yin yoga for cancer patientsBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed.

How can Yin Yoga help cancer patients? It is quite unfortunate that the cancer rates have jumped so dramatically over the last few decades. Many experts believe that this exponential increase is due to the high levels of toxic chemicals in our food, water and air, in addition to the depleted soil that much of our food is grown in. According to some of the experts, the cancer rates have risen from 1 in 20 people confronting a cancer diagnosis during the 1920s, to 1 in 2 men or 1 in 3 women experiencing cancer at some point in their lives today.

This daunting increase in the cancer rates means that many Yoga practitioners will be faced with a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. In turn, many “cancer warriors” will turn to the strengthening, balancing and relaxing benefits of Yoga to augment their healing cancer strategy. Additionally, many teachers will have students in their classes who are currently fighting cancer, or who are cancer survivors. You may even be a cancer survivor yourself and know firsthand the profound benefits of a regular Yoga practice, during cancer treatment and recovery.

If you are a Yoga teacher, and you have a number of students in your class who are battling cancer, you may want to start a class designed specifically for the needs of those students. Maintaining a regular fitness regime, both during and after cancer treatment, helps to support an individual in maintaining his or her physical and emotional health and well-being. However, many of the conventional cancer treatments often leave a cancer patient feeling weak, dizzy and self-conscious.

Not feeling energetic or at their peak physical shape, will often dissuade a cancer patient from attending Yoga classes. By designing a Yin Yoga class that is gentle and restorative in nature, you will enable your students who are contending with cancer to continue with a regular practice of Yoga, which will support their overall well-being. The simple act of being able to attend classes at a studio with other students during cancer treatment is a morale booster, because it maintains a sense of normalcy and hope in a cancer patient’s life.

The key is to offer classes that are challenging, but manageable, for those students who are fighting cancer. Yin Yoga is particularly good for cancer patients, because of its emphasis on longer holds and supported postures. This quieter, restorative form of Yoga allows deeply held tension in the connective tissues of the body to be released, as the nervous system and mind begin to quiet and come to a place of rest. Releasing physical tension and allowing the mind to rest is of quintessential importance during cancer treatment and recovery. Often, the emotional experience of having cancer and the physical trauma from the medical and surgical procedures employed to treat cancer, leave a cancer patient reeling.

If you are in treatment or recovering from cancer, by participating in a Yin Yoga class at your local studio, you will re-establish a sense of normalcy in your own daily life. Some Yoga studios even offer classes that are specifically designed for cancer patients. As you begin to recover from cancer, you may find that you are able to participate in more vigorous forms of asana practice over time. As you get stronger, a balanced practice of Hatha and Yin Yoga postures may be the perfect fit for you, during your cancer recovery process.

If you are a teacher, designing a Yin Yoga class for those students who need a slower paced, restorative practice will help to ally any fears that your students have about practicing Yoga during a time of illness. This is particularly true while your students are recovering from serious illnesses and major surgical procedures. By creating a soothing flow of restorative postures, you will be supporting the students who are in the process of recovering from cancer and other illnesses, both through the practice of the physical postures and the compassionate, welcoming sense of inclusion they will feel when they walk into your Yin Yoga class.

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York; where she specializes in writing customized, search engine-optimized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: enchantress108@gmail.com.

© Copyright 2015 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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