Yoga is the practice of creating unity between mind and body. When there's a disconnect between mind and body, our lives move out of balance, causing stress, fatigue and ultimately, illness. When you unify your mind and body through yoga, the reverse occurs. Your body can start to heal and re-balance naturally, helping you to feel healthier, happier and more alive.
Here are a few reasons that yoga helps you heal:
1. Yoga brings attention to your breathing, which is the single most important thing that you do every day.
2. Yoga is a spiritual practice that allows your mind to soften and your heart to open.It can bring your awareness to the tension being held in your body, so that you can let it go.
3. Yoga can help you stay connected to yourself. Its a great way to know what is important for your body and soul.
4. Yoga can help you to gain clarity about things you're working through each day.
5. Yoga can help you move beyond a negative inner-dialogue.
6. Balance poses in yoga invite you to get out of your head and into your body.. There are lots of different styles and levels of yoga allowing you to find the best 'fit' for you
7. Yoga gives you healing tools to better cope with stressful events and trauma.
8. Yoga re-balances your body and can help with weight loss, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), inflammation and other chronic ailments.
9. Yoga classes are a great way to meet new, interesting and like-minded people.
10. Creating a regular yoga practice can bring more flexibility and strength to your body. the twists in yoga can help you feel stronger and better able to cope with life's unexpected turns.
11. Yoga supports you to consciously make better and healthier food choices.
12. Yoga opens you up to new feelings like inspiration, joy and gratitude.
YOGA AND CANCER:
There is no assurance that yoga will cure cancer; however, it may make cancer and its treatment more bearable, both physically and emotionally.
Cancer patients are discovering that yoga offers both an accessible form of exercise and a path to mental clarity that is a welcome addition during and after treatment.
For cancer patients, the breathing and meditative aspects of the practice can create much needed clarity and peace, while the poses themselves provide a beneficial form of exercise during treatment.
As one of the steps on Patanjali’s eight-step path of yoga, pranayama has been practiced by yogis for thousands of years as a way to quiet the mind and tap into the subtle, energetic realms of the body. Prana is a Sanskrit term for the vital life force that animates all things; ayama translates as extension or elongation. Pranayama enables the practitioner to access prana and connect with the vast energetic network of the subtle body by controlling and playing with the flow of breath.
Current research has shown that beyond these subtle effects, pranayama has numerous observable health benefits. Several studies provide evidence that yogic breathing exercises help to induce a relaxed state by enhancing the action of the parasympathetic nervous system (otherwise known as the “rest-and-digest response”).
Researchers at the University of California – San Francisco investigated how the health benefits of pranayama specifically apply to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
The study had two aims:
1. To determine whether it’s feasible for patients undergoing chemotherapy to practice pranayama
2. To gauge the effect of pranayama on common chemotherapy-associated symptoms (fatigue, sleep disturbance, stress, anxiety, depression) and quality of life (QOL)
The researchers concluded that pranayama is appropriate, beneficial, and can be safely recommended for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Further study in this area will hopefully offer even more definitive evidence of pranayama’s efficacy.
Below are instructions for the four breathing techniques taught to and practiced by patients in the study.
1. BREATH OBSERVATION:
Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Breathe naturally. Avoid forcing, controlling or manipulating your breath. Shift your attention to your breath. Simply observe and experience it without any judgment. You might notice the soft whispering sound the breath creates; how long or short the breath is; how deep or shallow it feels; or where in your body you feel the breath most noticeably. At certain points during this practice, you might notice that your mind is no longer focused on the breath. When this happens, acknowledge that the mind has wandered and gently guide it back to the breath.
2. UJJAYI (Victoriously Uprising Breath):
Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Keeping the mouth closed, inhale and exhale through the nose. Partially close the glottis (the opening between the vocal folds) by slightly constricting the muscles at the back of the throat. The action in these muscles should feel the same as when you exhale your breath onto a mirror to create fog. As the muscles contract, you’ll begin to notice that your breath creates a soft whispering sound similar to the sound of the ocean. Continue to create this sound with the breath and find a steady rhythm, breathing in for the same amount of time that you breathe out.
KAPALBHATTI* (Skull Shining Breath)
Sit comfortably in an upright position and bring your attention to your lower belly. It can be helpful to rest one or two hands on the belly below the navel. Breathe in deeply then exhale completely. Inhale about halfway; then begin a series of short, sharp exhalations by pumping the abdomen. After forcing the air out by contracting the abdomen, release the belly and passively inhale. Repeat this several times. Start with however many breath cycles (one inhale and one exhale) you can comfortably do, then relax and breathe normally. Gradually over time, increase the number of cycles.
*Kapalabhati is not recommended if you are pregnant or suffer from high or low blood pressure, glaucoma, cardiac issues, or hernia.
3. NADI SHODHANA (Alternate Nostril Breath):
Sit comfortably in an upright position. Spread the fingers of the right hand. Create Vishnu Mudra by curling the right index and middle fingers in towards the palm, while the thumb, ring finger and pinky remain extended. Hold the right hand just beside the nose as you take a deep breath in through both nostrils. Close the right nostril with the thumb then exhale through the left. Inhale through the left, close both nostrils by lightly touching the ring finger to the left nostril and the thumb to the right. Lift the thumb and exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril, close both, then lift the ring finger and exhale through the left. Continue for several cycles of breath.
BELIEVE in yourself and go wisely. If you are detected with Cancer in early stages then follow the precautions and rules and see the magic of your spiritualism and yoga. Take care and live well!
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Author- Srishti Jain.