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For Any Cancer Diagnosis

  • Q.

    I've thought about trying yoga (currently receiving radiation therapy), but am concerned I'm not strong enough or I'll somehow hurt myself. Are there special programs that are for people with an illness/cancer?

    A.

    Yoga is a wonderful practice to consider while in treatment or post treatment for cancer. Yoga has been proven to reduce the psychological stress caused by one’s diagnosis while helping to manage the physical symptoms and side effects of treatment. Patients should always speak to their doctors to ensure that yoga is safe and right for them prior to practicing. It is important to be aware of any physical limitations that exist as a result of surgery or treatment.

    One of the great things about yoga is it can be easily adapted or modified based on the individual’s needs. It can also serve as the perfect segue to more intense workouts. If new to yoga, it is best to start at a studio with a licensed instructor to learn the proper techniques and potential modifications. Reach out to the oncology social worker on your team to learn about any local programs. There are also many free classes available online that are tailored to the needs of cancer patients.

    You may read more about yoga in an article I wrote “The Benefits of Yoga for Cancer Patients.”

  • Q.

    I have not done yoga in a long while and I'm feeling stiff and uncomfortable one week after my laparoscopic total hysterectomy. Can I do stretching and some slight bending?

    A.

    Yoga is a wonderful practice to consider when beginning to exercise after recovering from surgery. One of the great things about yoga is it can be easily adapted or modified based on the individual’s needs. However, it is incredibly important to have a conversation with your doctor prior to starting yoga to ensure it is safe to practice and make yourself aware of any new physical limitations caused by surgery. Most doctors recommend waiting a certain period of time prior to engaging in any sort of physical activity, especially if you are experiencing pain and stiffness. Once you get your doctor’s approval, it is best to start at a studio with a licensed instructor to learn the proper techniques and modifications needed. There are many stretches and poses meant to ease one’s body into the movements.

    Yoga has been proven to reduce the psychological stress caused by one’s diagnosis, while helping to manage the physical symptoms and side effects. If you are interested in practicing, contact the oncology social worker on your team to learn about local programs. There are also many free classes available online that are tailored to the needs of cancer patients.

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