Yoga program helps patient regain sense of control

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 4:06pm

Capital Health’s Sunshine Room offers a yoga program for patients dealing with cancer. One patient writes of her experience:

“I have been dealing with cancer for nearly four years now and have been attending the yoga classes since they began.  To be honest I was fearful of joining because I was exhausted and in poor physical condition.  I did not know what I would be able to do however; I was desperate to try anything offered.

During my chemotherapy treatments I rarely slept and I had terrible headaches, anxiety attacks, painful joints and nausea symptoms. I often felt like I was living in a fog or had entered the Twilight zone as I could not concentrate or remember anything. I felt embarrassed and fearful.

For me personally, yoga has helped me regain a much needed sense of control when dealing with the constant fatigue, stress and sickness associated with side effects from the chemotherapy.  It has helped me prepare and recover physically from surgeries and injuries.

The yoga classes have also become a well anticipated social outlet for me. Attending yoga has introduced me to other cancer patients, many that I consider friends. They have inspired me, supported me and laughed along with me as we often have to deal with the same physical changes and challenges.

I look forward to the yoga classes as the stretching and different poses in yoga help me manage fatigue. Because yoga has specific breathing techniques, it helps me focus my attention and block out what I call negative thinking.

 The breathing techniques help my ability to focus on something other than my illness and it helps clear my head of every thought except being in that moment relaxed and stress free. It’s like a mental vacation from my life.

Now after every yoga class I leave energized, pain free and happier. I fall asleep faster, sleep better and longer, and now I do not require sleep medication, anxiety medications, inhalers, to control my breathing nor strong pain medications. I also do not require a walking cane."