Breast cancer diagnosis comes with concerns and stresses ranging from anxiety about undergoing surgery and treatment to uncertainty about survival and recovery. These result in heightened distress for patients which has be found to contribute to longer hospital stays, slower recovery, increased pain and a decreased immune response. Yoga is proven to be effective in reducing these feelings of distress and improving the immune response in breast cancer patients following surgery.
Yoga is highly beneficial for health and fitness is known. But just how effective it is, and how much it can relieve people, needs to be understood. Besides prevention of many lifestyle-related diseases, can one engage in yoga when recuperating from an illness? Grand Master Akshar, a philanthropist, spiritual master, lifestyle coach, yoga-preneur and author, particularly emphasises on breast cancer.
World Health Organisation has pointed out at breast cancer rates higher among women in more developed regions while the rates are increasing in nearly every region globally. In 2019 alone, approximately 2,68,600 cases of invasive breast cancer were reported among women while those diagnosed in men amounted to 2,670.
Yoga is about self-care and is a transformative experience designed to change the way we relate to stress, relationships and our lives. Gentle yoga is practised through poses, known as asanas, along with simple breathing techniques and relaxation practices. It can significantly reduce fatigue, stress and depressive symptoms in breast cancer patients, while giving them increased vigour and vitality.2 The asanas help develop strength and flexibility and promote relaxation.
This is crucial for receiving treatment for breast cancer. Studies show that obesity and being overweight can hinder the medicinal or treatment benefits to the patient,” he says, suggesting five poses and asanas to encourage patients to continue focusing on their health, and energise themselves in the process.
Yoga therapist Margery Hellman has been at the forefront of making yoga a significant part of breast cancer treatment at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for the last four years. She has journeyed with countless patients from the early stages of their treatment right through to survivorship.
Yoga in the LivingRoom, Mandy decided to take a chance and it paid off. She has found the effects of yoga therapy to be wonderful for her mental and emotional health. “The routine is very reassuring and helps me get through my day-to-day life. This consistency and being in a supportive space where the people remember you contributes greatly to a sense of community and wellbeing.