Yoga For Cancer

“When the reverberations of shock subside in you,
may grace come to restore you to balance.
May it shape a new space in your heart
to embrace this illness as a teacher
who has come to open your life to new worlds.
May you find in yourself a courageous hospitality
towards what is difficult, painful and unknown.”

  John O’Donohue

Yoga helps us feel better on all levels – mind, body and spirit. Yoga has helped many people through illness and injury and has helped to keep them calm and balanced through times of crisis and stress. Healing Space Teachers have seen how yoga can benefit people living with cancer, working first hand with people going through treatment and recovery.

Yoga is not a cure for cancer but it can help you balance body, mind and spirit to help you feel and function better. Yoga will help you to calm your mind so that you can cope better with your diagnosis and treatment. It can also help to alleviate symptoms and side effects such as tiredness, pain, nausea, sleep problems and depression. Post-treatment, yoga can be a gentle way to help you stay physically active, to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, to help keep you calm and centred and help you reconnect with your body, and celebrate life.

Read some of the evidence relating to Yoga for Cancer here 

What is involved?

Techniques include breathing and breath awareness, relaxation, visualisation, meditation and asana (postures) all of which can be adapted to your specific needs, ability and energy levels. Yoga can be adapted and is gentle enough for anyone, of any age and at any stage of cancer treatment.

Finding a Yoga class or teacher

One to one lessons are probably a good place to start if you have had a diagnosis of cancer,  especially if you haven’t done any yoga before, if you are still having treatment, or you have any residual symptoms, such as reduced mobility. If you have done some yoga, if you are recovering well from your treatment and if you are feeling relatively fit, then you can probably join a general level class, but make sure you have a full discussion with the class teacher first, so that they are able to help you modify your practice or discuss any contraindications with you.  There are increasing numbers of teachers who have trained with Healing Space, and other organisations, to work with people living with or recovering from cancer and heart disease, so it’s always worth asking around to see if anyone is available in your area.

Have a conversation with your yoga teacher before you turn up to class especially:

  1. If you have had recent surgery ( in the last 12 months)
  2. If you are still going through treatment, or are taking medication or are still feeling unwell
  3. If you have any special needs

In all cases, run it by your consultant, GP or CNS before you attend a class. If they need any more information – print this page. A verbal consent from them is all that you need, and your teacher will probably ask you to sign a registration form that says you have gained consent.

You can find contact details for all of our teachers, and their locations here. 

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