Yoga as Cancer Care

BREATHING & GENTLE YOGA FOR CANCER PATIENTS

COMING HOME TO YOUR BODY, TO YOURSELF

My personal experiences have taught me about the unimagined healing power of yoga and meditation. I have cured my rheumatism, childhood traumas and emotional instability with it. My path has shown me that psychotherapy, a cognitive approach toward my problems was helpful but not enough. I needed more: an integration of the body, mind and spirit. 

 

I accompanied my beloved father through his eight years of fighting against lymphatic cancer.

Thanks to conventional medicine he stayed with us for many years. Nevertheless, we experienced many moments where death was around the corner but he was a fighter and loved life deeply. He was a very rational man and not into yoga. But autogenic training and meditation helped him get through many emotions and bear painful treatments. The worst weren't the symptoms of the disease itself but the fears, anger, sadness, terror, confusion, doubts, hopes, dis-illusions, debilitating fatigue, physical discomfort and the mere side effects of the medicine.

 

Nowadays, more and more scientific research is being carried out on the benefits of yoga and meditation practices. The assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa, as well as Dr. Lorenzo Cohen from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, have conducted  significant amount of cutting edge research that gives substantial evidence of the restoring qualities of yoga, the breath and meditation. We already acknowledge yoga and meditation as spiritual practices and now with these studies we can see how the same practices can have measurable positive effects on health and healing. Hence, yoga is often recommended by doctors as integral holistic rehabilitation.

 

While medical treatments aim to cure the body from the disease, they can cause discomforts and side effects. Medical staffs often do not have the time to accommodate the individual's physical and emotional needs and its complete well-being. I am convinced that an integrative approach of yoga, with a big focus on breathing and mindfulness meditation, alongside and supporting conventional cancer treatments can provide well rounded support for patients and survivors.

 

The Buddha once said: "There is no way home. Home is the way." 

In this spirit, coming home to your body, home to yourself, home into your heart can be the attention and compassion your body calls for. 

 

Tiny yoga, gentle, kind and soft, stimulates the detoxification of the tissue and nervous systems. It stimulates the immune system and builds new bone density which is often affected by radiation. Radiation also hardens the tissue and as a consequence restricts breathing. Breath work and yoga will help to gain inner space and wideness, new physical strength and increase overall well-being. Regularly practiced meditation resets the mind into a more positive emotional set balance. Also improving the sensing of the physical body strengthens intuition and trust. It empowers the practitioner to feel in control of their life, create hope and also provide a community. As a whole, especially breath work boosts the body's self-healing capacities. The body is very intelligent and all its organisms react super sensitive once we allow to listen, accept and surrender.

 

Since the body is very delicate and receptive, often medical treatments get stored as shocks and traumas in the tissue. This is natural. Though this can be undone through gentle touch, attention and dedicated self-love towards the body and oneself. 

 

Likewise a regular mindfulness meditation practice also undoes tensions and anxieties. Meditation bestows moments of stillness and quiet, through which the mind is clarified and gains focus. New joy, self-confidence and vitality can be obtained through it.

 

The practice can turn you into a lion or lioness, fighting, healing and regaining power because the healing process initiates within.

 

Book Recommendation: Anticancer Living: The six step solutionto transform your health. By Dr. Lorenzo Cohen

 

 

"I believe that the unity of mind and body is an objective reality. They are not just parts somehow related to each other,

but an inseparable whole while functioning. A brain without a body could not think."

- Moshe Feldenkrais -

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