Guest article written by Barbara O’Brien.
For those suffering from mesothelioma or other cancers, yoga presents a healthy alternative to strenuous exercise and is regarded as a valuable addition to holistic approaches towards cancer. Dating back to ancient India, yoga emphasizes spiritual insight and tranquility and offers a variety of health benefits ranging from increased flexibility to lowered stress levels. Though its roots are found in Eastern Mysticism, yoga has since been adapted and accepted by mainstream exercise enthusiasts and medical professionals alike. While some yoga classes focus solely on relaxation and breathing techniques, most incorporate physical components as well in order to strengthen both the body and the mind. Following a discouraging mesothelioma prognosis, sometimes the ability to clear and focus the mind can be the most important factor in overcoming the difficulties of traditional cancer treatments. Yoga, in concert with these therapies can provide a more holistic approach to general treatment.
The most obvious benefit of yoga for cancer patients is the increase in physical health and wellbeing. Because yoga requires the body to move and remain in a variety of positions
, those who participate often increase their muscle tone, dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Yoga has also been shown to lower blood pressure, increase circulation and improve cardiovascular endurance.
Besides the added physical benefits, yoga promotes emotional health and wholeness as well. By focusing on the relationship between the mind and the body, yoga often leads to increased mental health and emotional wellbeing. Relaxation techniques are a key component of yoga and controlled breathing promotes reduced anxiety and stress. Furthermore, yoga has been shown to have a positive impact on a person’s mood and outlook on life. This is often contributed to the strong mind-body connection that yoga emphasizes, which helps individuals control their thoughts and emotions.
Additionally, yoga is an energizing, low-impact form of exercise, which offers the benefits of fitness and exercise in a non-competitive environment. Yoga emphasizes the individual’s own self-awareness and acceptance, rather than focusing on a competitive goal. This individualized form of exercise allows participants to move at their own pace and ability.
For cancer patients, one of the largest benefits of yoga is increased energy levels. By improving posture and strength, yoga participants often feel more awake during the day and sleep better at night. This combination of increased strength and added energy enables those battling a shortened mesothelioma life expectancy to continue in their personal journey towards health and wellbeing.
Guest blogger Barbara O’Brien represents Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, the web’s leading cancer resource for asbestos information. She blog posts at The Mahablog, and other health and political blogs have earned her the notoriety of being a panelist at the Yearly Kos Convention and a featured guest blogger at the Take Back America Conference in Washington, DC.