Research has shown that yoga and other types of mind-body practices can help improve patient outcomes, particularly quality-of-life. However, none have become standard of care, or are on the clinical care pathway for cancer patients.

Patients who participated in the yoga program reported that their ability to engage in everyday activities - walking up stairs or around the neighborhood, carrying groceries - all improved. Studies also found improved sleep and reduced fatigue levels, and preliminary analysis suggests lowered stress hormone levels.

Practicing continuous flowing movements has a positive impact on the lymphatic system, and in particular Lymphedema. When lymph fluid is disrupted through breast cancer surgery, trauma or infection there may be an excessive fluid build up.  This stagnant fluid can play havoc on the tissues and create swelling. There also can be a reduction of the oxygen intake or absorption to the lymphatic system; all of which increases the chance for infection.

Practicing a flowing yoga (also called vinyasa, hot yoga or power yoga) keeps the lymphatic fluid pumping throughout the body’s channels, rather than accumulating or backing up. It is great for maintaining healthy breast tissue.  It will facilitate renewed or restored strength, and flexibility. 

Flowing yoga movements develop a supple and strong spine and a strong nervous system that help in creating great calm. 

When flowing in the practice the poses encourage digestion, assimilation and elimination.  The body’s immune system is stimulated to maintain health. When flowing from a backward bend to a forward bend, the spine will roll vertebra by vertebra, either in an ascending or descending order, while following the natural wave of the spine.  Here it will recognize naturally that a backbend (extension) will flow from a forward bend (flexion) and vice versa. 

People with certain medical conditions should not do certain yoga practices or should consult a medical pratitioner that is also knowledgeable about yoga poses and contraindiciations. For example, people with disc disease of the spine, extremely high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, retinal detachment, fragile or atherosclerotic arteries, a risk of blood clots, ear problems, severe osteoporosis, or cervical spondylitis should avoid some inverted poses.

Although yoga during pregnancy is safe if practiced under expert guidance, pregnant women should avoid certain poses that may be problematic and should only practice with a teacher trained in prenatal yoga.

There is so much to learn from survivors about being in a warrior pose. Living with fear and confronting it on a daily basis helps make a warrior. It is the first lesson cancer teaches a survivor, being prepared for the uncertainty of their new lifestyle. A life-threatening illness can help us all learn how to live fearlessly.

Yoga can boost a woman's quality of life while she's being treated for breast cancer. According to recent research, women who did yoga classes had better emotional, social, and spiritual well-being compared to women who didn't do yoga. Women who were not having chemotherapy got more benefits from yoga. This could be because fatigue and other chemotherapy side effects may make it harder to participate in a yoga class.

What questions should I ask my doctor about Yoga?

What types of Yoga might:

Help me cope, reduce my stress, and feel better?
Help me feel less tired?
Help me deal with cancer symptoms, such as pain, or side effects of treatment, such as nausea?
Improve my level of vitality and wellness?
Are there any kinds of yoga (hot, power, kundalini) or poses ( backbends, inversions, balancing) that I should avoid?

If I decide to try a Yoga:
Will it interfere with my treatment or medicines?
Can you help me understand these articles I found about ygoa?
Can you suggest a yoga practitioner for me to talk to?
Will you work with my yoga practitioner?

For Tips about yoga and weight loss, visit: Yoga Poses Weight Loss

Author's Bio: 

Jasmine Kaloudis teaches at Synergy By Jasmine  in Philadelphia. For free images of yoga poses with tips on how to do them, email info at synergybyjasmine dot com with "Request Yoga Poses and Tips" in headline.

For more recent blog posts about mind, body, spirit topics and stress-management - Follow us for inspiring quotes, vitality, meditation, yoga and stress-management

For reviews about gifts for yoga enthusiasts, visit:
Yoga Gifts