What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise for body and mind. This body philosophy started over 5,000 years ago in India and it improves strength, flexibility and breathing through a series of postures and movements. Yoga is one of the best ways to create harmony between your mind, body and spirit to help you feel calmer. It helps you staying healthy and preventing illness. In Salty Soul Surfcamp we believe that Yoga is the best for you because you will be working strength, flexibility, breath, balance and being present.
There is no scientific evidence to prove that yoga can cure or prevent any type of cancer. But some studies suggest that it might help people with cancer cope with symptoms and side effects. Read more about it:
What does Science have to say about the impact of Yoga practice
in cancer treatment?
In March 2010 a review of studies into Yoga for patients with cancer was published. It included 10 trials. It was found that Yoga could help to reduce anxiety, depression, tiredness (fatigue) and stress for some patients. And it improved the quality of sleep, mood and spiritual well being for some people. The authors of the study said that overall Yoga may be associated with some positive effects on psychological well being for people with cancer. But the review results have to be used with caution because there were some weaknesses and differences in the research studies included. You can read the review of yoga for people with cancer on the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE) website.
Other studies by MD Anderson Cancer Center (one of the best world references for cancer treatment) in 2011 have shown that Yoga can help reduce levels of cortisol (the stress hormones) and decreased the tiredness and depression in people with breast cancer, leading to a less painful stage. Also, according to this studies, the practice of Yoga stimulated the production of the neurotransmitter gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). That is very good news because GABA in a low number can cause depression and anxiety disorders, meaning that Yoga practice can increase those numbers, fighting those symptoms. Also a small study of men with prostate cancer noted an improvement in their quality of life and general well being when they practised yoga regularly.
5 REASONS WHY YOGA SHOULD BE IN ANYONE’S CANCER PREVENTION AND RECOVERY PLANS
In the cancer treatment the chemotherapy slows down proliferation of fast cancerous cells but it also can destroy healthy cells such as bone marrow cells, gastrointestinal, among others and can damage some organs such as liver, kidneys, heart, lungs… But Yoga brings balance and alignment to all body parts and systems: muscles, bones, organs, and the mind. It’s a holistic path to wellness that focuses on interconnection. We’ve collected 5 reasons to explain you why Yoga exercises can help the good functioning of the organs:
1) Yoga Strengthens the Immune System
The goal of strengthening the immune system is to keep all of the body’s systems working together. It takes a village: Failure of any one system threatens the health of the whole community. Cancer therapies that seek to strengthen the immune system are increasingly proving to be helpful in fighting a wide variety of cancers. Research shows that yoga boosts immunity. A 2013 study in Norway found that regular practice of gentle yoga and meditation had a rapid effect at the genetic level in circulating cancer-fighting immune cells. Mindfulness meditation also appears to change the brain and immune function in positive ways.
2) Yoga Detoxifies the Body
Detoxification is the vital metabolic process by which dead cells and toxins (the flu virus, a rogue cancer cell, or another pathogen) are excreted from the body. Yoga is the muscle of the lymphatic system—the body’s plumbing and trash-removal system. Similar to how the heart muscle circulates blood, yoga increases lymphatic flow with specific breathing and movement practices. Inversions, a fundamental part of a strong yoga practice, utilize movement and body positioning to reverse the effects of gravity on our body, enhancing the process of cardiovascular and lymphatic drainage. Another way in which yoga detoxifies the body is through compression. B. K. S. Iyengar called it the “squeeze and soak” process, which cleans internal organs in the same way that a sponge discharges dirty water when squeezed. For example, abdominal twists activate internal organs and guide the release of toxins into the lymphatic system. Yoga detoxifies the mind as well. A survivor lives with the fear of cancer returning, and this daily anxiety is a mental toxin. We can detoxify the mind by using the movement of the breath, by relaxing into gravity in a restorative pose, and by quietly watching our thoughts in meditation.
3) Yoga Builds Bones
How are strong bones linked to cancer prevention? Our bones house bone marrow, where new red and white blood cells are constantly being produced. White blood cells are needed to form leukocytes, our natural cancer-fighting immune cells. If our bones are compromised from a break or from osteoporosis (a side effect of chemotherapy), so too is the production of a nourishing blood supply and immune protection.
A pilot study by Kripalu presenter Loren Fishman, MD, applied yoga practice to sufferers of osteoporosis (decrease in bone mass) and osteopenia (reduction in bone volume). The results showed that 85 percent of the yoga practitioners gained bone in both the spine and hip, while nearly every member of the control group maintained or lost bone mass. I believe yoga is safer for strong bone building than many gym routines, because it puts weight on the bones in a precise, deliberate way.
4) Yoga Reduces Stress
Yoga can enhance positivity. The results of a 2009 study on the effects of yoga on emotions found an increase in positive emotions such as calmness and a sense of purpose in more than 50 percent of subjects. Women participating in a 10-week program of restorative yoga classes gained positive differences in aspects of mental health such as depression, positive emotions, and spirituality (feeling calm and peaceful), as compared to the control group.
5) Yoga Aids Weight Management
Research on the impact of yoga on weight gain is still in the early stages. One study showed that yoga had a more positive impact on obesity and depression than aerobic exercise. While yoga for cancer survivors often focuses on gentle or restorative yoga methods (which are necessary and beneficial approaches), it can and should be active, and therefore calorie burning—while also being safe, physically accessible, welcoming, and inclusive. Yoga can help cancer survivors manage weight gain, which improves self-esteem and the ability to function normally, and ultimately reduces the risk of recurrence and mortality.
If you’re fighting against cancer, first of all let us say we’re sorry you have to go through this.
In Salty Soul Surfcamp we believe we can help you by making you feel refreshed, nourished and forget about all the stress during your vacation. (Talk to your doctor!)
Our Yoga instructor, Cristina, is also a certified osteopath and therapist. She has several years of experience and has had many cancer patients as her Yoga classes attendees, having specific knowledge about the limitations and requirements in order to support them to practice effectively and safely.
Come meet us! We want you to take this experience with you for your daily life after your holidays.
PS: You are brave and strong!