By Paul Jerard, E- RYT 500

Pranayama, or yoga breathing, focuses on specific breathing exercises that invoke relaxation and enhance optimum recovery. Yoga instruction often employs guided relaxation, meditation, breath awareness, visualization techniques, and guided breathing exercises.

Students are guided to find a peaceful place, where they release their anxiety and pain. Pranayama techniques also have an extremely beneficial impact on the nervous system. Focused breathing brings calm to the mind and body, allowing for healing. Stress is the number one enemy to effective healing.

As with many ailments, yoga students, recovering from cancer, often suffer from decreased range of movement. Along with increasing muscle strength, yoga postures improve range of movement and flexibility. Posture is also improved, allowing proper body alignment and balance. With freer movement and mobility, cancer survivors will begin to grow lighter in spirit and feel more independent.

Yoga for cancer recovery should focus on providing the most benefit possible. This means patients should not push past the point of pain. The important thing for anyone to remember, who has been through a serious medical procedure, is to begin slowly. Perform the yoga poses in a way that is comfortably challenging. There will be some discomfort on the road to recovery. Steadily press forward, and find the internal limits, but avoid approaching the pain threshold.

Yoga instructors need to remember that yoga therapy requires adapting yoga practice to individual needs. Each student’s case will be different. Each class period will be different. Teachers must also learn to be healers and “go the extra mile” for any student recovering from cancer.

Those recovering from cancer, who choose yoga practice to assist their healing, will benefit greatly across the board. In addition to regular yoga practice, pay close attention to diet and nutrition. Yoga nutrition focuses on natural, whole foods that support the body’s functions. Support your body in every possible way to make a complete recovery when healing from cancer.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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