I was recently asked by the Cancer Council to present a Webinar for cancer survivors on how yoga can help people manage their recovery from cancer and move forward into new ways of caring for themselves (you can register to view the Webinar HERE). Alongside me was Katherine, a young woman who has survived two different types of cancer and shares how yoga has helped her move beyond healing the body and into a state of wellbeing in which she is thriving in all areas of her life. She’s a true inspiration.
The webinar includes information on studies that demonstrate the benefits of yoga for cancer,including:
•Lower cortisol; the stress hormone that can inhibit immune system functioning, slow healing, disrupt sleep and increase ‘brain fog’.
•Reduce stress & anxiety
•Enhance coping and wellbeing
•Improve mood and reduce mood swings
As well as targeting specific side-effects of cancer treatment, yoga addresses the whole person – body, breath and mind. This contributes to an overall feeling of wellbeing that can make it easier to deal with the day to day ups and downs.
From a body perspective, yoga can help with physical rehabilitation after surgery, increased mobility, improving lymphatic flow and improving balance. It can also help reduce muscle tension, nausea, fatigue and swelling.
The breath is an important element of yoga and, because the way we breathe is intimately connected to the central nervous system, certain yoga breathing techniques can quickly reduce anxiety, steady moods and improve energy levels.
Which brings us to the mind. Yoga offers many techniques for calming the mind and creating a sense of deep wellbeing. From meditation and chanting to deep relaxation techniques, there are many yoga practices that can be adapted to suit the needs of each individual person. Try this short guided relaxation.
While it’s true that yoga offers many benefits for people recovering from cancer, it’s important to understand that there are many different styles of yoga. Not all practices are helpful if you’re managing a serious health condition and it’s worthwhile seeking out a yoga teacher who is either trainined in teaching yoga for cancer or who has a background in therapeutic yoga. If you’d like more information on how to find a teacher in your area, please let us know.
Enjoy the webinar and please let us know if you have any questions about yoga for cancer.
Nikola Ellis is the founder of Adore Yoga, yoga therapist, counsellor and teacher trainer. She conducts regular trainings that help people of all ages, shapes and abilities enjoy the benefits of yoga and meditation, including Meditation Facilitator Certificate Trainings; Level 1 200hr Teacher Training and Post Graduate Yoga Teacher Training in Mental Health, Adaptive Asana and the Foundations of Yoga Therapy and a highly regarded professional 650hr Graduate Certificate of Yoga Therapy.