Yoga uses breathing exercises, precise postures and meditation as non-aerobic exercise. Because it can lead to increased relaxation and physical fitness, yoga can enhance the quality of life for cancer patients and patients with other serious illnesses.
Yoga can help cancer patients combat the side effects of treatment, such as fatigue. Yoga can also help to relieve the anxiety brought on by a cancer diagnosis, as its deep breathing exercises can bring more oxygen into the body to help reduce anxiety.
In addition to anxiety relief, yoga can help reduce stress. Yoga may also have beneficial effects on the immune system. Cancer patients can use yoga as a coping mechanism, part of their palliative care. Yoga can also decrease insomnia, improve symptoms of depression and relieve chronic pain. Additionally, yoga can provide gentle exercise for cancer patients at a time when they may not be able to participate in other forms of exercise.
Cancer Care program at St. Mary’s Hospital offers it’s clientele biweekly courses of yoga in a private studio. The costs of the course & the studio are paid by the Cancer Care Fund.