What is yoga?
Yoga is a mind-body practice that involves focusing on your breath, body and thoughts while completing movements, stretches and holding various postures.
Yoga is a method of practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of directing your attention to the present moment, noticing your thoughts, emotions, body state and surroundings.
Yoga instructors often encourage a heightened awareness of the present moment in their classes. They do this by directing your attention to the physical sensations, feelings and reactions associated with holding and transitioning between postures. This calms the mind and relaxes the body.
Common benefits of yoga found in research studies:
- Improved mood and emotional health
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased ability to focus
- Improved stress hormone regulation
- Reduced sleep disturbances
- Prevention and alleviation of fatigue
- Improved strength and flexibility
- Improved social functioning
- Improved self esteem
- Reduced joint pain
Breast cancer patients described their experience of practicing yoga to support their health and wellbeing:
“My back is a bit straighter, my shoulders are in the right position and I feel as though I am walking taller”
“I’m just going with the moment, it just makes me feel so much more at ease about everything; it just really flows into all areas of my life.”
“I’ve noticed that I’ve drifted off to sleep quite well… not worrying, not reviewing the day as it was, or thinking of what I have to do tomorrow.”
“My underarm area, which a build‐up of fluid usually makes tight and sore, has been a lot more flexible.”
“Yoga has made me think more outwardly and stop worrying about every little medical thing and every little aspect of my body that’s affected by cancer.”
“Mentally I’ve been fascinated because I never realised I had such a disorganised brain. I always thought I was a person who was able to focus and achieve to do things, but I’ve just discovered I’ve got a brain that drifts off like a butterfly and it cannot be brought to focus and hold a focus for very long.”
From “Yoga, breast cancer-related lymphoedema and well-being: a descriptive report of women’s participation in a clinical trial”, Journal of Clinical Nursing, Volume 26, Issue 23-24, 2017
What are your experiences of practicing yoga? Where do you like to do yoga – a yoga studio with others, by yourself at home? Outdoors? We would love to hear how you practice yoga and how it contributes to your wellbeing. Visit us on Instagram at @thechristinaghobadifoundation or on our Facebook page.
If you are between 18-30, currently undergoing or recently completed cancer treatment and living in Victoria, you will be eligible to receive a grant from the Christina Ghobadi Foundation to spend on wellness-based activities such as yoga. Previous recipients have chosen to spend their grant on yoga classes with positive results.
Here are some links to yoga resources and studios in Victoria:
- Light space yoga: https://lightspaceyoga.com.au/online-studio
- White dog studio: https://www.whitedogstudio.com.au/
- 42 yoga: http://www.42yoga.com.au/
- Down dog app: https://www.downdogapp.com/
- Jessica Dewar yoga: https://jessicadewaryoga.com/
- Yoga corner: http://yogacorner.com.au/classes-prices
- Good vibes yoga: https://goodvibesyoga.com.au/
- Chaoul, A., Milbury, K., Spelman, A., Basen-Engquist, K., Hall, M. et al. (2017). Randomized trial of Tibetan yoga in patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy. Cancer, 124(1). doi: 1002/cncr.30938
- Chaoul, A., Power-James, C., Mallaiah, S., Gomez, T. I., Williams, J. L., Bruera, E., & Cohen, L. (2018). Group Yoga Effects on Cancer Patient and Caregiver Symptom Distress: Assessment of Self-reported Symptoms at a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 17(4) 1087–1094. doi: 10.1177/1534735418795301 journals.sagepub.com/home/ict
- Danhauer, S. C., Milhako, S. L., Russell, G. B. (2009). Restorative yoga for women with breast cancer: Findings from a randomized pilot study. Psychooncology 18, 360– 368.
- Loudon, A., Barnett, T., & Williams, A. (2017). Yoga, breast cancer‐related lymphoedema and well‐being: A descriptive report of women’s participation in a clinical trial. Journal of clinical nursing, 26(23-24). doi: 1111/jocn.13819
- Mustian, K. M., Sprod, L. K., Janelsins, M. (2013). Multicenter, randomized controlled trial of yoga for sleep quality among cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 31, 3233– 3241.
- Ulger, O., Yagli, N. V. (2010). Effects of yoga on the quality of life in cancer patients Complementary Therapy Clinical Practice, 16, 60– 63.
- Yagli, N. C., Sener, G., Arikan, H., Saglam, M., Sacvi, S Kutukcu, E. C. et al. (2015). Do Yoga and Aerobic Exercise Training Have Impact on Functional Capacity, Fatigue, Peripheral Muscle Strength, and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors? Integrative cancer therapies, 14(2), 125-132. doi: 10.1177/1534735414565699
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