“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.”
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 – and now heart disease, working first hand with people going through treatment and recovery. Because of this, we are committed to offering yoga and relaxation for people living with these conditions.
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.
In addition to the benefits listed above, Yoga is an excellent way to ease yourself back into gentle physical activity if you have had a heart attack or stroke. It is also a perfect way to learn how to relax and regulate your cardiovascular and nervous systems.
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 or treatment for/recovery from a heart condition.
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, or have experienced a heart attack, stroke or living with other cardiovascular disease, 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.
In the case of heart/cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke or heart surgery, it is likely that you will have stable on your medication for about three months. In any event, speak to your doctor.
Have a conversation with your yoga teacher before you turn up to class especially:
- If you have had recent surgery ( in the last 12 months)
- If you are still going through treatment, or are taking medication or are still feeling unwell
- 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.
Healing Space teachers trained before 2018 are all able to work one to one with people living with cancer. All teachers trained therafter are also qualified to work with heart conditions. You can find contact details here.