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A cancer survivor's yoga journey


Yoga is my favorite thing. As a former dancer, I love the efficiency of strengthening and stretching my entire body in one practice, and the focused flow found by paying attention to the activity of body, mind, and surroundings. This Well blog essay on a patient's use of yoga after a series of aggressive and depleting cancer treatments beautifully describes what listening to our bodies can reveal. From the piece:

As we became warriors, children, cats, cows and pigeons, I realized that concentrating on position and breath takes even the most cerebral of us out of our nattering, hectoring brains, reminding us that we have feet, ankles, knees, a spinal column, arms, shoulders, neck, mouth, all of which can stretch and relax, stretch and relax to release tension.

Body awareness — the mind aware of the body, the body of the mind — provides physical but also psychological therapy.

A four-year-long zombie stoicism had been broken. With relief, I realized that yoga was teaching me to be patient with my frailties.

Previously: The promise of yoga-based treatments to help veterans with PTSDNIH hosts Twitter chat on using mind and body practices for managing holiday stress and anxietyStudy offers insights into how yoga eases stress and Study shows mindfulness may reduce cancer patients’ anxiety and depression
Photo by Bliss Flow Yoga

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