Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yoga and Breast Cancer

Earlier this week, I promised to write about yoga and breast cancer. You may have wondered why Living Beyond Breast Cancer chooses a yoga practice rather than the traditional walk or run to support our cause. Increasingly, research is correlating the practice of yoga to overall well-being in women being treated for breast cancer. Our mission is different from many other breast cancer organizations. We exist solely to help women from the moment of treatment forward to live their best life possible. We believe that for many women, yoga can be one of the many tools they employ during breast cancer treatment and beyond. In addition, by making our fundraiser an inclusive yoga practice, we open it up to everyone.

The newest piece of research about yoga and breast cancer came out late last month, when researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine reported that yoga can improve the emotional health of women affected by breast cancer
. The report published in Psycho-Oncology supports findings by Albert Einstein College of Medicine and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, as well as two studies published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. All of the studies point to a link between the practice of yoga and increased quality of life and feelings of wellness during breast cancer treatment. For example, the researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center found that women who practiced yoga during the period in which they were receiving radiation therapy experienced increased physical functioning, better general health, improved social functioning, lower levels of sleep-related problems and lower levels of overall fatigue. The Wake Forest study found that after 10 weeks of restorative yoga -- a variation on gentle yoga -- participants reported less fatigue, a 50 percent decrease in depression and a 12 percent increase in feelings of peace and meaning.

These studies simply support what many women have experienced in their own lives. On your next visit to our blog, learn about Beatrice Marx, who began practicing yoga after her initial breast cancer diagnosis and is now a teacher, mentor and one of our strongest fundraisers, despite a more recent metastatic, or stage IV, breast cancer diagnosis. We want to hear your stories about breast cancer and yoga. Please post them here or on Facebook

1 comment:

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