By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed
One of the primary ways that our body has of removing toxins is through the lymph system. There are approximately 600-700 lymph nodes throughout our bodies. These little nodes help to filter out and remove toxins and pathogens that accumulate in our bodies over time. Detoxifying metabolic wastes, pathogens and chemicals that build up in our bodies is critically important if you are a cancer patient. Encouraging the healthy flow and detoxification of the lymphatic system is also critical to maintaining your health in the present and preventing cancer in the future.
If you are currently contending with a cancer diagnosis, you may feel quite self-conscious about continuing to practice Yoga during the course of treatment. This is a very understandable reaction for many Yoga practitioners, who are facing a cancer diagnosis. During the course of conventional cancer treatment, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, you may feel that your overall health, well-being and vitality are compromised. You may also feel shy or anxious about continuing to practice Yoga during your process with cancer, because you feel fragile physically and/or emotionally. Additionally, you may feel self-conscious about the ways that cancer is negatively impacting your body.
Of course, each person's process with cancer is unique, and the impact and effect of cancer treatment protocols on each cancer patient is also highly individual. If you are contending with a cancer diagnosis, maintaining an appropriate exercise program is critically important during the course of treatment. Many cancer patients find that Yin Yoga classes are more accessible and manageable during the course of their cancer recovery process. Yin Yoga classes are restorative in nature and each posture is held for an extended period of time, often for 3-5 minutes.
This slower paced Yin Yoga style is often more relaxing and restorative for many students who are recovering from cancer, instead of moving quickly through a physically demanding sequence of asanas, such as in Ashtanga or Bikram Yoga classes. Yin Yoga postures are also highly effective at increasing the healthy flow of the lymph through the lymphatic system, which will improve the overall functioning of your immune system. Additionally, Yin Yoga poses also help to gently and effectively release the tension that is held in the connective tissues of the body.
If you have undergone a surgical procedure to remove a cancerous tumor and/or lymph nodes, you may have a sensation of physical armoring or tension in that particular area. Gently engaging in Yin Yoga postures will help to release this tension and will help to improve the lymphatic flow in that area. There are also specific types of massage that will help to improve lymphatic flow. In addition, rebounding, or jumping on a mini-trampoline, is reputed to be highly effective for improving the functioning of your lymphatic system.
Do be aware that it is important to check with your doctor or surgeon before engaging in any form of exercise after surgery or other cancer treatments. If your doctor says that it is safe for you to engage in a Yoga practice, participating in some Yin Yoga classes will help to soothe your mind, improve your flexibility and increase the functioning of your lymphatic system. Practicing gentle Yoga postures regularly will also help to increase your muscle strength, flexibility and boost your overall sense of well-being.
Preventing a sense of isolation and maintaining your connection to supportive family members and friends is critically important to warding off the depression that is so common to many cancer patients. Participating in classes at a local Yoga studio or health club during the course of your cancer treatment and recovery, is one way that you can easily maintain your connection with other like-minded individuals and help to foster an internal spirit of optimism and hope during your cancer journey. There are also many resources online that offer information about other complementary and integrative approaches to healing cancer, including the benefits of a modified Yoga practice.
Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York; where she specializes in writing customized, search engine-optimized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: email@example.com.
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