Yoga proves to be an ideal approach to self-care cancer survivors…
Breast cancer affects many of us: One in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. The good news is that more women today are beating the illness. There are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Yoga can be a valuable part of the process of healing and recovery from the disease, and classes for cancer patients and survivors are readily available. “Yoga can help women who have cancer find solace and learn to deeply care for themselves,” says Linda Sparrowe, a yoga teacher who co-leads yoga and meditation retreats for women touched by cancer.
New academic research backs this up. Several studies published this year show that yoga offers effective relief from the physical and mental affects of the disease and the side effects of treatment. These effects include symptoms such as fatigue, pain, swelling, stiffness, stress, and depression.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that after practicing Iyengar Yoga twice weekly for 12 weeks, breast cancer survivors were less depressed and exhausted and felt greater vitality. In another study of Iyengar Yoga, conducted at Washington State University, Spokane, participants felt better physically and emotionally, and they had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This does more than reduce anxious feelings: Elevated levels of cortisol may contribute to cancer recurrence and earlier mortality among breast cancer survivors.
Yoga can also help survivors regain trust in their bodies. In a study at Indiana University, Bloomington, women who participated in and eight-week hatha yoga program were stronger and more flexible, felt less self-conscious about scars from surgeries, and were more accepting of their changed bodies. “Yoga helps us feel more comfortable with our bodies and ourselves,” says the study’s lead researcher, Van Marieke Puymbroeck, a professor of recreation therapy at Indiana University. “It helps us build inner resources to respond to life’s challenges.”
Specialized Restorative Yoga Retreats for women living with cancer…
Red Feather Lakes, Colorado – www.shambhalamountain.org
Bolinas, California – www.commonweal.org
New York City – www.thelibbyrossfoundation.com
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! The Komen for the Cure fundraiser travels all across the U.S. raising money for breast cancer research. Click on the Komen for the Cure link to find the Race for the Cure event in your town!
In Birmingham the event is Saturday, October 15, 2011 at Linn Park. Click here to see the information for Birmingham’s event. I will be running the 5K in honor of a few amazing women I know!