According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. While there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, practicing yoga may help reduce your risk. Here are five yoga poses that have been shown to be particularly beneficial for preventing breast cancer.
What is breast cancer?
Before we discuss the yoga poses that can help prevent breast cancer, let’s take a moment to talk about what this disease actually is. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the breasts. It can occur in both men and women, but it occurs more often in women.
Symptoms of breast cancer include
- a lump or mass in the breast,
- swelling or enlargement of the breast,
- skin irritation or redness around the nipple, discharge from the nipple,
- and pain in the breast.
The good news is that early detection significantly increases your chances of successful treatment. So be sure to familiarize yourself with these symptoms and see your doctor if you notice any changes in your breasts.
Now that we have a basic understanding of breast cancer, it’s time to discuss the yoga poses that can help prevent this disease.
How effective is yoga for breast cancer prevention and breast health
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical postures and breathing exercises to improve overall health and well-being.
A growing number of studies suggest that yoga may be helpful in preventing breast cancer. One study, which was published in the journal Cancer, found that women who practiced yoga were less likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not practice yoga. Another study, which was published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, found that women who practiced yoga had a lower risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
So, if you’re looking for ways to reduce your risk of breast cancer, consider adding some simple yoga poses to your daily routine! These poses are gentle and can be adapted to fit anyone’s needs and abilities.
Yoga helps to improve the quality of life for breast cancer survivor
Yoga has been found to improve the quality of life for breast cancer survivors. A study, which was published in the journal Psycho-Oncology, found that yoga improved physical functioning, vitality, and mental health in women who had survived breast cancer. The study participants also reported feeling more empowered and optimistic after completing the yoga program.
Going through treatments, chemotherapy and surgeries can severely affect the mental health of breast cancer patients. Taking help of yoga, meditation, can help reduce the stress, anxiety and other symptoms.
So if you are a breast cancer survivor, consider adding some gentle yoga poses to your daily routine. Yoga can help improve your energy levels, mood, and overall quality of life.
The following five yoga poses are great for preventing breast cancer:
1. Vaksh Swasan (Thoracic Breathing)
This pose helps to improve lymph flow, which is important for breast health.
How to do it
- Sit on the floor in sukhasana or padmasana, you can also sit in a chair with your back straight.
- Place both the hands on your shoulders, now bring both elbows together in front of your face.
- While inhaling deeply separate the elbows stretching them as further as possible, expand your rib and chest as much as you can, allowing as much as possible oxygen to enter your lungs.
- Push your breast forward, and hold the pose for 10 counts.
- Now slowly exhale and while exhaling contract your chest and rib and bring both the elbows together. Hold for ten breaths.
- Repeat it for 5 times.
2. Skandh Chakra (Shoulder Rotation)
This pose is beneficial for the breast, shoulders and upper back. It also helps to open up your chest, which can improve posture and reduce tension in the neck and shoulders. If there is any tightness or lump in the breast , this pose can help to release it.
How to do it
- To do this pose, sit in padmasana or sukhasana. Bring both the hands on the shoulder bring both the elbows together in the front.
- Inhale and take both the elbows up from the front and while exhaling bring it down from the back.
- Again bring the elbows to the front, inhale and take it up and while exhaling bring it down from the back.
- Repeat the process for ten times. After that do it 10 times in counter clockwise direction.
3. Aakarna Dhanurasana (Archer’s Pose)
The archer’s pose is a great way to stretch your chest, shoulders, and upper back. This pose stretches the muscles of the chest and very beneficial for women with breast cancer.
How to do it
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart on the mat.
- Bring your your right foot one step forward at a 45 degree angle. Keep your body straight.
- Stretch your right arm to the front keeping it at shoulder level. Keeping the thumb upright fold your fingers.
- Attain a body language of an archer ready to shoot his arrow. Activate all your senses and, keep your shoulder firm and neck straight but do not tense it up.
- Now Imagine that you have arrow in your left hand Inhale and pull your left hand towards the back in such a way that it seems you are pulling the arrow back to shoot. keep the elbow lifted up.
- Focus on your breast. Hold for ten counts then exhale and bring the hand down.
- Repeat three times with each hand.
4. Sarpasana (Snake Pose)
Sarpasana is beneficial to open up and stretch the chest muscles. This asanas regulates the proper circulation of oxygen and blood in the breast.
However, those who are suffering with breast cancer should consult doctor before attempting this asana.
How to do it
- Lie flat on the floor on your stomach with your knees and legs together
- Interlock your fingers at the back. Pull shoulders towards the back push chest towards the front.
- Slowly lift your head, shoulders and upper body off the floor while inhaling deeply.
- Bend backwards as much as possible without straining yourself too hard.
- Hold this position for a few seconds then slowly come down exhaling slowly through your nose.
5. Viprit Karni Asana And Mudra
Viparita Karani or legs up the wall pose is both an asana and a mudra in hatha yoga.
In Hatha Yog Pradipika it is mentioned as mudra. It’s purpose is to direct energy towards upper body.
This asana helps to improve the blood circulation in your chest. The mudra strengthens your immune system, which is beneficial for those with breast cancer.
How to do it
- Lie flat on the mat on your back in a relaxed pose. keep both your hands on the side and palm upwards.
- Take a deep breath in and breathe out. Now lift both the legs up at 90 degree. Keep your knees together.
- Support your back with your palm keeping the elbow firmly in the ground.
- Lift your body further up. The body should be vertically raised up in such a way that trunk is at 45 degree angle with ground and legs are at 90 degree angle with the ground.
- Hold for 30 seconds then slowly come down.
Pranayama for Breast Health
Pranayama is a very important part of yoga. It helps to improve blood circulation in the body including breast area.
Kapalbhati & Anuloma-Viloma are great for controlling anxiety and depression which affects half the people with breast cancer.
This is a very powerful breathing technique.
It helps to improve blood circulation in the body including breast area. It also reduces stress and anxiety, which are common among people with breast cancer. Kapalbhati is good for improving immunity system, which is vital when you’re undergoing treatment or recovering from it!
How to do it
- Sit down on a mat or chair and relax your body completely.
- Close your eyes while inhaling deeply through the nose then exhale forcefully through both nostrils by contracting abdominal muscles as much as you can.
- Keep repeating this process for at least 40 times in one go but don’t overdo yourself because kapalbhati exerts pressure on heart.
This breathing technique helps to increase the oxygen level in your body, which is beneficial for breast cancer patients as well. It also reduces stress and anxiety levels.
How to do it
- Sit comfortably on a mat or chair keeping your spine straight and eyes closed.
- Apply chin mudra in left hand use right hand for the pranayama.
- Put the index finger and middle finger of right hand between your eyebrows and use thumb to close the right nostril. Inhale through the left. Close left nostril with ring finger and exhale through the right.
- Now breathe in again from the right nostril and exhale through the left.
- Practice this for ten minutes. You can switch hands if it starts paining.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and it’s important to do everything we can to prevent it. Yoga has been shown to be beneficial for breast health, and these poses are some of the best for preventing or fighting breast cancer. If you don’t currently practice yoga, now is a great time to start! These poses will help keep your breasts healthy and strong.