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Yoga and Cancer Recovery

Anyone who has heard the three dreaded words, “You have cancer,” knows what a devastating blow this is to their entire being. A Cancer Diagnosis can result in major impacts to the physical body. However, it is also incredibly stressful to the mind and emotional state of the cancer patient and everyone in their lives.

The practice of Yoga has been proven to positively impact the body, mind, and emotions. Thankfully, many studies are showing that practicing Yoga during and after Cancer Treatment can have dramatic and long-lasting positive results.

Nowadays, medical practitioners are increasingly recommending Yoga to their patients. Indeed, the goal is to help with the side effects of Cancer. Keep in mind that not all types of Yoga are suitable or appropriate for a body that is recovering from cancer treatments and surgeries.

How does Yoga Help?

Some of the major benefits of Yoga for those living with cancer are:

  • Increases range of motion/flexibility
  • Strengthens the body
  • Improves balance
  • Supports the immune system
  • Helps manage weight
  • Aids in pain management
  • Assists in controlling anxiety and depression
  • Improves sleep

Recommended Practices

  • Cancer-specific Classes
  • Well-balanced Classes with Props
  • Gentle Stretching and Movement
  • Pranayama (breathing practices)
  • Relaxing Practices
  • Mindfulness and Meditation

Yoga for Cancer classes should incorporate yoga props such as yoga blocks, blankets, and a bolster or firm pillow. This will ensure maximum comfort and support in every pose. Since Cancer treatment can greatly impact an individual’s balance and range of motion, having the proper tools at hand is one key to a beneficial class. A well-balanced class will also include instruction on proper breathing techniques, gentle stretching and movement and standing balance poses. In addition, classes should allow ample time to relax and restore with supported poses and mindfulness or meditation.

Lastly, it is important to seek out classes that are specifically tailored to the unique needs of cancer patients. Cancer-specific classes take into consideration all the possible physical limitations that cancer and its treatments can create in the body as well as the mental and emotional side-effects. They are also designed to keep students feeling safe, empowered, calm, peaceful and connected. These classes should be led by a teacher who has been specifically trained to work with the cancer population.

Be Well Therapy, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that specializes in Yoga for Cancer Recovery. They offer weekly virtual and live classes for anyone who is in treatment or post treatment and all classes are free or donation based.

For more information on the partnership between Yoga Vista and the Be Well Yoga for Cancer Recovery Program, visit

Note: The videos in this collection are included in various YogaVista.TV subscription plans.

Wellness Practices for Cancer Recovery

We have made it easy for you to begin a Yoga program focused on helping you cope with stress and other conditions usually associated with Cancer. We have created these Wellness Practices for Cancer Recovery that offer targeted videos to encourage and comfort you. As a result, they will strengthen your physical, mental and emotional well-being!

Related Videos

(included in the Wellness Practices above)

Sherry Zak Morris - Crown Chakra Yoga Practice

Be Well – Yoga for Cancer Recovery with Mary

Bone and Muscle Strengthening with John Conroy

Chair Yoga for Cancer Patients: Yoga4Cancer Class with John

Safety Guidelines and Precautions

  • If you have complications from your cancer treatment, please seek guidance from your medical practitioner. In most cases, Gentle Yoga with appropriate modifications is considered safe once your doctor has offered guidance.
  • Avoid movements that over-extend your surgical area while it is healing.
  • Stop the movement if you feel light-headed.
  • If you have Neuropathy in the feet or hands, movement is encouraged… but proceed with care! If you feel any pain, it may help to stop and massage the area before attempting further movement.
  • Avoid inversions if you are prone to high blood pressure or suffer from glaucoma or retinopathy. Also, be mindful of any movement that may place your head below your heart.
  • Enjoy a deep breathing practice. Furthermore, avoid any forced breathing practice that may cause over-exertion.

Before starting these Wellness Practices:

Ensure you have a release from your healthcare practitioner to do exercise. Also ask your practitioner if you have any movement restrictions as  related to your treatment. Above all, be mindful of any movement that creates a sharp, knife-like pain or tingling sensation.

Related Wellness Practices

The Collection of Videos in the Wellness Practices for Mental & Emotional Well-Being offer many tools for stress-management. The practices should help improve the side-effects of Cancer. Find what works best for you!

Mental & Emotional Well-Being

CREDITS:  Author, Mary Baker, Co-founder Be Well Therapy, Inc.

Editor, Sherry Zak Morris, Certified Yoga Therapist

Editor, Maria Perez, Certified Yoga & Group Fitness Instructor