How can Yin Yoga help cancer patients? It is quite unfortunate that the cancer rates have jumped so dramatically over the last few decades. Many experts believe that this exponential increase is due to the high levels of toxic chemicals in our food, water and air, in addition to the depleted soil that much of our food is grown in. According to some of the experts, the cancer rates have risen from 1 in 20 people confronting a cancer diagnosis during the 1920s, to 1 in 2 men or 1 in 3 women experiencing cancer at some point in their lives today.
This daunting increase in the cancer rates means that many Yoga practitioners will be faced with a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. In turn, many “cancer warriors” will turn to the strengthening, balancing and relaxing benefits of Yoga to augment their healing cancer strategy. Additionally, many teachers will have students in their classes who are currently fighting cancer, or who are cancer survivors. You may even be a cancer survivor yourself and know firsthand the profound benefits of a regular Yoga practice, during cancer treatment and recovery.
If you are a Yoga teacher, and you have a number of students in your class who are battling cancer, you may want to start a class designed specifically for the needs of those students. Maintaining a regular fitness regime, both during and after cancer treatment, helps to support an individual in maintaining his or her physical and emotional health and well-being. However, many of the conventional cancer treatments often leave a cancer patient feeling weak, dizzy and self-conscious.
Not feeling energetic or at their peak physical shape, will often dissuade a cancer patient from attending Yoga classes. By designing a Yin Yoga class that is gentle and restorative in nature, you will enable your students who are contending with cancer to continue with a regular practice of Yoga, which will support their overall well-being. The simple act of being able to attend classes at a studio with other students during cancer treatment is a morale booster, because it maintains a sense of normalcy and hope in a cancer patient’s life.
The key is to offer classes that are challenging, but manageable, for those students who are fighting cancer. Yin Yoga is particularly good for cancer patients, because of its emphasis on longer holds and supported postures. This quieter, restorative form of Yoga allows deeply held tension in the connective tissues of the body to be released, as the nervous system and mind begin to quiet and come to a place of rest. Releasing physical tension and allowing the mind to rest is of quintessential importance during cancer treatment and recovery. Often, the emotional experience of having cancer and the physical trauma from the medical and surgical procedures employed to treat cancer, leave a cancer patient reeling.
If you are in treatment or recovering from cancer, by participating in a Yin Yoga class at your local studio, you will re-establish a sense of normalcy in your own daily life. Some Yoga studios even offer classes that are specifically designed for cancer patients. As you begin to recover from cancer, you may find that you are able to participate in more vigorous forms of asana practice over time. As you get stronger, a balanced practice of Hatha and Yin Yoga postures may be the perfect fit for you, during your cancer recovery process.
If you are a teacher, designing a Yin Yoga class for those students who need a slower paced, restorative practice will help to ally any fear