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Asana 46: 8 Best Yoga Asanas For Breast Cancer Survivors


The ancient practice of yoga originated in India, and in addition to the physical benefits it provides, it also offers a holistic approach to enhancing overall well-being. Yoga includes breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness techniques, and much more!

For your overall well-being, yoga would be the perfect choice as it helps with physical strength, flexibility, and even mental clarity and inner peace. In this article, we discuss yoga and breast cancer, yoga to cure breast lumps, yoga after breast surgery, yoga for healthy breasts, yoga to prevent breast cancer and yoga for breast cysts.

Can Breast Cancer Patients Practice Yoga?

Yes, they absolutely can! Yoga and breast cancer are linked, and this workout is often encouraged as a complementary therapy during and after cancer treatment, as it has gentle movements, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques to help manage the side effects of cancer treatments.

10 Benefits Of Yoga For Breast Cancer Patients

Yoga for breast cancer patients can offer several benefits, including:

Asana 46: 8 Best Yoga Asanas For Breast Cancer Survivors

1. Stress Reduction:

Yoga incorporates relaxation techniques and mindfulness, helping patients manage stress, anxiety, and depression commonly experienced during cancer treatment.

2. Physical Well-being:

Gentle yoga poses can improve flexibility, balance, and strength. It can also alleviate symptoms such as fatigue, pain, and stiffness.

3. Improved Sleep:

Regular yoga practice can enhance sleep quality, which is often disrupted in cancer patients undergoing treatment.

4. Lymphatic Flow:

Certain yoga poses aid in lymphatic circulation, potentially reducing lymphedema, a common issue after breast cancer surgery or radiation.

5. Emotional Support:

Yoga fosters a sense of community and emotional support, allowing patients to connect with others going through similar experiences.

6. Enhanced Body Image:

Yoga promotes self-acceptance and self-compassion, helping patients regain confidence and a positive body image post-surgery.

7. Boosted Immunity:

The relaxation response elicited by yoga may support the immune system, crucial for patients during and after treatment.

8. Pain Management:

Yoga’s gentle movements and stretches can help manage pain and discomfort, improving the overall quality of life for breast cancer patients.

9. Improved Breathing:

Yoga incorporates breathing exercises (pranayama), enhancing lung capacity and promoting better breathing patterns.

10. Holistic Healing:

Yoga addresses the mind, body, and spirit, offering holistic healing and promoting a sense of empowerment and control over one’s health journey.

8 Easy Yoga Poses For Breast Cancer Patients

Here are a few easy asanas of yoga for breast cancer survivors:

1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose):

Sukhasana offers relaxation and focus, perfect for breast cancer patients who are looking for tranquillity.

How To Do It:

  1. Sit cross-legged with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.
  2. Place your hands on your knees or in your lap.
  3. Focus on deep, slow breaths to relax the body and calm the mind.

2. MarjaryasanaBitilasana (Cat-Cow Pose):

This pose enhances flexibility and relieves tension, promoting balance and ease.

How To Do It:

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  2. Inhale, arch your back and lift your head and tailbone (Cow Pose).
  3. Exhale, round your back, tuck your chin to your chest (Cat Pose).
  4. Repeat this flow, syncing movement with your breath to improve spine flexibility.

3. Balasana (Child’s Pose):

Balasana gives soothing relief, allowing people to release tension and connect with their breath.

How To Do It:

  1. Begin on your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels, extending your arms forward.
  2. Lower your forehead to the mat, relaxing your chest towards the ground.
  3. Hold the pose, focusing on deep breathing and releasing tension in your back and shoulders.

4. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose):

This asana enhances resilience and poise on and off the mat.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet wide apart and arms parallel to the ground.
  2. Turn your right foot out and bend your right knee, aligning it with your ankle.
  3. Extend your arms, keeping your gaze over your right fingertips.
  4. This pose strengthens the legs and improves balance and focus.

5. Vrksasana (Tree Pose):

Vrksasana helps with balance and groundedness, reminding breast cancer patients of their inner strength.

How To Do It:

  1. Stand on one leg and place the sole of the other foot on the inner thigh or calf (avoid the knee).
  2. Bring your palms together in front of your chest or extend your arms overhead.
  3. Focus on a point in front of you to maintain balance.
  4. This pose helps in improving balance and concentration.

6. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose):

The bridge pose relieves back discomfort and promotes renewal, providing therapeutic benefits.

How To Do It:

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet hip-width apart.
  2. Press your feet into the mat, lift your hips towards the ceiling, and interlace your hands beneath your back.
  3. Hold the pose, opening the chest and strengthening the back muscles.

7. Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Twist):

Supta Matsyendrasana gently massages your inside, promoting digestion and a sense of release and renewal.

How To Do It:

  1. Lie on your back, bend your knees, and bring them towards your chest.
  2. Lower both knees to one side while keeping your shoulders on the mat.
  3. Hold the stretch, breathing deeply, and then switch sides.
  4. This twist helps in releasing tension in the spine and lower back.

8. Savasana (Corpse Pose):

Try this asana in the end to conclude your yoga sessions with profound relaxation, serenity and rejuvenation.

How To Do It:

  1. Lie flat on your back with legs slightly apart and arms by your sides, palms facing up.
  2. Close your eyes and focus on your breath, allowing your body to completely relax.
  3. Practice deep relaxation, letting go of any remaining tension in the body.

9 Safety Precautions And Tips

When practising yoga, especially for breast cancer patients, it’s essential to prioritize safety and well-being. Here are some precautions and tips to follow:

1. Rest and Recovery:

Allow your body ample time to rest and recover. Do not overexert yourself, and prioritize relaxation and self-care. Adequate rest is crucial for healing.

2. Choose Gentle Yoga:

Opt for gentle and restorative yoga styles, such as Hatha, Yin, or restorative yoga. These styles emphasize slow movements, proper alignment, and relaxation, making them suitable for cancer patients.

Read: 5 Effective Yoga Asanas For Breast Health here.

3. Inform Your Instructor:

If you attend a yoga class, inform your instructor about your medical history and current health condition. They can modify poses and provide alternatives to ensure your safety.

4. Listen to Your Body:

Pay close attention to how your body feels during the practice. If a pose causes discomfort or pain, modify it or skip it entirely. Avoid pushing yourself too hard and honour your body’s limitations.

5. Avoid Strain:

Breast cancer patients, especially those who have undergone surgery or radiation, should avoid straining the affected area. Be mindful of movements that involve the arms, shoulders, or chest, and avoid excessive stretching or pressure on these areas.

6. Use Props:

Props like yoga blocks, straps, and bolsters can provide support and make poses more accessible. Props can help you maintain proper alignment and reduce the risk of injury.

7. Stay Hydrated:

Drink water before, during, and after your yoga practice to stay hydrated, especially if you are undergoing cancer treatment, which can cause dehydration.

8. Mindful Breathing:

Focus on mindful breathing (pranayama) to calm the mind and enhance relaxation. Deep, slow breathing can reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being.

9. Avoid Inversions:

Yoga poses to avoid after breast cancer include inversions like headstands and shoulder stands, as these poses put pressure on the chest and may not be suitable during or after treatment.

These yoga poses can be helpful for breast cancer patients to improve flexibility, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being. But make sure to consult a doctor or a qualified yoga instructor before practising these poses, especially during or after cancer treatment, to ensure they are suitable for your individual needs and condition!

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