  • Relieves neck and lower back pain when the head and torso supported
  • Encourages relaxation through stretching
  • Reduces excessive kyphosis in the upper thoracic back
  • Stretches chest and axillae, and gluteals independently
  • Draws the breath to the back body creating space in the lungs
  • Brings blood to the head, pelvis and broadens sacrum
  • Slows heart rate
  • Facilitates an immediate relaxation response

Instructions

  1. Begin seated on edge of stable chair so
  2. pelvis tilts forward with legs extended,
  3. place large bolster in underneath feet .
  4. INHALE, lift and lengthen spine upwards.
  5. EXHALE, come forward and drape your body over thighs. Let your arms dangle down.
  6. Stay in the pose and enjoy the breath
  7. coming to the back body. When settled
  8. into the pose continue to release the
  9. spine and open shoulders out to side
  10. more.
  11. Rest and enjoy the deep opening into the
  12. back body.

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.

Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Diamond Pose For Breast Cancer

Diamond Yoga Pose For Breast CancerBy Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Co-Founder Breast Cancer Yoga.

This is my son, Jared (who has open hips) demonstrating this unique pose; just like a relaxed Butterfly pose. Diamond Pose is a great pose to release tension everywhere but for the most part tightness and tension in the inner thighs and hips.  When you come forward and rest your head on a prop (or not) you can begin to connect deeply with your breath. Don’t forget to soften your facial muscles and jaw hinge. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Benefits

  • Allows spine to lengthen
  • Works on releasing sciatica nerve
  • Improves general circulation of legs, arms and spine
  • Stretches the inner thighs, groins, and knees
  • May help relieve mild depression, and anxiety
  • Great pose until late into pregnancy – help ease childbirth
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain when done with head and torso supported
  • Soothes menstrual discomfort
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Caution: Groin or knee injury: Only perform this pose with blanket support under the outer thighs.

Diamond Pose For Breast Cancer

Instructions

  1. Begin in a supported seat, feet need to touch in front and knees relax out to side. If knees are higher than hips use props to support the knees so that there is no over stretching. Props can be used to support knees. By raising the seat and supporting thighs and knees against gravity, it will give you a solid foundation for the spine.
  2. Make sure your seat is comfortable so there isn’t any strain on hips, thighs, knees or ankles.
  3. INHALE lift and lengthen the spine and come forward. Rest arms on blocks, blanket or the earth.
  4. EXHALE extend or place forehead on a prop.
  5. Stay in the pose for 10 full breaths.
  6. When finished help lift knees and extend legs, do ANKLE ROTATIONS.

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.

Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Being Up Side Down and Lymphedema

Moving Bridge Yoga Pose For LymphedemaBy Diana Ross, ERYT 500, Co-founder Breast Cancer Yoga

“Any health concern on lymphedema – no matter how big or small warrants accurate and reliable facts. These facts breed not misinform or mislead the right call-to-action.”
My question is “Do inversions (or inverted postures) in yoga help or hurt the student/patient with the potential or concern for further hampering lymphedema?” http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/adult/breast/lymphedema There are two types of inversions, first a mild inversion where the hips are higher then the heart, and second a full inversion where the hips and legs are higher.

Some exercise programs are performed without proper compression, swelling may worsen as well as tissue trauma and inflammation. I have been torn between “Are inversions good or bad for lymphedema?” I have seen it presented both ways. Well, after research and interviews this is what I found out to be true. Motion and deep breathing is key because of the stimulation of venous and lymphatic return to the affected area. Some of the poses in Breast Cancer Yoga, for example Moving Bridge where arms are called into action in a moving flow with hips lifting up higher than the chest can result in pain reduction, as well as the spine being brought into proper alignment and the rehydration of the intervertebral discs. Now with all this being said even if you are or are not flowing the arms in an inversion there could be noticeable muscle relaxation in an inverted yoga pose. This ultimately encourages the reduction of recovery time. To add to these direct benefits, the use of inverted yoga poses that promote non-repetitive movements also confirm to stimulate venous return in the lymphatic system; as well as stimulating the autonomic nervous system and its baroreceptors (sensitive receptor). Wear your garments when you exercise if your arm feels achy or heavy. Otherwise, it is recommended not to wear your sleeve and gauntlet while exercising.

Here are some simple rules for being upside down or right side up.

  • Yoga is good for both prevention and control of lymphedema.
  • Start slowly but gradually build up to your former activity level.
  • With any new activity, start slowly and increase gradually.
  • It is important to take frequent rests, or rotate activities to avoid overuse or constant repetition.
  • Stay well hydrated and avoid caffeine drinks.

It is important to Stop at once if you experience heaviness, aching, firmness, or swelling. Rest and elevate your arm. You may want to try the activity again the next day, but stop earlier and plan to proceed slowly. Stay active, but be watchful . http://lymphedemahope.com/uncategorized/exercise-in-the-patient-with-lymphedema-nln/Lane
My conclusion is this: yoga is a wonderful way to promote breast health and lymphedema management. Inversions are indeed beneficial for lymphedema and for good health. Repetitive movements should be monitored SLOWLY. The bottom line is to start at the beginning, do not over do, pace yourself and be mindful; Rest, rest, rest. Lymphedema can happen anytime.

Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Three Keys to Manage Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema

LymphedemaBy Diana Ross, ERYT, CYT, Certified TriYoga, Co-Founder Breast Cancer Yoga

Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema (BCRF) is more common then you would think after surgery or treatment. BCTL can be quite devastating to patients, as its far reaching consequences are a constant reminder of their cancer. It is also one of those things that is not given enough attention to and happens without any fanfare from the doctors so you are left most often wondering “What is this?, How can I stop the pain and swelling? Will it go away? Unfortunately once you have lymphedema – you have it. You will need to learn to manage it.

StepUp-SpeakOut.Org posted these two articles that were immensely informative on BCRL Using Yoga For Lymphedema, Yoga For Lymphedema Studies that put such a smile on my face. More often than not findings of research and study on yoga and lymphedema are limited in scope, so when I came across trials that support and promote yoga, breathing and relaxation I become quite excited about sharing this positive information.

The three keys of an integrated yoga program that may be well suited in a holistic self management for BCRL lymphedema are:

DVD

Yoga DVD

Yoga Use arm movements that are gentle and flowing. Combined these movements with a synchronized deep breath. For example, inhale arms up, exhale and lower arms. This will help create a relaxed state of mind, and release muscle tension. It was stated in studies that significant improvement to arm sensations of heaviness and limb size was supported in the reduction of chest density and the noticeable softening of adhesions and fibrous of the soft tissue. The authors (McClure etal 2010) stated ‘that the sequencing of movement with breathing would promote lymph flow and thoracic emptying while at the same time reducing stress and negative mood, leading to improved immune function in what they described as a ‘circle of healing.’

 

"Sun Moon Breath" With Rochelle Donnino

Breathing CD

Breathing – Breathing is one of the most important tools in yoga to help manage breast cancer-related lymphedema. Too many times I have read or heard from other instructors that holding the breath in (breath retention) was not good for lymphedema. I now read it is better than good. It helps to create pressure changes that empty the lymphatic system into the Venus system at the thoracic ducts and clear the lymphatic pathways. This happens both before the pose begins and again when the pose is finished. (Vaqas etal, 2003). It is also mentioned a long, slow breath may improve the elasticity of the secondary inhalation muscles, the pectoral minor, major and serratus anterior. These muscles can become impaired from surgery and radiation. Breathing correctly and consciously is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.

Relaxation, “Meditation” or Mindfulness – These practices that are introduced to breast cancer patients have shown to reduce stress and improve mood, boost immune function and increase one’s quality of life. Relaxation and/or meditation bring changes to the nervous system that create calm and initiate lymphatic drainage. When the affected arm is elevated during the relaxation portion of the class, both the body cools down, thus increasing the parasympathetic nervous system response and the initiation of lymphatic drainage.

These overall findings support the opinion that exercise, breathing and relaxation may offer another self-management tool for patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema. Self management may also include attention to skin care and self massage, wearing a compression sleeve, elevating the affected arm and knowledge of any other risk reduction.

Use non-straining poses that focus on the breath and on relaxing the mind. Choose yoga poses that work on clearing the lymph nodes in the arm from proximal to distal, and then from the shoulder out and down to the hand. Tensing muscles at the top of the inhale will help facilitate pressure changes for the flow of lymph. Lymph flow is slow moving and so should the flow of the pose. This will allow the lymph collectors to fill and empty. After a sequences of poses, it is recommended that rest follows. This will promote relaxation.

It is important to note, “Use moderation when starting something new or when returning.” I also want to mention that it is important to do your yoga in a room where the temperature is comfortable, not hot. Hot yoga is not recommended; it is contraindicated as heat will add to the lymphatic load. Some may want to wear a compression sleeve and gauntlet if swollen, if not swollen do not restrict the arm.

Even with my excitement I must say that when working with lymphedema the teacher and students must be vigilant about limits, appropriate warms ups and cool downs, use of bandages or not, and over exertion. You can go to the Breast Cancer Yoga Authority Blog and read up on all special articles from very special contributors. They are there to serve – so please ask questions.

 

Diana RossAbout 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 info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

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