Yoga for Breast Cancer
Unfortunately, Cancer has become a common, everyday word that we hear. Friends, family, coworkers – we are all affected, whether its someone close to us or someone we see on TV. The chemotherapy process is long, and it leaves those going through treatment drained of energy and unable to live their every day normal life.
After learning that a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, I began to brainstorm ways that I could help make her days a little easier while going through chemotherapy (Did you know 1 out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast cancer in her lifetime?!). There isn’t much besides comforting words and actual gifts, so I decided to do some research and put together a few simple, modified yoga poses that could help increase energy, and even help manage pain.
Below are a series of poses I have researched and put together information for my friend – and for anyone else going through cancer treatment. It can be hard to summon up any energy during treatment, so for those who are used to being active, these poses are a nice way to incorporate a little workout in your life. They will also help bring relief, as well as encourage movement to fight the fatigue and pain!
**Hold each pose below for 5-10 DEEP breaths. This helps brings body awareness, increases energy circulating throughout the body, and helps with fatigue.
Benefits: relaxes the spine, stretches muscles in back
Modify: Bring arms to side
Body Position: Sit hips back on heels and lower your chest to your thighs, and head to ground. Bring arms over your head, or keep them at your side.
Benefits: Improves posture, stretches thighs & ankles, promotes circulation, reduces swelling
Modify: Kneeling, knees together, on toes; towel or blanket between calves & hamstrings
Body Position: 3 ways to do this pose
1) Sit back on heels, then slowly lower down to butt and let feet splay out to the side
2) Sit back on heels, knees together, feet tucked under
3) Sit back on heels, knees together, on toes
Benefits: Helps manage physical pain pre – & post op; stretches/lengthens lower & upper body; opens chest
Modify: Cushions or chair under front leg (optional), back knee on floor, hands rest to sides on blocks
Body Position: Front leg bent, knee over ankle; back knee bent, resting on the floor; arms rest at side with chest raised, or hands are resting on blocks at sides for support.
Benefits: Encourages deep breathing; nurtures lymphatic system
Modify: Chair under front leg (I used a side table with a blanket for cushion)
Body Position: Front leg bent, knee over ankle; hips open, back leg straight, grounding foot into the ground; arch of back foot should be in line with the heel of the front foot; hands at hips, or arms up, gaze over front fingertips.
Benefits: Improves Circulation, stretches muscle tissue around breasts
Modify: Towel or pillow under back
Body Position: Lay on back with pillow underneath the small of your back. Place your hands on your hips or keep them to your side.
Benefits: Releases tension; wrings out toxins in organs; gentle stretch
Modify: Do not bend knees as much; do not twist as deep
Body Position: Come to a seated position, feet in front, knees slightly bent. Chest up, spine straight. Twist slightly to the side, bringing one hand to knee & other arm behind hip. Option to sit cross-legged as well. (Don’t forget to repeat on other side!)
Benefits: Helps blood flow to chest; lymphatic drainage
Modify: Lay on side, with pillow in between legs
Body Position: Lay on one side with pillow between legs – bottom leg straight, top leg bent. Place your hands on your hip, then slowly raise your arm up over head, then back to hip. Simply laying in this posture while deep breathing is also beneficial. (Don’t forget to repeat on other side!)
Benefits: Helps release stress & muscle tension
Modify: Towel/pillow under back (not much to modify when laying on your back!)
Body Position: Lay on back with towel/pillow under the small of your back. Close your eyes and relax all muscles in your body! You can stay in this pose for longer than 5-10 breaths 😉
Hopefully this helps bring some relief for anyone going through cancer! There are a lot more poses that you can do, but I wanted to just give a few specifically focused on breast cancer.
For those who have had cancer or know someone who has/is going through treatment – have you heard of Yoga benefits for cancer? If yes, what have you heard? I would love to learn more!
The information I have provided is not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice. This is information that I have gathered on my own through a variety of sources, and if you decide to use/apply any of the ideas from my site, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. This information is not meant to diagnose or to treat any medical condition. Please consult with your primary care physician holistic doctor to diagnose/advise of any medical condition if you have any questions. I am not liable for any damages or negative consequences resulting from any action by any persons reading or following the information on this site.
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