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Yoga for Mesothelioma (and more!)

As I have said countless times, yoga is not simply exercise. While the asana (pose) part of the practice provides many physical benefits, it is just one limb of yoga. Other limbs include pranayama (breathwork), yamas and niyamas (ethical "dos-and don'ts"), dhyana (meditation), and more. The combination of all of these limbs does more to support a person's entire well being than exercise alone. As many of you know, I came to yoga after a car accident - and after many other treatments. While many of the poses were similar, or even the same, as exercises I had done in physical therapy, it was the focus on my whole being that ultimately helped me heal. Focusing solely on the body did not work nearly as well for me, because there is so much more that comes with injury or sickness. I was struggling emotionally with being in pain with no end in sight, and it was hard for me to dig myself out of that hole. Mindset certainly plays a role in healing the body, and more than that, it helps with the emotional and mental effects of pain and long term treatments.

Recently, someone from the Mesothelioma Center reached out to me in the hopes that I would be able to share some information about exercise during treatment with my readers. Their website recently posted this story on exercise during mesothelioma treatment. As I read through it, I found that it had some valuable information for patients, in particular for those who might be nervous about exercising during treatment, or simply unsure where to begin. There are a number of different exercise programs that can help patients build strength, lung capacity, and balance. I believe that yoga has a place here. The article mentions balance, breathing, strength, and more - all areas that yoga can help with. And, as I mentioned at the outset, it provides even more than exercise.

I want to be clear that I am not advocating against medicine. Yoga is NOT a replacement for medical treatment. What it is, however, is a practice that can complement medical treatment, and help patients of mesothelioma - or almost any medical concern - build strength of body and mind.

One final note: not all yoga classes are built the same. Some are more active and intense than others, some are faster than others, and some are more welcoming than others. If you are new to the practice, seek out a teacher who understands making yoga accessible and who will help you find the variations that best support you. And, if you find an instructor who focuses entirely on the poses, I respectfully suggest that you keep looking for someone who truly incorporates all the limbs of yoga. I can say with certainty, that this is what helped me the most.

For more information on the Mesothelioma Center and the important work that they do, please visit their website.

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