he most asked question since we announced our YogaSpace Yorkshire 2020 Yoga for Cancer class is how will it differ from a regular class?
Well, it is not that the yoga will be so very different; it will be that those who attend are. They will be extraordinary students facing the challenges of their personal cancer journeys, unafraid to come to class with their ports, any compression bandages and wigs, foggy brains, anxiety and fatigue. .
The class is taught to support any cancer and welcome you to class during any stage except the post-operative scar healing period. Our students could come to class after a recent diagnosis and be pre-treatment, come during treatment or be in remission. The class is there for you if you feel the class can help you.
“You know, once you’ve stood up to cancer, everything else feels like a pretty easy fight.”
David H. Koch
The classes are specialist classes that help to alleviate the immediate and long-term effects of cancer and its treatment. Yoga can help to increase strength and flexibility and improve range of motion as well as improving balance and mobility. Yoga can reduce anxiety and stress, lessen fatigue and as a result improve sleep and quality of life. So, we are not offering a restorative class for cancer, we are offering a specialist class, that may be gentle at times, have a decent relaxation (Emma will play the gong) and the poses will consider your body and your area of treatment. The class is also adapted to how you are all feeling and your energy levels.
What are the Therapeutic Benefits of Yoga for Cancer
Research into the therapeutic benefits of yoga for cancer survivors has shown that yoga is a safe and effective way for those with cancer to improve their quality of life and health. A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2014) looked at Yoga’s impact on inflammation, mood and fatigue in breast cancer survivors: a randomised controlled trial reported less fatigue and more vitality in the participants who practised yoga twice weekly for 12 weeks. The group also showed decreased inflammation.
We all know how cancer treatments widely used like radiation, chemotherapy and medications have a negative effect despite their benefits to conquer cancer cells. They can decrease muscle and bone strength and the class will include weight-bearing poses so that muscle and bone-density builds. Even 90 seconds standing on one leg (clean your teeth on one foot!) can help. Twelve minutes of daily yoga increases bone density too.
Don’t worry if you come to class with chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy which is that numbness, tingling or burning sensations in the feet and/or hands as yoga can help this too. Yoga has postures and movements that bring circulation and lubrication to hands and feet, fingers and toes and gentle inversions to help balance the nervous system.
Finally, our class focuses on helping students with the over-thinking side-effects of cancer; worry, foggy brain, rumination and fear. We work with breath, mindfulness and meditations and know that this is a big part of the class role, to empower you with tools you can take off the mat to do at home. Another aspect of class, is that you are in a community where you all know what having a cancer diagnosis is like. Connection is vital at this time and even if you turn up to class and lie on a mat that day as that is all you feel you can do that day; you will still be welcome.
Yoga for Cancer class is held on Monday 12.30-1.30pm at YogaSpace Yorkshire
You may bring a friend/family to do the class with you if you feel you cannot attend alone on some days (subject to space, class fee will apply).