How Yoga Helps in the Management of Breast Cancer

Submitted by Allan on December 13, 2012

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in women in the United States. The detection and the following treatment is a daunting experience for any patient. Yoga is a complete science; it works on every level of human system, physical, mental or spiritual. There are series of studies which suggest a clear link between yoga and its conclusive benefits for the women with breast cancer.


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Some of the proven yoga benefits for women with breast cancer include:

  • Curbs depression: Studies have found that women undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy benefit greatly from yoga. Yoga helps develop a positive attitude and reduces negative feelings and thoughts.
  • Decreases stress: Cancer and its treatment are stressful.

    Yoga breathing exercises and specific asana (poses) are helpful in  alleviating stress.
  • Strengthens immunity: Gentle yoga exercises improve the immune system and help control the spread of the tumor.
  • Checks fatigue: Fatigue is the most common side effect of breast cancer treatment. Research reveals that women, who practice yoga regularly, feel energized and rejuvenated.
  • Counters pain: Practicing yoga helps to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by breast cancer treatment
  • Reduces sleep disorders: Several studies show that breast cancer patients who practice yoga are able to sleep better.
  • Reduces mortality: Yoga improves and strengthens the general functioning of the body. Regular exercise greatly improves the chances of  beating the disease.

Gentle Yoga Exercises

Here are a few yoga exercises which may help women with breast cancer.

  • Alternate Nostril Breathing (Anulom Vilom): This breathing exercise relaxes and calms the mind and body.
  • Upward Prayer Position (Urdhva Namaskarasana): This powerful pose  provides flexibility to the upper arms and elevates the shoulder girdle.
  • Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana): This pose increases the flexibility of the upper arms with the elevated movement.
  • Eagle Pose (Garudasana): The pose engages the arms and the shoulder blades and refreshes them.
  • Child’s Pose (Balasana): The pose relaxes and opens the underarm area.
  • Cat Cow Pose (Marjarasana): The pose opens up the torso and increases flexibility in the upper back.
  • Corpse Pose (Savasana): This pose is excellent for relaxation and a great stress  reducer.
  • Meditation: Regular meditation helps psychological functioning, reduces stress levels, and improves endurance.

Yoga is a powerful medium to deal with the physical and mental side effects of the breast cancer treatment. However, yoga should be incorporated into the daily routine in consultation with the concerned oncologist or a medical specialist. Also keep in mind that yoga can only compliment treatment, it cannot be used as an alternative to medical treatment.

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