Yoga is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. It has long been known that yoga has many spiritual and mental benefits, such as lessening anxiety and bringing an individual towards a state of tranquility. One of the lesser known wonders of yoga is that it actually helps to fight cancer.
How yoga helps the body fight cancerous cells
You're probably wondering how yoga could help to ward off a disease that in some cases medicine can't help. Yoga helps the human body to drain its lymph nodes. Through the process of bending, stretching and contracting of muscles, and movement of organs when an individual comes in and out of yoga postures, the lymphatic fluid is drained from the lymph nodes and spreads throughout the body.
This process pumps the immune rich fluid, lymphatic fluid, through your body. This allows the body's lymphatic system to fight infections in the body, to destroy cancerous cells mutating in the body, and to dispose of the various toxic waste byproducts of the human body's natural cellular functioning. Combined, these allow for a stronger immune system. In layman's terms, yoga allows the body to detox through the recycling of harmful cells.
How yoga helps the physical symptoms of cancer
Yoga increases cancer patient's mental and spiritual well being while providing physical benefits. Since yoga can be so helpful to individuals suffering from cancer, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute encourage cancer patients, survivors, and family members to attend yoga regardless of any physical limitations they might have. The Cancer Center claims that cancer patients that practice yoga can see improvement in their quality of relaxation and sleep, provide pain relief, lessen anxiety, fatigue, and nausea.
The YOCAS regimen
Yoga for Cancer Survivors, or YOCAS, is a program created specifically for those who are suffering or have suffered from cancer. This regimen was created by Dr. Karen Mustian from the University of Rochester in 2007. The ideal YOCAS regimen for individuals who have never dabbled in the practice of yoga are two 75 minute sessions a week. YOCAS engages in breathing exercises, meditation, and 18 Hatha and restorative postures. Cancer patients engaging in the YOCAS regimen can expect to see some relief from the physical symptoms of their cancer.
Another form of yoga that would be easier for cancer patients to engage in is Iyengar yoga. Iyengar yoga helps students learn and progress gradually. This allows for help in the development of a student's mind, body, and spirit by progressing step-by-step. This is done by moving from simpler poses to more advanced poses. Often, Iyengar yoga uses props to help students perform asanas, or poses. The props used in Iyengar yoga are typically items like belts, blocks, and blankets allowing students to learn and perform the asanas correctly. Since this form of yoga uses props to help with the process, it is easily accessible to people young and old making it another ideal form of yoga for cancer patients.
Yoga as a Healer
Ultimately, yoga is a healer. It helps the body fight off cancerous cells by draining the lymphatic system. Yoga helps cancer patients through easing their suffering during treatment. The YOCAS regimen is proven to help ease symptoms and suffering for cancer patients. Like YOCAS, Iyengar yoga is an another accessible form of yoga for cancer patients and survivors. There are so many benefits of yoga that it pays to set aside some time each week to practice some yoga. With yoga being such a healer and easily accessible to anyone, what are the reasons not to?