By Razan Mohamed ( Yoga & Cancer )
Yoga. Good for flexibility, inner peace, and strengthening. But for cancer survivors, practicing yoga could provide more than just extra bendiness. In fact, studies have found that yoga dramatically improves quality of life, energy levels, and longevity.
Yoga: An Ancient Practice
At first, Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which means “bind” or “join.” The first yoga practitioner come from ancient India; focusing on the idea to bring together mind, body and soul in meditation. For cancer survivors, who struggle with extreme fatigue, this practice can play a positive role in restoring health and energy.
Yoga vs Exercise
In modern times, yoga has found its way into health clubs and is used as a method to exercise and strengthen the body. But yoga was not originally about exercise, and in fact it is completely different to conventional workouts. Yoga focuses on slow, dynamic and static movements, unlike exercise when you have to perform rapid and forceful movements. What’s more, where weight training and aerobic exercises are designed to be performed until exhaustion, the postures in yoga are designed to energize the body. Another important difference is breathing. In yoga, breathing is slow and controlled, unlike during exercise you need to force your breathing .
Want to learn more about yoga? Check out our article Yoga for the Soul, originally published in our magazine in June 2016.
Yoga for Cancer Patients
Chemotherapy and other treatments, while part of the fight against cancer, are incredibly hard on the body. Cancer patients experience extreme tiredness after their treatments, and as a result; they end up with reduced physical function and fitness levels, as well as increased levels of depression and anxiety. In 2011, researchers observed the impact of yoga on a group of breast-cancer survivors. In other words, this study, published in the journal of the American Cancer Society; found that practicing yoga resulted in large reductions in anxiety, depression, and tiredness. We should also note the great improvement in the survivors’ quality of life. While the study called for further investigation into the beneficial effects of yoga; researchers concluded that yoga can help cancer survivors improve their health and lower their risk of relapses.
Health Benefits of Yoga
That’s because yoga have an association with many physical and mental benefits. It can:
- Improve flexibility
- Boost weight loss
- Increase strength
- Protect from injury
- Relieve chronic stress
- Reduce anxiety
- Sharpen concentration
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce insomnia
Thanks to its many physical and mental health benefits; so yoga has proved a useful tool for improving quality of life for cancer patients. It improves flexibility and strength, energizes the body, calms the mind and protects the body from further health complications. While yoga may not cure cancer, it certainly helps people who are going through it. Do you know someone who could benefit from adding yoga to their life?References