October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Cancer of any kind is a diagnosis no one wants to hear, but luckily many people are able to win their battle against this terrible illness. If you know someone on the road to recovery, RESEARCH HAS SHOWN that yoga can be a powerful tool to help those healing from breast cancer.
Reduce Inflammation & Stress, Gain Energy
For starters, a STUDY BY OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY found that a regular yoga practice reduced inflammation by up to 20 percent, and also helped survivors reduce fatigue by 57%. An April 2012 STUDY of 200 breast cancer survivors published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that yoga practitioners reduced three types of cytokines (proteins in the blood that are markers of inflammation) compared the study control group. In addition, the more often yoga was practiced, the greater the effect on vitality.
In March 2012, another STUDY reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that the yoga group showed lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and also reported less fatigue and improved quality of life. In another study published in BMC CANCER in 2012, researchers found that yoga participants experienced large reductions in distress, anxiety, and depression, as well as reduced fatigue, general quality of life, emotional function, and social wellness.
A Community of Support
Support is an essential part of healing. One of the other benefits of a yoga practice is the support network of your yoga community. Knowing others are here to help on the way to healing can also help survivors manage the stress of the recovery process.
If you’re just starting out with yoga for recovery, listen to your body to see what you need. Slower practices like Scholé RESTORE are ideal for getting started, and formats like Scholé IGNITE can help you progress once ready to continue exploring yoga for healing. Of course, consult with your doctor if you are recovering from any kind of illness before starting out with yoga or any other physical activity.
Simple Sequence for Practice at Home
While practicing with a community can provide additional support, here are some simple postures to get started at home. Again, talk with your doctor to make sure you’re at the right place in your healing process to start out. Don’t worry if your mobility range is different – the most important thing in any yoga practice is paying attention to your inhale and exhale as you move through the poses. This simple focus on breath awareness can help calm our mind, body and spirit to deliver the benefits of yoga without pushing too hard. Healing takes time, and a little patience will go a long way in restoring both body and mind.