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Yoga for Cancer Patients

The transformative power of gentle movement.



Yoga, a practice that harmonises the body, mind, and spirit, can be a beacon of light for those undergoing chemotherapy. It's more than just exercise; it's a form of self-care that respects the body's current state and seeks to enhance overall well-being. Here is a little about how it supports your mind and body while undergoing treatment:


The Benefits of Gentle Yoga

Enhanced Physical Strength and Flexibility: Chemotherapy can lead to fatigue and muscle weakness. Gentle yoga helps in maintaining muscle tone and flexibility without overexerting the body. Poses can be adapted to each individual's strength and energy levels, ensuring a beneficial practice even on low-energy days.


Improved Emotional Well-being: Yoga is known for its stress-relieving benefits. Through mindful breathing and gentle movement, yoga helps in reducing anxiety and depression. The practice encourages living in the moment, fostering a sense of peace and acceptance.


Boosted Immune Function:  By reducing stress and promoting a healthier lifestyle, yoga can play a role in supporting the body's natural defenses.


Enhanced Quality of Life: Beyond the physical and emotional benefits, yoga offers a sense of community and belonging. Joining a yoga class for cancer patients can provide social support and reduce feelings of isolation.


Things to Be Careful Of

While the benefits of yoga during chemotherapy are numerous, it's crucial to approach the practice with care:


Consult Your Healthcare Provider: Before starting any new exercise regimen, including yoga, consult with your healthcare provider if you have any specific concerns. Your yoga teacher will be asking you to fill in a form to check whether your blood counts are high enough to undertake a class. Your platelet count should be at least 20,000 (NIH)/200(NICE) and any surgical incisions must be healed.


Listen to Your Body: Each day may feel different. Honour your body by adjusting your practice according to your energy levels and physical comfort. Avoid pushing yourself too hard and rest whenever necessary. Every yoga for cancer class should be gentle and not rigorous, but even still, there might be days when it feels more challenging than others. When this happens, you can still gain a benefit from simply showing up and concentrating on breath work to help you relax.


Hygiene and Safety: Chemotherapy can weaken your immune system, making it important to practice in a clean environment and to use personal yoga mats and props.


Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before and after your yoga sessions to stay hydrated, especially important during chemotherapy.


Embracing the Journey with Yoga

Incorporating yoga into your life during chemotherapy is about nurturing yourself through gentle movement and breath. It's a practice that acknowledges your current challenges while also celebrating your strength and resilience. Remember, yoga is not about achieving the perfect pose but about finding what feels good and healing for your body and spirit.


The yoga community is a supportive and welcoming space where you can find strength, comfort, and healing.


If you would like to try yoga while undergoing treatment, get in touch with Mo who runs free online yoga for cancer classes every Tuesday from 11am-12pm. Mo is an experienced yoga teacher, trained in teaching yoga for cancer patients and her classes are lovely. To register or learn more about the class, email mo@yogaforcancernewforest.co.uk

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