Yoga is a 5,000-year-old disciplined physical exercise based on Indian philosophy. It has become popular worldwide. It involves different postures, rhythmic breathing, and meditation. It not only helps in physical health but also contributes to mental well-being. Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning “union.” It tries to unite mind, body and spirit for well-being of the person or  a patient.

Yoga is said to be useful in managing some symptoms of cancer. It helps to attain relaxation physical fitness. Though there are no scientific evidences supporting yoga as an alternative cancer treatment method, evidences suggest that it helps patient in managing symptoms of cancer and side effects of conventional cancer treatment.

Yoga trainers claim that yoga helps in physical health, relaxation, happiness and peace. Yoga can reduce stress and anxiety. It is also said to help patients fight with insomnia.

Few studies suggest that yoga may help to control blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, metabolism, body temperature, brain waves, skin resistance and can result into physical fitness and well-being.

Uses of Yoga

There are more than a hundred types of yoga among which four traditional yogas are Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Gyan Yoga, and Bhakti Yoga. Hatha Yoga is  the most popular form of yoga and is a part of Raja Yoga or meditative Yoga. Some studies reveal that yoga may be used with conventional cancer treatment to help in checking symptoms of the disease and in coping with side effects of the other treatment modes. It helps to manage anxiety, stress, depression and sleep disturbances.

It helps patients to fight insomnia, fatigue and anxiety related to cancer and cancer treatments. It also helps in fighting appetite loss accompanying the cancer diagnosis. It helps in reducing cancer related pain. Studies suggest that yoga lowers blood cortisol levels in patients with breast cancer. Cortisol hormone acts as a catalyst in the progression of cancer. It also helps to manage emotional distress, hypertension and back and joint pain. It also helps to strengthen the immune system and boosting self confidence.

Side Effects

Yoga is a form of physical exercise and normally does not cause and side effects if practiced under the supervision of an expert trainer. But some patients may have some difficulties as some yoga postures are difficult and may damage joints, ligaments, and sometimes nerves or discs in the spine. Shirshasan or headstand can cause eye damage due to increased pressure in the eyes if done without proper supervision.

Pregnant women should avoid some postures as they can build pressure on the uterus, they should not do yoga without consulting their doctor. Patients should avoid doing yoga until two hours after having meals. Patients should tell their yoga trainer about any medical problem they have. It’s beneficial to have lots of fluid or water after yoga sessions.