Lymphedema After Mastectomy: Learn About Breathing Exercises & Restorative Yoga

It is not unusual for a woman to develop lymphedema after a mastectomy. Lymphedema is a sometimes-painful swelling in the soft tissues.  This can be due to the removal of lymph nodes, scar tissue, strictures, and other factors.

Manual lymph drainage massage is the usual recommended technique to treat this swelling.  It may be surprising to know that another therapy that benefits lymphedema is yoga, especially restorative yoga. When the lymphatic system is at its optimum, it is like a free flowing river, running without obstacles.  However, when the lymph nodes are removed or damaged, that same river meets obstacles and begins to slow down and this creates a pooling of fluids.  This build up in the tissues can cause swelling and inflammation and reduce oxygen in the lymphatic tissues. The white blood cells, or immune soldiers of the body, can be impaired in their function in this situation.  This may increase the risk of infection and create a possible permanent disability.  Edema is often found in the arms and legs, but can be found in other parts of the body.

Knowing how important it is to keep this fluid running like a free flowing river, we need to foster relaxation and gentle movements that encourage its increased flow.  This is especially important after breast surgery or removal of nodes, when it is paramount to undertake new activities to increase impaired lymphatic function.

The need to develop a deeper state of relaxation to counter the mental and physical stress of illness and its treatment is critically important to our health and well-being.

Practicing yoga, especially Restorative Yoga which targets the pectoral area, keeps the fluid moving through the body rather than slowing down and creating a back up.  This benefits the breasts by promoting drainage and healing and creating a sense of safety when expanding the chest.

Practicing Restorative Yoga daily will undo the harmful effects of too much sitting or inactivity.  Starting yoga practice with a knowledgeable Restorative Yoga teacher is as important as wearing a bandage or support garment.

An important thing to understand in your practice of Restorative Yoga is that you must to slow down enough to listen to what your body is telling you.  Any time you overwork your muscles or strain your healing tissues,  you run the risk of fluid build up.

Let this be the yoga practice of self-understanding.

More Great Articles

  1. How Breathing Exercises Can Raise Energy Levels For Breast Cancer Patients
  2. Breathing, Yoga and Cancer
  3. Breast Cancer Breathing Guidelines & Techniques During Exercise
  4. Diaphragmatic Breathing for Cancer Survivors
  5. Learn Natural Breath Breathing Exercise For Breast Cancer Treatment
  6. Yoga Pose for Breast Cancer – Root Lock KRIYA Breathing
  7. 4 Benefits of Breathing Exercises For Breast Cancer Treatment
  8. Why Start A Breathing Practice For Breast Cancer Recovery? Good Health!

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn 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 Breathing Guidelines & Techniques During Exercise

Breathing Guidelines & Techniques For Breast Cancer

Yoga Model Angela Strynkowski, E-RYT 200, RYT 500 Founder of http://www.AJewelInTheLotus.com

How to breathe and control your breath Is important:


The breathing exercise that we propose is simple and controls the constant practice of involuntary inhalation and breath through the understanding and regulating the process. It has a great beneficial effect on the physical and mental health.

In yoga, breathing is known as a rather integrating principle called the prana, a wide-reaching effects that can bridge the body, mind and spirit together in a harmony which is the basis of yoga and meditation. The practice of yoga is breathing after all seeking yoga breathing techniques to maximize this universal energy that exists inherently in all of us.

Those who practice yoga feel that this state of harmony is natural and there are many aspects of life that pull apart the internal harmony of our. The yoga breathing exercise is one of the basic fundamental techniques we can use to control and even eliminate the impact of external forces have on overall health and well-being.

Some basic guidelines to breathing techniques during exercise:

  • Get up early in the morning. Come out to the countryside and make sure you’re near an open window.
  • 
Sit with back straight. Keep your hands loose inside the basin you. Observe for a few minutes to breath and has stabilized the rate of take a deep breath very slowly. As the air enters pull your belly inward, outward raising your chest. The muscles of your stomach must be tense.
  • 
Hold the breath and count to five. Then exhale and gradually relax the abdominal muscles. If you have too tiring to hold your breath counting to five, count to three or less.
  • Take a full breath – inhalation, end – and then repeat the whole exercise.
  • Once familiar and master in this technique, you can try switching between the left and right nostrils.
  • Close alternating nostrils consecutively using the thumb and ring finger with the little finger of right hand, while the other two fingers should be folded. First inhale deeply through the left nostrils and exhale through the left. Too late. Make sure stomach muscles are turned on enough.
  • 
Then change the process – breathe in through the right and exhale through right. Repeat entire process for some time.



Yoga Breathing Techniques:

1. Breathing practice. First of all, it should be jurisdiction, time and motivation to improve our breathing through exercise. The yoga breathing techniques to help turn the main control of the minds and our bodies, but can only work if you commit to a disciplined program for a period of several months.
2. Understand the physiology of breathing. Much of advanced breathing techniques yoga breathing involves changing the speed and breath as well as controlling the depth of breathing exercises. The goal of yoga breathing (pranayama) is to facilitate the mind and heart and increase the oxygenation of the cells in your body – otherwise known as a process of breathing. To master the pranayama, the images in your mind the end of the toxicity and gas up and breathe, your mind is pure, clean oxygen your body.
3. Be aware of your body and breathing. The yoga breathing techniques emphasize the role of your body, of your abdomen, sides of your chest and your chest as well as your lungs breathing in the yoga. For example, when you practice deep breathing to the abdomen is a critical indicator to get enough breath to complete adequate oxygenation. Truly mastered the pranayama is only possible when you become aware of the pace of your breathing in any activity at any time of day.
4. Dining and inhalation and exhalation, focused almost entirely on inhalation, making sure getting a real deep breath, without any focus on how they let the air out of my body. In fact, the end is as important to the success of yoga breathing exercises. Focusing on a consistent, controlled version rather than a jerky, uncontrolled release.

Inhaling
Inhalation should be done gently and effortlessly. Prefer to breathe through the nose. Do not tense the nostrils; let them remain relaxed. It should all be done in a smooth, continuous rhythm with each part following smoothly on from the previous part. Avoid any jerky movements and undue strain.

  1. Slowly and gently push the stomach forwards as you breathe in.
  2. Push the ribs sideways while still breathing in. The stomach will automatically go inwards slightly.
  3. Lift the chest and collar-bone up while still breathing in.
  4. When it has been completed pause for a second or so, holding the breath (optional). Mind it is to be un-forced.

Exhaling

  1. Just allow the collar-bone, chest and ribs to relax-the air will go out automatically.
  2. When all the air seems to be out, push the stomach in very slightly to expel any remaining air in the lungs. The upper ribs are now contracted first.
  3. You may take a tiny (optional) not-forced pause here too, just as on top of the inhaling.

 

 

Source http://www.oaks.nvg.org/deep-breathing

Long-term health benefits of yoga breathing exercise is potentially significant, but short-term increase in energy, focus, peace and brain power you gain from just a five minute yoga breathing technique is incredibly strong in your general well – availability, productivity and happiness.
Read more on Swami Ramdev yoga exercises and yoga for beginners.
Source http://www.gleez.com/articles/health-beauty/yoga-breathing-and-breath-exercise

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.

 

The Emotional Benefits Of Yoga

Emotional Benefits of Yoga For Breast CancerBy: Dinndayal MorganDirector and Founder of Pathfinder Institute, School of Alternative Learning. 

Yoga is a practice that has been around for centuries, and to this day, people are finding more and more benefits to doing this regularly. It’s even come to the point that it’s used in conjunction with different types of therapy to deal with emotional difficulties. Various studies have also shown that yoga’s emotional benefits are a great plus to cope with different types of stress.

Generally, regular yoga practice reduces stress. These days, we are faced with stress from almost all parts of our life: work, home, even relationships. Because yoga requires concentration, the practitioner will be trained to focus on one thing at a time, no matter how many things he still needs to do, or how many issues there may be that need to be worked out. Just keep in mind that while yoga doesn’t directly address or lessen the stress that you’ve got, it can manage to equip you with means to cope with them much better. Taming stress isn’t the only thing that this takes care of. You will find that you will become more productive, as having a clear head will help you become a more efficient worker as well.

Another great benefit of yoga is that it can be a natural anti-depressant. There is a meditative phase in yoga involving taking deep cleansing breaths. As yoga is about overall wellness, it gives great importance to the connection between the mind and body. There are certain poses that are said to be able to release negative energy, helping ease the practitioner out of a depressive state. Some psychotherapists include yoga in their patients’ regimen to help get rid of depression. Though it is not a cure-all, the significant release of negative energy will be helpful for the practitioner. These results, of course, will be seen over a period of time.

Stress reduction and depression relief naturally makes way for a more positive and focused disposition. Having a negative disposition can hinder anyone from being effective at work or in any endeavor that one would go into. With consistent practice over a period of time, your nervous system will be balanced, allowing you to approach your tasks and responsibilities in a more positive disposition.

These are but a few emotional benefits you can get from consistent practice of yoga. There are other benefits you can also get and you can learn more about them by visiting your local fitness center or yoga studio. Make sure you work with a professional to get the best benefits at your level…If you have any questions please contact me.

Dinndayal MorganDinndayal Morgan
Yogi Priest/Life Coach/Speaker/5 Rings Movement Therapist..Executive Director at Pathfinder Institute

The Physical Benefits of Yoga

PHOTO BY: 2014 YOGA & PSYCHE CONFERENCE:

PHOTO BY: 2014 YOGA & PSYCHE CONFERENCE

Yogi, Priest, Life Coach, Speaker, 5 Rings Movement Therapist & Executive Director at Pathfinder Institute.

Yoga has been practiced for as long as anyone can remember. Though it is often associated with meditation and spirituality, it also has a lot of physical benefits that some people might not even be aware of. The great thing is that yoga is not a restrictive practice at all. It can be modified to accommodate any age group and virtually any health condition. Some yoga poses can even target trouble spots in your body that may need improvement. Regular yoga practitioners can attest to the physical improvements that have been made with constant yoga sessions.

Consistent yoga practice has proven to become a natural method of reducing pain. A great deal of yoga positions are said to relieve muscle tension, soreness, and stress. It can even target specific conditions like migraines, back pain, and menstrual cramps.

Yoga is primarily done to promote overall health and well-being, not just for preventive therapy or to correct certain conditions. Some physical benefits you may get as a practitioner would include improvement in your flexibility and strengthening your immune system. With a stronger immune system, it will follow that you’ll be less susceptible to acquiring illnesses.

Because yoga also covers breathing exercises as part of its regimen, it’s expected that the regular practitioner will have more stable breathing and an increase in lung capacity. This is important as deep breathing makes the body less acidic. Higher levels of acidity in the body can cause arthritis, bone and tissue damage, headaches, fatigue, and even stress.

Blood circulation will also improve with regular practice of yoga. A majority of the yoga poses and postures aim to maintain and improve proper blood circulation, aiding in the removal of body impurities and detoxification. This will also keep blood pressure at healthy levels.

If you practice yoga regularly, you’ll find a huge improvement in your flexibility and strength. Of course, the change will be evident after many sessions, considering the various poses involved. Practiced properly, endurance and stamina will also be boosted.

At the end of the day, you’ll never really get to know or appreciate the physical benefits of yoga unless you try it yourself. Who knows? You might be surprised to find that it’s benefits may go above and beyond your expectations. Awareness of your body/mind type really help for the specific practice for the best result..for more information feel free to contact me.

wisdom/heart

Dinndayal Morgan

Learn More About Dinndayal Morgan – LinkedIn, –  7 Steps–How to Meditate–Daily Meditation Practice–FREE Video Series

Dinndayal Morgan Breast Cancer Authority ContributorDINNDAYAL MORGAN, Certified Kriya Yoga Teacher and Minister, Professor of Martial Science, , Movement Psychology, Five Rings and Stress Response Training has over 42 years of experience including seminars, workshops, and private classes with adults and youth. His classes are offered through numerous agencies including adult schools, recovery programs, continuation schools and other community programs.

Kiss My Foot (Fire Log) Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer

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

Kiss My Foot is one of those poses that you “love to hate” but is so necessary. Typically we do not externally rotate our hips so they get tight and ouchy. It is healthy to help our entire body tuned, balanced and open. This is also the kind of pose that we need to reinforce using our breath. Breathing consciously is totally essential while doing Kiss My Foot. Maximize your experience by keeping your thoughts open and encouraging. Steady breathing combined with an open mind can offer you an overwhelming sense of certainty and openness.

When in breast cancer recovery we may lose our ability to be flexible because of treatments, stress or other possible demands made on us. We need to approach our recovery with a total whole body approach, and the hips are part of that. Great pose to challenge yourself in. It’s benefits are felt right away once your release out of it.

Pose Benefits:

  • Increases external range of motion of femur in hip socket
  • Lengthens hip flexors, thighs and calves
  • Great opening in outer hips and buttocks
  • Prepares body for seated postures such as (Lotus Pose)
  • Stretches hips and groin deeply
  • Extends top of foot
  • Gently stimulates abdominal organs, which helps to stimulate digestion and metabolism.
  • Calms the mind
  • Relieves anxiety, tension and stress

Instructions:

  1. Begin seated on folded blanket or bolster so pelvis tilts forward. This allows the spine to comfortably lengthen. Make sure you are high enough, and support your knees if needed.
  2. Take the right foot in as close to the pelvis.  Straighten the foot (point).
  3. Place a block, bolster or folded blanket in front. Then place left foot on the prop in front. Aim to have the knee and ankle equal/parallel. Again this foot should also point.
  4. Draw the buttocks back. Can use your hand on each buttock cheek to help encourage the pelvic tilt.
  5. Lengthen up, draw shoulders onto back body and breathe. Let the breath begin to de-stress any tightness you may feel in the hips. Stay and breath until that release is felt.
  6. If ready and you can keep the shoulders back, chin in line with the spine – begin to hinge forward. This will increase the tension in the hips and buttocks.
  7. If in pose long enough and flexible enough you can place your forehead in the soul of foot. Hence Kiss My Foot.

 

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.

 

What Is Praana?

By Mokshapriya: Ordained as Swami Ma Mokshapriya Shakti Saraswati and has taught yoga, meditation and philosophy for over 40 years.

What is Praana?

In the previous blog we requested you to breath rhythmically. To breathe in deeply and exhale equally deep brings more praana into the body. But what is this praana? Where does it reside? How does it manifest?

As stated before praana is life force or the essence of life directly coming from our Creator. In all living beings, the divine consciousness is converted into praana or energy. This energy has a reservoir in our body, and is known as kundalini or sometimes referred to as praana shakti.

Praana is accumulated in six main centers along the spinal column. They are situated in the subtle or etheric body, but correspond to the nerve plexuses in the physical body. The three most important nadis or paths of praana is ida, pingala and sushumna nadi. Ida is associated with the left nostril (cooling and negative charge) and pingala with the right nostril (heating or positive charge). The energy flow from these two coil the sushumna nadi which runs adjacent to the spinal cord and cross each other like a double helix at the chakras.

The etheric body has a fine network of nadis through which the praana flows. The ancient sages stated that there are 72000 nadis. This etheric or praanic body distributes consciousness and praana to every atom. This is the body that some see in colors and it has been captured in Kirlian photography.

Yoga believes that these nerve plexuses or chakras and nadis need to be purified, so that we may have more vital energy. Praanayaam or yogic breathing exercises are techniques through which the quantity of praana is activated. This activation creates heat and movement of praana which opens the channels and purification begins to take place. There are other methods also which we will discuss later, but breathing is most efficient.

So as you can see, breathing is vital in any healing process. Breathing should always take place through the nostrils. The air then is purified, and brought to the right temperature. The first step to yogic breathing is to tune into the rhythm of the breath.  A smooth, slow rhythm usually indicates a relaxed state of body and mind. It creates alpha brain waves and reduces muscle tension.  Irregular respiration usually means tension.

Normal unconscious breathing moves half a liter or 500 ml of air¸ of which only 350ml are utilized. So with normal breathing only a small volume of air enters the alveoli. With yogic breathing in full inhalation we can take in up to 5 liters of air. So more oxygen is available for gas exchange with the blood to increase praana in the body and therefore accelerates the healing process.

Inhalation or poorak is an active process and requires muscular effort to draw air into the lungs. Normal exhalation or rechak is passive. The diaphragm and rib cage recoil back to their original place. In yogic breathing rechak is a slow controlled process which activates the relaxation response. So, slowing inhalation and exhalation has many health benefits.

Improved control of the process of poorak and rechak gives us a more efficient absorption of oxygen, elimination of carbon dioxide and also improved mental and emotional states.  These in turn increase our vitality and purify the nadis or nerve plexuses that bring healing energy to every atom.

So it is in our best interest to become aware of the rhythm of our breath and to begin to breathe consciously. When we become more conscious of breath we bypass the medulla oblongata, or primitive brain and start using the cerebral cortex or the more evolved area of the brain concerned with emotions. That is why a more relaxed state is achieved during rhythmical breathing. Any tension in the body reduces the flow of praana.

Before starting various yogic breathing techniques, I am requesting you to start becoming more aware of the breath, and start breathing consciously for at least 15 minutes a day. You may break it up into 2 or 3 sessions. During rhythmical breathing the diaphragmatic movement increases. It needs more space, so please sit up straight when you practice.  Due to increased expansion of the diaphragm more alveolar membranes become available for gas exchange.  So any effort of increased awareness of our breath improves the healing process for both the physical, mental and emotional body.

With love and respect,
Ma Mokshapriya

MokshaPriya Breast Cancer Authority Blog ContributorMokshapriya is ordained as Swami Ma Mokshapriya Shakti Saraswati and has taught yoga, meditation and philosophy for over 40 years. She currently teaches and gives guidance in Queens NY at the Yogashakti Yoga Center. She is the co-founder of the Yoga Teachers Training Institute and has trained over 250 yoga teachers in Long Island and New York. Mokshapriya has a Ph.D.in Education by researching and writing a “Comprehensive Eclectic Yoga Program: A Strategy for Self-Improvement” Curriculum for College. She is very direct, but approachable. You may contact her at info@teachyoga.org or www.teachyoga.org.

1 Great Reason To Breathe – Prana

Breathing For Breast Cancer Pose

By Diana Ross, E-RYT500, Certified Yoga Therapist & Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga.

So what is PRANA and why is it so dang important?
I know I keep harping on the importance of breathing mindfully and giving it great respect for its powers. After all, it is what sustains us. Without it, there is no us.  Period.  It literally can change the course of your actions, feelings and outcomes.  It will make you calm. It will allow for better decisions because it creates clarity of mind, and it goes to work deep within our physical form creating balance.  But let’s try to understand why.

Here is a little background information about why the breath is so important to our quality of life.Yoga breathing is called – Pranayama – the “Knowledge of Life Energy.” Breathing  offers life; without we would cease to exist. Breathing is that important. What is prana?  Prana (प्राण, prāṇa) is the Sanskrit word for “life force”; in yoga.  Prana – Pra  means continuous and na  means movement. Prana in the form of energy exists everywhere, both in and outside the body. It weakens in the body by wrong action, and increases by right action.  Examples are in the quality of air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, and even the company we keep.

Our Thoughts are the finest and highest actions of Prana. What we may call instinct or unconscious thought is the lowest plane of action. If a bug stings us, we respond with our hand instinctively striking it. This is one expression of thought. All spontaneous reflex actions of the body belong to this plane of thought, the unconscious. The conscious thought is – I reason, I judge, I think, I see the pros and cons of certain things. However, this is not all. Believe it but the mind can exist on a still higher plane, the superconscious. When the mind has reached this state, it is called Samâdhi — perfect concentration, superconsciousness — it goes beyond the limits of reason, and comes face to face with facts which no instinct or reason can ever know. Hum – I wonder if this may take a lot of practice, and wisdom.

The most obvious appearance of Prana in the human body is demonstrated in the motion of our lungs. If that stops, within minutes all the other manifestations of force in the body will also immediately stop.  Pranayama really means controlling this motion of the lungs and this motion is associated with the breath. Not that the breath is producing prana; on the contrary – prana is producing the breath. This motion draws in the air by pump action. The Prana is moving the lungs, the movement of the lungs draws in the air. Consequently,  Pranayama is not breathing, but controlling that muscular power which moves the lungs. This dynamic muscular power which goes out through the nerves to the muscles and  then to the lungs, making them move and expand is the Prana. This is what we have to control in the practice of Pranayama.  When the Prana has become controlled, then we immediately find that all the other actions of the Prana in the body will slowly come under control too.  Starting with the thought waves of the mind. I will go as far and say that when we draw the breath in deeply we defuse the stress hormones, like cortisol which is produced by the adrenal gland and is released in response to stress and encourage the GABA levels to rise thus the outcome of inner calm. GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. It plays a role in regulating neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.

To sum this up:

  • The more enthusiastic or engage in life, the more prana is put into play and when less enthusiastic energy you feel lack of interest or wanting change.
  • Prana manifests itself as mental power, and can only be controlled by mental means. Again if you can control the breath the mind will also come under control.
  • Prana is intermixed with the air we breathe in. Oxygen is the carrier of this pranic energy, and negative prana is no air.
  • When we bring the breath under control (meaning we focus on the inhales and exhales) our mind will not wander. It is then the mind is brought under control. If the mind wanders so does the breath.

I highly recommend sitting in a quiet place and learning how to enjoy breathing deeply.
You will feel a shift in attitude quite soon.

Breathe on my friends.

Breath Importance

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.

The Thrill is Gone – Journey With Lymphedema Continues

Lymphedema Journey With Lesley Ronson-BrownBy Lesley Ronson Brown, 500 Hour Yoga Teacher

As my journey with lymphedema continues, I find I am tiring of it. It is no longer something new or something to get used to. The thrill is gone. Not that it was ever too thrilling, mind you; but it was interesting to learn about and begin to navigate my way through the lymphedema maze. I think, however, I had an underlying hope that if I did everything I was supposed to, that somehow it would go away or lessen substantially. But it hasn’t. It hasn’t gotten too much worse, but some days my arm is definitely bigger and some days a bit smaller. But it seems to be bigger more often than smaller. I feel resigned. This is one long-term relationship I would rather do without.

So what’s a girl to do? Sometimes when I’m stuck and not in the flow (get the lymphedema pun?!), I pretend I am a friend advising someone who is stuck in the same situation. I would tell myself it’s time to set up a counseling/action plan. First, I need to listen to myself and acknowledge my true feelings of frustration, dismay and sadness. Acknowledge that I am in the doldrums, as if on a plateau, a lonely plateau. And then figure a way out of it. Like an explorer lost in a jungle. Time to send out an SOS. And guess who I want to come to my rescue?!

Prince Charming! Yes, sad to say, that fantasy is still a real one. I want my prince to come. But he doesn’t have to take me away. I just want him to make my doctor and physical therapy and lymphatic drainage massage appointments. I admit, I want him to massage my arm, too. And OK, OK, I want him to magically charm my arm into being its regular size again.

But this ain’t no fairy tale. And the only one who can “charm the arm” is me. But I don’t wanna!!!!!! I want to pout, put my hands on my hip, say “agghhh” while moving my heavy-metal-concert be-boppin’ head, but with more speed and more jerkiness. Attracting Prince Charming while doing so, of course.

Just the thought of doing that, though, makes me laugh because it’s not quite my style. But sometimes it’s helpful to get out of your style. It can jumpstart you onto a different path. Hopefully, a better path. Realistically, I know spending more time on my yoga mat as a student, not a teacher, will help me. Just by doing yoga, the frustration fluctuations will begin to lessen, becoming less extreme. Practicing more pranayama, or breathwork, will begin to quieten my ego and move me towards accepting what is. My action plan could involve more volunteer work as that is always a good way to move my ego away from its focus on me, me, me, me, me. I will devote more time to massaging my arm myself. Maybe I can charm it a bit. Or at least find it more charming and lovable as it is.

Even though I will do all that, I have a confession. It is kind of fun to rant and rave. It’s fun to sometimes flail about. Especially for those of us who are usually the nice ones, the happy, positive ones who can handle everything with what looks like ease and even luck. It feels cool to morph from Ms. Perky to Ms. Jerky, and watch people’s reactions when we bust out. It is powerful! I strongly suggest it for all you nice girls out there. It’s a definite scene stealer and a good strategy to get your way because people are stunned into shock. Trust me, they don’t like it when Ms. Nice Girl Perky starts changing. But, unlike our human companions, lymphedema doesn’t care. It isn’t going to budge, no matter how much I stomp or how many deals I try to make with it.

So, since Prince Charming hasn’t shown up yet to take care of my arm, and that arm isn’t going to budge by itself, no matter how I act; I guess it’s time to put on my big girl panties, stomp into my thigh high boots, wriggle into my hoop skirt with the “smart ass white bitch” patch embroidered on it and sashay up some action. Oh, yeah!…now that’s a great visual, isn’t it?

Lesley BrownLesley Ronson Brown is a two-time breast cancer survivor and a three-time lymph node cancer survivor.  She has had lymphedema since 2011 and has learned how to manage it through traditional and complementary therapies.  Lesley is a certified Yoga teacher, with a specialty certification in Restorative Yoga, and has taught for more than 15 years.  She also is certified in Pilates and Group Fitness Exercise. But her favorite thing to teach is yoga!  She currently is completing her 500-hour yoga teacher training and is writing a thesis on Yoga and Lymphedema.

Understanding Breathing For Fatigue, Sleeplessness And Pain

Breathing For Breast Cancer“By improving the quality of your breath, you can improve the quality of your life.”

Diana Ross, ERYT, CYT Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga

I want to share the Benefits to Breathing correctly, and I want to introduce Prana and it’s relationship with good health.

Who has experienced a restless mind? Do you have difficulty standing still? Or do you frequently feel fatigued? Who has trouble sleeping? Who has shortness of breath? If you answered yes to any or all of the above you can understand how the breath and our relationship with life energy works so as to change these destructive patterns.

But first we need to acknowledge these things and then change them. To quote my dear Oprah “When we know better, we do better.” All these things I mentioned can go back to the way we breathe. Exaggerated chest movements, tense abdominal muscles that may restrict our breath or breathing through the mouth instead of the nostrils. These examples illustrate stress and unhealthy breathing habits.  When poor breathing habits persist outside our conscious awareness, they can magnify perception of pain, distort emotions, feed into cycles of stress and impair concentration and memory.  It is here where yoga places such emphasis on learning how to breathe correctly, consciously and deeply. The answer is quite simple “By improving the quality of your breath, you can improve the quality of your life.

When you learn how to breath deliberately, and with awareness you can foster a quiet mind, you can become energized, and you can become balanced. When you control your breathe you can transform any irregular, jerky or rapid breathing and convert it into a rhythmical, smooth and gentle breath. Let me ask this “Who spends anytime breathing consciously”? Let’s develop the connection and flow of the breath from one into the next, finding an exquisite rhythmical pace.

In yoga breathing is called – Pranayama – the “Knowledge of Life Energy.” Breathing clearly offers life; without it we cease to exist. Breathing is important. Let’s explain what prana is.  Prana – Pra – means continuous and na – means movement.   Prana in the form of energy exists every in the body and outside the body. It weakens in the body by wrong action, and increases by right action. Examples are in the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, even the company we keep.

Thought is the finest and highest action of Prana. What we call instinct or unconscious thought, is the lowest plane of action. If a mosquito stings us, our hand will strike it automatically, instinctively. This is one expression of thought. All reflex actions of the body belong to this plane of thought, the unconscious.

The conscious thought is – I reason, I judge, I think, I see the pros and cons of certain things, yet that is not all. The mind can exist on a still higher plane, the superconscious. When the mind has attained this state, which is called Samâdhi — perfect concentration, superconsciousness — it goes beyond the limits of reason, and comes face to face with facts which no instinct or reason can ever know.

The most obvious manifestation of this Prana in the human body is the motion of the lungs. If that stops, as a rule all the other manifestations of force in the body will immediately stop.  Pranayama really means controlling this motion of the lungs and this motion is associated with the breath. Not that the breath is producing prana; on the contrary prana is producing breath. This motion draws in the air by pump action. The Prana is moving the lungs, the movement of the lungs draws in the air.  So Pranayama is not breathing, but controlling that muscular power which moves the lungs. That muscular power which goes out through the nerves to the muscles and from them to the lungs, making them move in a certain manner, is the Prana, which we have to control in the practice of Pranayama.  When the Prana has become controlled, then we shall immediately find that all the other actions of the Prana in the body will slowly come under control too.  Starting with the thought waves of the mind. I will go as far and say that when we draw the breath in deeply we defuse the stress hormones, like cortisol which is produced by the adrenal gland and is released in response to stress and encourage the GABA levels to rise thus the outcome of inner calm. GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. It plays a role in regulating neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.

To sum this up:

  • The more enthusiastic or engage in life, the more prana is put into play and when less enthusiastic energy you feel lack of interest or wanting change.
  • Prana manifests itself as mental power, and can only be controlled by mental means. Again if you can control the breath the mind will also come under control.
  • Prana is intermixed with the air we breathe in. Oxygen is the carrier of this pranic energy, and negative prana is no air.
  • When we bring the breath under control (meaning we focus on the inhales and exhales) our mind will not wander. It is then the mind is brought under control. If the mind wanders so does the breath.

I highly recommend sitting in a quiet place and learning how to enjoy breathing deeply.

You will feel a shift in attitude quite soon.

Breathe on my friends.

Breathe With Purpose CD

Breathe With Purpose CD

Diana Ross ContibutorDiana Ross, E-RYT 500 founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana is a restorative yoga teacher; and a survivor that cares about making a difference in your recovery process. Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products were designed to support you emotionally and physically from breast cancer surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy treatments. We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

 

Ahimsa Trinity

By Kaliji

I am happy for this invitation from TriYoga® teacher and long time friend, Diana Ross, to share on the Ahimsa Trinity: Animal Rights, Human Health, Ecology.

KalijiHere in 2013 I am asked to write on Vegan, the plant based diet. On one level, it feels we should already know to treat all with compassion. In choosing the right diet for ourselves we must examine the level of compassion it offers. We all know the home cooked meal appears the best due to the love the mother feels while providing it for her children. The compassion can be felt in the food. In the same way, when we provide our body with the best food choices, we are showing a respect, a love for this body/temple. It is not easy to acquire a physical body on planet Earth. When we do, then a life of compassion allows us to make the most of this opportunity.

Our food choices directly effect our health, and all beings, including our planet. Mother Earth has provided us with the best food. It is the most compassionate diet for humans, while providing compassion toward animals and ecology. We need to see that our diet is based in compassion, or do we choose a diet that undermines our health while leaving a larger carbon footprint.

KalijianimalsThe way we feed our body is often a reflection on how we feed our mind, our soul. In the beginning, it is simply a lack of knowledge on this subject. But once we do know, then it becomes more about how we nourish ourselves and others in a compassionate way. This will reflect in our food choices.

I am thrilled to have an opportunity to speak for other energy beings who breathe air as we do ~ Though they may not speak our language of words as we know it ~ they do speak the language of the heart. On one hand I am grateful to be asked to speak for the animals who perhaps have not been heard; and on the other side do I really need to say what the heart already says if we would just listen inside?

Can words speak louder than the heart? Maybe not but we can share knowledge that speaks to the minds and hearts of those who need help to see, to feel on all levels. These animal friends have intelligence, emotions, desires, attachments, family, and love… oh do they ever have love. Look into your companion dog or cat and tell me they have no love. You love their love. You love them.

They are your family. Of course we would not consider eating them for a senseless meal.Yet, can we stop for a moment and ask what is the difference between a pig, cat, dog, or cow? The only difference is the conditioning in our thoughts. I have often thought of it like mass hypnotism telling us it is ok to take their life for a taste that we will soon forget. Even after the meal is passed, their family members cry for them. A cow is heard up to 6 weeks crying for their calves. We close our ears to their cries. This illusion covers the heart making us unable to feel the love of these beings. The darkness masks our mind and deludes us into thinking we are elegant eaters. The animals are not the only ones in pain. Our body soon suffers. At the time of death, maha prana transports the soul out of the body. The only prana remaining is the one that dissolves the body, the five elements. This was the last prana in the animal’s body. Thus, the effects from this type of diet are far reaching.

Wake up ~ the Mother Earth is crying. We have robbed her, stolen her children, feasted on their bodies after inhuman slaughter. Our resources are disappearing along with countless species. The planet is dissolving at record speed while over 60 billion animal souls crying not to be slaughtered while we leave them in tight cages, suffering unnatural everything.

Oh please wake up for the love of animal rights, human health, and ecology. We are blessed to incarnate on Earth. Let us celebrate love, life, and respect for all prana beings.

Yogini
Kaliji

triyoga.com 

More by Yogini Kaliji: “Ahimsa Trinity
of animal rights, human health & ecology

cow
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