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Yoga for cancer patients

When I started teaching chair yoga, my main focus was to assist office workers as I had suffered from lower back pain. However, during COVID-19 self-isolation I started teaching virtual chair yoga classes on facebook live and my friend’s relative from the UK joined online one day. After a gentle chair yoga class video live streamed, my friend shared with me that her 88 years old relative has lung cancer and that the chair yoga class on facebook live had helped her immensely.

Ashford Breast Cancer Support Group in UK contacted me soon after that beautiful comment and I was so happy to be able to help other cancer survivors that we organized a gentle chair yoga class for their members.

It was a really nice experience for all the participants getting to do chair yoga from the comfort of their own homes and noticing how their body was responding to the movements. Some of the attendees share with me their feedback after the class:

I thoroughly enjoyed the chair yoga session. It was comprehensive and easy to follow. This is so good for Breast Cancer patients that have had a mastectomy as it helps with the arm movement. I will check out Flowithme site for further information.” – Heather

Sara streamlined a live chair yoga class on Zoom for our monthly charity event. Sara is very personable and engaging and has a sense of fun in her teaching approach. All attendees felt revived and relaxed after the session. I would highly recommend her”. - Ann

There has been a lot of research and studies done on the benefits of yoga for cancer patients.

Benefits of yoga for cancer patients

1. Lower fatigue: Several studies have linked yoga with reduced fatigue in cancer patients. Several studies have reported a significant decrease in fatigue through the use of yoga.

2. Reduce stress: Battling a life-threatening disease is physically, emotionally, and mentally stressful. Yoga may be able to help with this aspect of cancer as well. One study found that practicing a seven-week yoga routine was able to reduce the likelihood of developing “mood disturbance” by up to 65 percent. Other research has found that the reduction in stress also improves quality of life, appetite, and could be responsible for reduction in pain.

3. Improve physical functioning: In addition to everything on your mind, cancer affects your ability to move. Spending time in the hospital or sick at home can make the body stiff and sore and make it more difficult to complete daily tasks. As a regular form of exercise, yoga is a gentle way to stay limber and active. A review of 16 trials found that regular yoga practice can improve functional well-being in both cancer patients and survivors.

4. Sleep better: a combination of physical and mental stress can make sleep difficult, but healing the body requires ample rest. Yoga can help with insomnia and make it easier for cancer patients to relax at night. Some research has found yoga to be able to help improve sleep quality, efficiency, and duration.

How to start?