Implementing Yoga Into Your Routine

Determining how to squeeze yoga or other methods of self-care into their routines when patients are busy with treatment and doctor visits may feel overwhelming. An essential point for doctors, nurses, social workers, and other members of the medical team to make to patients is the importance of taking care of their bodies and minds. Yoga is a great option because it is affordable, noninvasive and can be adapted based on the patient’s needs.2 Yoga can also serve as a segue to more intense workouts when first starting to exercise after treatment. As another participant of the CancerCare yoga program stated, “I wasn’t able to exercise while I was in treatment. Yoga is the perfect way for me to ease myself back into physical activity.”

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Patients should speak with their doctors to ensure that yoga is right for them prior to practicing. They need to be aware of any physical limitations they might have to know what practice suits them. If new to yoga, it is best to start with a licensed instructor to learn the proper techniques and accommodations. Once comfortable, yoga can be done in the comfort of one’s home. Breathing techniques and exercises can be done almost anywhere, which is what makes them so valuable. Ultimately, yoga can have tremendous benefits for anyone undergoing treatment for cancer, both for emotional and physical reasons, and can have ongoing benefits as patients continue their care.  


Marlee Kiel is an Oncology Social Worker at CancerCare.


References

1. Rao RM, Amritanshu R, Vinutha HT, et al. Role of yoga in cancer patients: expectations, benefits, and risks: a review. Indian J Palliat Care. 2017;23(3);225-230.

2. Heeter C, Lehto R. Benefits of yoga and meditation for patients with cancer. Oncol Nurs News. 2018;12(4);37.

3. Yoga. Breastcancer.org website. https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/comp_med/types/yoga. Accessed January 14, 2020.