Cancer patients find relief with yoga exercises
By Diamond Hunt-Coleman
Senior Outlook Writer
Imagine waking up every morning and looking in the mirror, only to see a pale comparison of the person you use to be. Unhappy with the emotions your face gives off, you pick up your comb only to find your crown and glory thinning. Your comb doesn’t work so you attempt a makeshift ponytail but chemo has left your mobility limited.
The worst part of bat- tling cancer, is not just the symptoms of the disease itself, but often the discom- fort and debilitating fatigue brought on from cancer treatments. Whether faced with the scar tissue from surgery, ongoing nausea, the weakness from chemo- therapy or radiation, cancer patients endure a long road of physical trials.
With the advice of doc- tors many cancer patients are now taking a new route to maintaining a healthy body and a healthy mind by incorporating yoga into their regular workout regimen.
Cancer or not, yoga has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, boost brain power and eliminate toxins from the body.
More patients are look ing into yoga to relieve their stress and to help their bodies get back to where they use to be, gyms and fitness centers such as Jour- neys In Yoga are offering more classes tailored towards cancer patients.
“We are a very free flowing studio, we don’t care if someone is falling all over their mat,” said Su- zanne Harrell, owner of Journeys In Yoga, “We just care about helping people reach their goals of having a healthier mind, body and soul.”
According to a Harvard Medical School Mental Health Letter, the practice of yoga reduces stress and anxiety, which in turn reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure and eases breathing. The letter also states that patients who practiced yoga were also less sensitive to pain than subjects who did not and therefore better able to tolerate treatment.
Jean Di Carlo-Wagner is currently a yoga therapist and a 12-year colorectal cancer survivor. Prior to overcoming cancer, Wagner used yoga to help start her road to a ‘new normal’ life and then became a yoga teacher to help other survivors.
“Solid research has been coming out on other complementary therapies, with yoga as its star. Yoga addresses the physical aspects of healing, as well as mental, social, and spiritual ones,” said Wagner. “However, it has taken over a decade for yoga to become recognized as efficacious within the medical community. Doctors waited for scientific studies to be conducted before giving yoga their personal stamp of approval.”
Now that yoga seems to be gaining the “stamp of approval” from doctors, cancer patients such as Teri Cleeland; are using yoga classes not only to heal their bodies, but as a support group for the long road ahead.
“It’s great to be around other people who are going through the same things you are so it’s good for your body. It’s good for your mind to just share notes with other people that are on the same journey as you are,” said Cleeland.
For those enduring chemotherapy and radiation, yoga for cancer provides a means to strengthen the body, boost their immune system, and produce a
much-sought- after feeling of well-being. For those recovering from surgical procedures, such as that for breast cancer, yoga can help restore motion and flexibility in a gentle, balanced manner.
For information on Journeys in Yoga and how to increase your wellness while reducing stress and anxiety, visit journeysinyoga