Yoga for Cancer Patients

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

AUGUST 11, 2017

This is not exactly a new idea, but this is an opportunity to reinforce the positive value of yoga for may cancer patients and survivors. As we all know, yoga comes in many forms, and so-called hot yoga is probably not the best choice for most of us. But there are many forms of gentle or restorative or adaptive yoga, and it pays to look around for the right teacher and class.

Many of us are body-cranky and carry various aches and pains. Yoga can really help. And, most certainly, the quiet meditative period at the end is healing for everyone. I actually have plenty more to say, but I think I will save it. I am working today from our Maine cottage, and the satellite internet, when paired with the hospital firewalls, is an evil combination. Each sentence takes several corrections and several minutes, and I am about to lost any calm patience that I brought to the table after a lovely couple of hours in the kayak.

So, instead consider this an introduction to this terrific piece from Susan Gubar:

Living With Cancer: Patient Yoga

Although I sob during sappy movies, I did not cry as I staggered through the numerous surgeries, radiological procedures and chemotherapies that followed a cancer diagnosis four years ago. That is why I am grateful to yoga. 

A member of my support group had encouraged me to sign up for a series of sessions for cancer patients. Judy explained that each class — sponsored by the hospital, though conducted at the YMCA — costs a grand total of $8. All I had to do was e-mail the instructor, obtain written consent from my oncologist and show up at 3:15 the following Wednesday, all of which I managed to do. 

Inside a building that had doubled in size since I had last seen it, I found my way to a dimly lit, bare room where the teacher, Laurie, welcomed me. While I filled in a sketchy medical history, Judy arranged a mat for me, next to which she placed a long strap, an oddly lightweight brick and a blanket. No one objected to my keeping on my socks. 

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Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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