Why Cancer Patients Use Yoga To Cope With Diagnosis & Treatment

Yoga Counteracts Anxiety And Stress During Cancer Treatment

It is well documented that yoga decreases stress hormones, like cortisol and increases GABA (gamma-Aminonbutyric acid) levels. GABA is an important calming chemical produced by the brain that counteracts anxiety and stress. GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter chemical in the brain. GABA is responsible for balancing mood levels.

Restorative Yoga Practice Increases Cancer Patients Physical Stamina

It is believed that certain physical reaction disorders are due to the failure to produce adequate levels of GABA. Through brain imaging it has been shown that a restorative yoga practice increases GABA levels markedly. When GABA levels are maintained with breast cancer patients, physical stamina increases. Daily activities like climbing stairs, walking and doing the laundry become easier compared with those that don’t engage in a yoga practice or exercise.

Patients Who Practice Yoga Appear to Cope Better

Depression is also important to address with (breast) cancer patients. The uncertainty about prognosis and treatment, concerns of pain or even death, lack of physical and functional abilities and social changes contribute to depression. Patients who practice yoga appear to cope better with symptoms of illness, and the side effects and distresses of treatments. It is sited that the physical poses, breathing exercises, meditation techniques are especially helpful components of a yoga practice.

The proper balancing of the physical, and then emotional body are key to recovery, and good health. We need both but they need to be in balance, and yoga works directly at balancing them.

Best Yoga Poses To Encourage And Energize Cancer Patients
Suggested Cancer Self-Help Healing Books:

Dawn BradfordAbout 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.

Simple Yoga Backbend For Breast Cancer Physical Therapy

This simple and therapeutic yoga pose offers many benefits to breast cancer patients in treatment and recovery. The main benefits of this pose are that it elevates the chest, deepens the breath, promotes lymphatic drainage of breasts and widens the pectoral muscles.

Benefits

  • Balances autonomic nervous system
  • Allows the shoulder blades to feel supported comfortably
  • Spreads the clavicle, relieves pressure on brachial plexus (network of nerves)
  • Stretches pectoral muscles
  • Quickly promotes inner calm
  • Elevates chest, and deepens breath
  • Promotes lymphatic drainage of breasts & pectorals
  • Post-surgical benefits of reducing fibrous adhesions and scar tissue

Instructions
This pose requires three cylinder bolsters and one rectangle bolsters or many cushions from the couch and many blankets would work, too (well worth the effort.)

  1. Begin seated on folded blankets/cushion with legs extended over one cylinder bolster with feet resting on a folded blanket, small pillow or another bolster.
  2. Place two yoga cylinder bolsters/pillows, separated 3/4 inches apart behind back running horizontal to torso.
  3. Roll back onto bolsters, placing arms and shoulders in between where there  is an opening and rest head on bolster. A small pillow is not needed.
  4. Stay in this pose for 10 minutes depending on comfort level or make necessary adjustments to enjoy this pose to the fullest.
  5. If needed, you can place hands on chest or belly with fingers interlaced together.
  6. Elbows may rest on props.
  7. When finished, sit up, coming off of the bolster/blankets, place bolster on lap, and drape the torso over the bolster in a forward bend.
  8. Enjoy the forward release of your spine.

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.

Try Breast Cancer Yoga’s extra gentle yoga DVD for breast cancer recovery and lymphedema management.

Linda Scheele RYT 200, has been studying Ana Forrest style yoga for over 5 years. Linda has the ability to connect with her students, inspire self-confidence regardless of one’s age or yoga experience. Linda is registered with Yoga Alliance and certified as a Breast Cancer Yoga Teacher. Available products from Linda for download are Chair Yoga and Yoga Nidra .

5 Ways Yoga Benefits Cancer Post-Treatment Fatigue

Yoga For Cancer Related FatigueIf you’re a cancer survivor and feeling tired or even worse, even long after treatment, you are not alone. About one-third of breast cancer survivors experience this debilitating condition for anywhere from a year to several years post-treatment.

Cancer-related fatigue, (CRF)is very common in breast cancer patients.  Fatigue can often be confused with tiredness. Tiredness happens to everyone. One would expect to be tired  after certain activities, treatments or from daily activities. Sleep and resting is most important when recovering. Fatigue can prevent you from functioning normally and impacts your quality of life.

However, fatigue is an unusual or excessive whole-body tiredness is not relieved with sleep. It can be acute (lasting a month or less) or chronic (lasting from one month to six months or longer).

How To Cope With Cancer-Related Fatigue
The precise reason is unknown, but it may be related to the process of the disease itself or through the chemotherapies and radiation treatments. (CRF) is one of the most common side effects of cancer and its associated treatments. Usually, it comes on suddenly, does not result from activity or exertion, and is not relieved by rest or sleep. It is often described as “paralyzing.” It may continue even after treatment is complete.

What Cancer Patients Can Expect From A Yoga Practice :

  1. women with post-treatment fatigue were still feeling more invigorated than before they started
  2. women become more energized
  3. women see improvement in mood and sleep
  4. women are typically more relaxed, and more aware
  5. women are more accepting of what life brings to them

To Assist Patients As They Cope With CancerUnfortunately there’s no conventional therapy to resolve it, but studies are increasingly showing yoga designed specifically for breast cancer survivors is helping women to catch a second wind. In fact, a recent UCLA study found that three months after beginning yoga, women with post-treatment fatigue were still feeling more invigorated than before they started. Not only do women become more energized, but they see improvement in mood and sleep; they are typically more relaxed, more aware, and more accepting of what life brings to them. All these attributes are so critical as we work toward our continued mental and physical well-being, and ultimately, our healing.  We suggest ABC Workbook For Cancer Patients for additional post-treatment tools. 

 

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 atinfo@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

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Breast Cancer Yoga Therapy for Stretching the Area of the Incision

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Gentle or restorative yoga poses can be very healing if done with care and awareness.Once you receive clearance from your doctor to begin exercise try a gentle restorative yoga practice.

A gentle or restorative yoga practice may be very healing in stretching the area of the incision, the calming down of the stress attached to the surgery as well as bringing the ROM, (range of motion) back to the entire area of the chest.

Fish pose opens up the heart and since the heart is connected to your lymphatic system, which is your central immune system, these glands are stimulated in this yoga posture. In Fish pose, you are opening your rib cage, lungs and upper back, therefore opening yourself to more love.Fish Pose For Breast Cancer
This pose benefits the student with a sense of deep relaxation, inner calm,and of being grounded. More benefits include:

Benefits

  • Quiets the mind quickly
  • Promotes lymphatic drainage of breasts and pectoral muscles
  • Post surgical benefits of reducing fibrous adhesions and scar tissue
  • Allows the shoulder blades to feel supported comfortably
  • Spreads the clavicle, relieves pressure on brachial plexus (network of nerves)
  • Stretches and expands the pectoral muscles
  • A large heart opener that frees the breath
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles (intercostals) between the ribs
  • Stimulates and stretches the belly muscles and front of the neck
  • Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck
  • Tones the front of your neck and your abdominals
  • Relieves tension in your neck, throat, and shoulders
  • Improves posture – has therapeutic effect on rounded-shoulders, asthma, spasms in the bronchial tubes, and other respiratory issues

fish-pose-for-lymphedemaInstructions

  1. Use a generous amount of props to support this wonderful pose.
  2. Start with a folded blanket under your hips, and blocks (side-by-side) or bolster under your upper spine, and another pillow, bolster or folded blanket for your shoulders. The goal is to feel your heart open and your chest lifted.
  3. Keep your legs close together and don’t let your feet flop out.
  4. Remain conscious of the pose, and especially of your breath.
  5. Play around with supporting props. Make sure each prop feels perfect.
  6. If you want to fully express the pose; bring both arms overhead and extend in both directions.
  7. This is a pose that can be sustained for 5/10 minutes.
  8. When releasing out of the pose, point the toes mightily and come up with a lifted chest (if possible).
  9. Once up flex your feet and hang forward to release the backbend effects.
Breast Cancer Yoga Fish PoseTo 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.

Try Breast Cancer Yoga’s extra gentle yoga DVD for breast cancer recovery and lymphedema management.

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 atinfo@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Breast Cancer Yoga DVD: A Restorative Yoga Therapy with Specialized Breathing Exercises

It is our pleasure to share this flowing restorative yoga practice with you. It is very important to start right where you are, and build up slowly. This will help in supporting and maintaining a positive attitude and a healing foundation. In time, with practice there will be improvement to sleeping patterns, a decrease in joint pain and an increase in range of motion. You will begin to experience less fatigue and gain more energy, strength and stamina. A calmness, along with mental clarity are some of the benefits of building your own yoga practice. Start with 10 minutes AND then begin to expand the time.

Order Here:

This DVD introduces three breaths to train the mind to focus, complete, cleansing and ujjayi breaths also 12 restorative poses for breast cancer recovery, lymphedema management and cancer related fatigue.

Make sure your props ready. They can be household items, blankets, pillows, cushions and ties. Props are instrumental in your support and comfort.

We will finish with deep relaxation. It is Here all the benefits of this yoga practice will be absorbed into the body. We hope yoga will become part of your life.

This instructional video is intended to aid in post-surgical recovery from breast cancer
•to help relieve pain and manage lymphedema
•to reduce stress and anxiety
•to decrease fatigue and increase energy
•and to promote breast 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.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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Why To Use Integrative Medicine & Yoga During Breast Cancer

Healing truly begins when we acknowledge that it is our own responsibility, and not that of our doctors or the healthcare system to provide for our innate healing capacity.

When we are first diagnosed with cancer we feel our doctors should be there to help speed up the optimal function of our natural organic healing systems. Currently, our healthcare system in the United States is inadequate at contributing and supporting our health, and it is far too expensive, and unsustainable. The healthcare “debate” has focused primarily on insurance reform, but discussion on the content of optimal healthcare and the use of complementary therapies as part of integrative medicine has yet to begin in earnest. Many experts have weighed in, but I believe that integrative medicine with its emphasis on disease prevention and healthcare promotion is the only practical way to transform our healthcare system.

Integrative medicine, also known as Complementary Therapy is growing in acceptance but insurance companies are slow to follow, let alone advocate for them. This is why we need to advocate and educate ourself this way we ensure that doctors of the future will recognize their primary role in supporting the optimal functioning of their patients’ innate healing systems, and not just the management of a disease. Focusing on each individual’s innate nature, appropriately using inexpensive and non-invasive means like diet and lifestyle changes to both prevent and treat the root causes of disease, and only resorting to invasive and drug therapies to treat illness and suppress symptoms when absolutely necessary. Wouldn’t it be great to have the best of both worlds when treating our illnesses and diseases?

We are beginning to see a change prevailing in our healthcare system. Integrative medicine is a healing-oriented medicine takes into account the whole person (body, mind and spirit) which includes all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Therapy such as acupuncture is licensed in many states. Homeopathy, chiropractic and naturopathy are becoming more mainstream and frame the therapeutic relationship between patient and the healthcare practitioner. We want to have both a conventional and complementary holistic approach. We want to carefully incorporate conventional and complementary therapies to help us stay well and support our healing process. Therapies such as yoga, aromatherapy, and massage are great too in supporting the mind and body relationship.

Yoga Therapy attempts to bridge a gap between conventional medicine and a “5000” year old system of yoga. However, our “system” of medicine mainly treats the body, while the “system” of yoga supports healing on a physical, psychological and spiritual level simultaneously. The ultimate responsibility for staying healthy rests with us. We must educate ourselves and be active in our own wellness program.

Dawn - Breast Cancer Authority BlogAbout 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.

Wide Angle – Arms Extended: Breast Cancer Yoga Pose

It is supported and endorsed in many research communities that yoga has a tremendous positive impact on our physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual well-being. Fearful thoughts associated with breast cancer often prompts us to research every possible alternative or integrated self care option. Yoga is an option that can become a vital aid for us to handle the stressors from treatments, fatigue and depression and from the unknown. Practicing yoga can have better fitness outcomes, less stress and improved biological indicators of future risk of secondary cancers.

Benefits

  • Stretches arm pit chest, biceps, inner forearm
  • Pectoral muscle is widened
  • Opens shoulder joint and improves flexibility
  • Increases circulation and blood flow in chest
  • Strong hip opener and deep twist in inner core
  • Lengthen and strengthen side body and increases vitality
  • Massages lower abdominal organs and glands
  • Develops core steadiness
  • Enhances circulation to chest and shoulders
  • Expands ribs for deeper breathing

Instructions

  1. Begin in a wide stance, legs 3 feet apart with feet parallel.
  2. EXHALE, bend forward onto bolster or yoga blocks (make sure the leg remains anchored).
  3. Begin to roll out bolster so the arms can straighten (make surehips stay over knees and ankles.
  4. INHALE, draw tailbone and spine back so the spine lengthens and the chest comes toward the ground and allow the back bodyto broaden.
  5. EXHALE, lengthen sides of torso
  6. Let your legs and arms support the extension of the spine.
  7. Relax your neck and shoulders
  8. Stay for 5 full breaths, then return back to center.

Remember as you begin to practice yoga poses with awareness, you not only begin to feel better but you will also be able to feel; that is, you become sensitive to everything and everyone around you. As inner awareness expands and deepens both within and outside the body, we  consciously begin to overcome obstacles of fear, pain, anxiety. You can practice yoga in such a way that the practice becomes a much “larger yoga.” Our true nature is revealed through this new sensitivity and awareness. We intuitively begin to discover how to overcome certain obstacles on this journey with breast cancer.

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.

Yoga For Lymph Circulation: Arm Under Chest

Breast Cancer Yoga Arm Under Chest Yoga Pose

By:  Breast Cancer Yoga.

A really great way to relieve your shoulder tension and increase Range Of Motion for shoulder joints (frozen shoulder) associated with breast cancer recovery is with a chest extension inflection or better known in the yoga world as a heart opening flowing restorative yoga pose. With this wonderful yoga pose you will open up the heart, fill the lungs from the bottom up, and relieve shoulder tension.

Benefits:

  • Promote lymph circulation around axilla nodes
  • Helps heal scarring muscles and lessens tightness
  • Increases internal rotation and shoulder mobility
  • Strengthens scapula stabilizing muscle
  • Opens and lift chest
  • Increases ROM of shoulder joints – frozen shoulder
  • Increases internal rotation and shoulder mobility.
  • Releases shoulder tension that rounds your shoulders and binds your upper arm

Arms Under Chest Yoga Pose For Breast Cancer

Instructions:

  1. Begin on your back with knees bent in PARTIAL RECLINE. A neck roll or pillow can be used for added comfort.
  2. Lift hips up, slide right arm, palm down underneath lower back so you can see finger tips on left side. STOP IF YOU FEEL PAIN. Lower hips down and extend legs.
  3. Relax – breathe into the right side of upper chest until you feel a release in shoulder muscles.  Once the shoulder relaxes experiment sliding hand up your back towards shoulder blades.
  4. INHALE, left arm up and overhead for bigger additional stretch to breast region.
  5. Flow arm back up and down. When ready hold pose for 3/5 breaths.
  6. EXHALE lower arm back down, lift hips up and release arm from underneath.
  7. Repeat on other arm.

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.

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.

Yoga Online Class For Cancer Patients

online yoga classes for cancerWelcome to Yoga & Healing cyber yoga class room! These are interactive classes that are offered via the platform of Fuze (which is like Skype). All you need is a computer/iPad with a camera, internet connection, your mat, blankets and a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and an online sense of adventure!

Our instructors are able to watch you via the mobile device camera, offer guidance and support throughout the class just like you would have in a normal class situation. The great thing about these classes is that you can join in from anywhere. These are small group classes and spaces are limited. Bookings are required.

Yoga Online Course (live)

  • Thursday 6:00 am – 7:00 am Australian Time and Wednesday 2:00 – 3:00 pm.
  • Next 6 week course commences 9th March 2017 (cost $105)

Yoga is simply a state of being with our body in all that we do. The focus of these classes are about deeply re-connecting with one-self and enjoying a gentle movements and exercises in a way that truly supports and cares for the whole body. All our yoga classes offer an opportunity to deepen the quality of one’s presence and gentleness in all that one does, says and thinks.

Instructor: Donna Gianniotis. 6 week courses. Cost $105. For more information and bookings: Donna 0408 783187 or donna@yogaandhealing.com.au

To enjoy a free recording of our Body Awareness Meditation please click here.

Recording of the audio’s of these classes are also available for those who miss a class or for individual purchase of $20 per class.

Here is what people are saying about our online classes

I have never done yoga online before, but having been a face to face student of Donna’s I was excited to give it a try. The classes are wonderful! The connection is nurturing and deep. You really feel it in the stillness. So grateful for the convenience and connection these online classes offer! ~ Fiona Plascott

“It really is wonderful to enjoy all the benefits of a regular yoga class from my own lounge room floor. It’s also made classes accessible to me in a way they aren’t usually because of childcare & work commitments. Donna is able to provide all the guidance & support I need through this brilliant technical approach – & I love it!” ~ Gen Doyle

“Yoga Online is great for convenience – it removes that huge barrier of having to “get to the class (through the Sydney traffic!)”. The key to working online is both being live online and also having an instructor who is not only experienced but who has a high level of awareness so that the many geographically distributed class attendees can each feel their separate needs are being attended to and that the instructions are not simply robotically delivered like a canned YouTube recording. This is where Donna differentiates from other online classes –being live and online with Donna in these class sessions is really the way of the future for this form of well-being.” NG

Private yoga online sessions

Our practitioners also offer private online sessions of yoga. For bookings and appointments contact us. Cost for private sessions is $80. For bookings Contact Us →

What you need for online yoga classes

  • A computer or mobile device with a camera
  • Mat, blankets, warm clothing (for winter)
  • Comfortable clothing
  • A quiet place where you won’t be disturbed
  • Set up your computer/mobile device so that the camera is facing your mat
  • Download Fuze (free application). This is the platform that we will be using
  • An online sense of adventure!

Donna GianniotisAbout: Donna Gianniotis has been teaching yoga full time for over 14 years within Sydney and practised as an Esoteric Healing Practitioner since 2010. With a diagnosis of breast cancer at the age of 33, she started to question that there must be more to health and well-being than diet, exercise, meditation and yoga.

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