This treatment modality is thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health. Yoga should be used with, not in place of, standard cancer therapy.
What does yoga involve?
Yoga exercises, actually hatha yoga, were developed in India and are an ancient practice intended to unify the body and mind. Yoga is usually performed in group classes and includes three dimensions: breathing exercises, body postures and meditation. By assuming a series of asanas (positions), you will stretch all the muscle groups in the body. Through controlled breathing and meditation, yoga postures seek to enhance prana (life force) that resides in the body and bring balance between the body and the mind.
How is yoga thought to improve wellness and optimize overall health?
Yoga is intended to unite the mind, body and spirit to reach the highest possible levels of consciousness. Yoga has been defined as a system of personal development and when practiced regularly, yoga can promote relaxation, enhance well-being and improve quality of life for cancer patients.
What has been proven about the benefit of yoga?
While yoga is not a cure for cancer, it has many positive benefits for cancer patients. Research has shown that yoga, practiced regularly, can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress and improve blood pressure, concentration, sleep and digestion. Yoga is often recommended to relieve pain and anxiety associated with cancer. Scientists do not understand how yoga produces these positive effects, but it is speculated that it works largely by relieving stress, similar to other mind-body therapies.
What is the potential risk or harm of yoga?
Patients who have recently had a back injury or surgery should avoid yoga. Patients with arthritis, a slipped disk, heart disease or high blood pressure should check with a doctor before beginning any type of exercise. Muscle stiffness may be experienced when first beginning yoga exercises while the body adapts to this new form of exercise. This stiffness should be short-lived.
How much does therapy cost?
Costs will vary with yoga instructors.
For additional information:
American Yoga Association
P.O. Box 19986
Sarasota, FL 34276
Telephone: (941) 927-4977
Web site: http://www.americanyogaassociation.org
Note: Information about therapies is intended to help you make informed choices, not to endorse any particular therapy. The information is courtesy of "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer Patients," a handbook written as an independent study project by Heather Morein. For more information, see the full text of the handbook (PDF), including all references and appendices.