Cancer & Aids: yoga can help

It may be your own case, a family member or someone in your environment. But who does not know today what it is and what it means this cruel disease? Who has not lost someone even …


You know I’m a teacher of yoga and I believe greatly in their physical and mental benefits, but now have one more to tell you : it is a great therapeutic tool to help and accompany the process of cancer survivors.

I discovered this practice recently thanks to Zentro Urban Yoga , where Amy Dara, a great expert in this discipline , provides training to teachers.I talked with her two weeks ago to write an article on this topic. Here we summarize what Amy told me, why he uses the word “Survivor”, how is this type of yoga and how it can help those who are going through this very tough time.


Why this word? It’s the first thing I asked Amy Dara, an expert who has spent six years teaching training in the United States and Europe. “The word survivor or survivor is applied to living people diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment or have already passed , ” I said.

Amy, who lives and teaches yoga in Washington (also in a hospital),became interested in this subject through cancer survivors who came to their own classes and they obviously had special needs who knew attend.Dara was formed with Tari Prinster, another teacher to helping and, after overcoming breast cancer, developed the program “Yoga for Cancer Survivors” .


Benefits at all stages

As he explained Amy, yoga gears can be practiced at all stages of the disease but, ” every survivor has a treatment designed for your own type of cancer : one only need surgery, others require treatment forever, and most need some of each and you will have to inspections and tests performed periodically.

But as Dara says, “any cancer patient can improve both your physical and emotional state throughout practicing yoga disease”. These benefits, backed by studies extend to the quality of sleep, fatigue and anxiety generated by this disease, and help reduce medication intake. Amy the details at each stage of the process:

Diagnosis. “The practice of yoga helps prepare the body (strengthening muscles and bones, improve flexibility and balance) and mind (overcome the trauma of being diagnosed and the fear of uncertainty) for treatments.”

Surgery . “Improving the immune system by moving the lymph through the body, it reduces the risk of blood clots and helps proper healing of the surgical site.


Chemotherapy / immunotherapy .”Relieves fatigue, improves concentration, calms stomach upset and increase self – esteem after hair loss.” This last point seems to me very important, because I know, for someone very dear and close, how it affected and worried this issue …

Radiotherapy . ” It reduces the risk of limited movement in areas affected by burns and relieves the discomfort of being in the same position for a prolonged time the radiotherapy machine range.”

Hormonal therapy . ” It balances the fluctuations of mood, helps prevent weight gain and to manage hot flashes.”

End of treatment . At this stage yoga “helps restore normalcy in the body and mind, to reduce the risk of depression after being left alone after so long with the health care team and caregivers, and to prevent and control the side effects of long term treatments. ”

Tests for detecting cancer . In these cases, according to Amy, yoga can help a lot to relieve anxiety.

But also stressed Amy me that “at each stage of yoga improves mood and empowers the survivor to care”. In addition, ” the classes also serve to benefit from the support and inspiration of the other survivors , ” he says. And I sincerely believe that doing some gentle exercise, guided and therapeutic with others who are going through or have gone through the same as you, with whom not have to worry about your looks or your emotional state, it can be very rewarding and beneficial .

But can any cancer patient practice yoga? As Amy says, yes, because “practice can be adapted to the unique needs of each person at each stage of treatment.”


How are classes

Yoga sessions for cancer last between 60 and 75 minutes. ” It is a combination of Hatha, Vinyasa and restoration ; a combination of postures, breathing techniques and meditation “is practiced. “And always so adapted to the needs of students , ” he says.

The benefits of this discipline are countless survivors of cancer, but there are also contraindications and positions that should never be done , “the positions of forward lean and strong torque to avoid the risk of vertebral fractures, because many cancer treatments they have as a side effect the early onset of osteoporosis. ”

” We also postures that put the weight for a long time in the arms should be avoided in case the cancer is located in the upper body for example facing dog posture and down, or feet in the case of the disease has affected the bottom, because they increase the risk of lymphedema , “he stresses. It said, it seems you can not teach a lot in yoga classes for cancer , but Amy says that there are many options. And indeed, yoga includes various positions and breathing practices and relaxation that can be used.


Undo myths

As he spoke with Amy, there are many myths surrounding the practice of yoga for a cancer process . In fact, that unfortunately are familiar with the subject know that what virtually all patients do when they are in treatment is simply rest, afraid to move , and much more to exercise.

But Amy says even that the practice of yoga does not have to be soft:“Many people tell cancer survivors to rest , when most want – can -move and exercise to calm your mind.”

“The important thing is that they know the medical precautions to take to avoid complications such as lymphedema, and not feel pressured to do more than they are capable of, ” he says. ” A certified yoga teacher to teach yoga for cancer can show them how to adapt practice at every stage , ” he says. This last point is important: practicing yoga or any other physical activity for cancer should be done with someone skilled and adapted form. Not just any yoga class or activity, albeit mild.

Lively Up Yourself!

Despite its benefits, yet few cancer patients in Spain dare to practice yoga, especially for lack of information. If this post has encouraged you to do, Amy recommends ” go without expectations and be open to what happens, you’re with other people who understand what you’re going through .” One last tip of Amy: “Before you begin, introduce yourself and talk to the teacher about your type of cancer.”

Where to go. In Zentro Urban Yoga  you can do a course or take lessons.In the Spanish Association Against Cancer you can also find workshops and yoga teachers even cancer. In the MD Anderson Center they offer yoga classes for cancer patients.

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