yoga certificationBy Faye Martins

Cancer is a very painful disease in so many different ways; it takes away the health and it also seems to take away an individual’s future and freedom as well. Adding the practice of yoga can make all the difference in the life of a cancer patient.

Cancer’s Effect on the Whole Being

One of the most debilitating effects of this illness is the patient does not know what to do anymore. A cancer patient doesn’t know how much longer they will live. None of us can be certain of the number of breaths we will take during the course of our lives. However, people who are seriously ill feel this view of mortality more keenly. They also have a hard time knowing what to do, while suffering from the condition. ‘What on earth do I do now?’ is a common question they find themselves asking.

In truth, these people are asking a fundamental question that most humans fail to ask unless faced with dire circumstances and suffering. The real questions are: ‘How do I simply be?’ and ‘What is it like to just be?’

Cancer is extremely trying and few would wish this level of suffering on anyone, but like any other experience we perceive as bad, there is a beautiful opportunity for inner transformation and the discovery of true being and peace. Why not use this negative experience for good? What could it hurt?

Yoga for Cancer Patients

Yoga training techniques for cancer patients vary from the typical asanas, practiced in an average class, in that they are done with more care and attention to the body. The last thing a competent Yoga teacher wants to see is one of his or her students causing self-inflicted pain and discomfort.

Yoga practice helps ease the painful side effects of cancer treatments as well. Chemotherapy is known to cause muscle soreness, stiffness, nausea and a general sense of discomfort. The gentle stretches in yoga loosen the muscles, ease tension and the thoughtful breathing reduces nausea as well.

Therapeutic Yogic Methods for Recovery

Gentle, restorative, and therapeutic Yoga are acceptable for a cancer patient to practice as long as the instructor exercises caution regarding the patient’s particular variety of cancer.  Yoga instructors must be careful with patients who are suffering from bone cancer since the bone can be more fragile and is prone to breakage. For those individuals, meditation may be a better course of treatment, which yields many of the same benefits.

Another potential problem area is lymph edema in breast cancer survivors; lymph edema is also known as “lymphatic obstruction.  Unfortunately, this condition can last a long time. For those patients, pranayama, meditation, and Restorative asanas, with a competent Yoga teacher may be a better choice.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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