What is cancer and how does it affect us?
Cancer is a disease of cells that have genetic mutations and grow abnormally. These cells form tumours that can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Malignant tumours can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs, as well as spread to distant parts of the body through the lymphatic system, the blood stream or body cavities. Cancer can affect any area of the body and cause various health problems. In this blog, I will explain more about cancer and how natural health with yoga can help cancer patients. In this blog, I will explain more about how yoga can help you fight cancer and enhance your well-being. But first, let me share with you a yogic understanding of cancer and its causes based on the concept of the gunas.
A yogic perspective on cancer and its causes
Yoga also offers a unique perspective on the nature of cancer and its causes. According to yoga philosophy, all matter in the universe arises from the fundamental substrate called Prakriti. From this ethereal Prakriti the three primary gunas (qualities of energy) emerge to form the essential aspects of all nature—energy, matter, and consciousness. These three gunas are tamas (darkness & chaos), rajas (activity & passion), and sattva (beingness & harmony). The gunas are constantly in flux and interact with one another, creating the patterns of life. The balance of the gunas in our body and mind influences our health, well-being, and spiritual growth. Cancer can be seen as a result of an imbalance of the gunas, especially an excess of tamas and rajas, which create ignorance, attachment, stress, and inflammation. Yoga can help us restore the harmony of the gunas by increasing sattva, which is the quality of peace, clarity, and wisdom.
Some people may wonder why some innocent or holy people develop cancer, even if they live a healthy and spiritual life. This may seem unfair or unjust. However, from a yogic point of view, there is a deeper explanation for this phenomenon. It is based on the theory of karma, which says that every action, good or bad, bears the appropriate fruit or result, either immediately or in the future, including in future lives. According to this theory, cancer is not a random or accidental occurrence, but a consequence of past karma that has ripened in the present life. This may explain why some children and saints, who seem to have done nothing wrong in this life, also suffer from cancer. For example, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharshi, two of the most revered spiritual masters of India, both died of cancer at a relatively young age. They accepted their illness with grace and detachment, seeing it as a way of burning off their residual karma and liberating themselves from the cycle of birth and death.
Risk factors for cancer and how to prevent them
Cancer is not a single disease, but a group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. There are many factors that can increase or decrease the risk of developing cancer. Some of these factors are related to our lifestyle, such as smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, eating unhealthy food, being physically inactive, and getting too much sun exposure. These are risk factors that we can change and control to lower our chances of getting cancer. Other factors are things that we cannot change or control, such as age, family history, genetic mutations, and exposure to certain infections, chemicals, or radiation. These are risk factors that we need to be aware of and monitor regularly. Some cancers can be prevented by avoiding or reducing exposure to these risk factors, while others can be detected early and treated effectively if we follow the recommended screening tests and check-ups
Common signs and symptoms of cancer
Cancer can cause different signs and symptoms depending on where it is in the body, how big it is, and how much it affects nearby organs or tissues. Sometimes cancer does not cause any symptoms at all, especially in the early stages. That is why it is important to have regular check-ups and screening tests to detect cancer before it causes problems. Some of the common signs and symptoms of cancer are:
- Fatigue or extreme tiredness that does not get better with rest.
- Weight loss or gain of 10 pounds or more for no known reason.
- Eating problems such as loss of appetite, trouble swallowing, stomach pain, or nausea and vomiting.
- Swelling or lumps anywhere in the body, such as in the breast, neck, armpit, or groin.
- Skin changes such as a lump that bleeds or turns scaly, a new mole or a change in a mole, a sore that does not heal, or a yellowish color to the skin or eyes (jaundice).
- Cough or hoarseness that does not go away or gets worse.
- Unusual bleeding or bruising for no known reason, such as blood in the urine, stool, sputum, or vomit, or bleeding from the vagina, nose, mouth, or anus.
- Change in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea, that does not go away or a change in how your stools look.
- Bladder changes such as pain when passing urine, blood in the urine, or needing to pass urine more or less often than usual.
- Pain, especially new or with no known cause, that does not go away or gets worse.
If you have any of these signs or symptoms that do not go away or get worse, you should see a doctor to find out what is causing them. It may not be cancer, but it could be something else that needs treatment. The sooner you find out what is wrong, the better your chances of recovery are.
How yoga can help you connect with your self and heal
Yoga means connecting with the self, which is the source of healing and happiness. For people with cancer, this connection is vital, as they need to:
– Activate the inner power of healing
– Find the internal support to face the crisis
– Summon their will power and all their strength to fight and overcome cancer and the associated difficulties
– Gain the wisdom to know how much to fight and when to accept gracefully and make the most of a situation that has become irreversible.
The need for this connection is very strong, as the person becomes very aware of the vulnerability of life. Now the patient or survivor has to develop skills to cope with cancer by attacking tamas from three different directions: lifestyle, attitude, and practice. Yoga can help with all these aspects by offering various tools, such as:
- – Asana (physical poses) can help improve flexibility, strength, balance, and circulation. They can also reduce pain, fatigue, and stress.
- Breath awareness can help calm the mind, relax the body, and regulate the emotions. It can also increase oxygen intake and improve immune function.
- Pranayama (breathing techniques) can help balance the energy flow in the body, stimulate or calm the nervous system, and enhance mental clarity and focus.
- Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation) can help release physical and mental tension, promote healing and regeneration, and induce a state of peace and bliss.
- Pratyahara and Dharana (meditations) can help withdraw the senses from external distractions, concentrate the mind on a positive object or idea, and cultivate awareness and insight.
- Bhakti Yoga (devotion) can help awaken the heart, express gratitude and love, and connect with a higher power or purpose.
- Mantra Japa (repetition of sacred sounds) can help purify the mind, protect from negative influences, and create positive vibrations.
The power of the resolve in Yoga Nidra and MSRT
In this blog, we will also explore how a meditative practice (Yoga Nidra) and mantra chanting (MSRT) can help you boost your confidence and manage your emotions better. These practices can help you cultivate a positive outlook and cope with the challenges of being a cancer patient or survivor. Moreover, these practices have the potential to bring about miraculous healing and transformation in your body and mind. The secret behind this is the power of the resolve, or sankalpa, that is used in both Yoga Nidra and MSRT. The resolve is a positive affirmation that you repeat mentally with conviction and faith. It is like sowing the seed of change in your subconscious mind, where it gathers the vast forces of your inner intelligence and creativity to make it come true. The resolve eventually manifests itself at the conscious level, bringing about the desired change in your personality and life. Many people have experienced the benefits of using the resolve, such as clear biopsy tests, improved health, and renewed vitality. The mystery of how the resolve works was unraveled by Dr. Chopra in his book Quantum Healing and by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in Yoga Nidra.
MSRT stands for Mind Sound Resonance Technique, a meditation technique developed by Dr. Nagendra and Dr. Nagarathna of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA) in India. MSRT is based on the ancient science of mantras, or sacred sounds, that have specific effects on the body and mind. MSRT involves chanting or listening to selected mantras that resonate with different parts of the body, such as the heart, lungs, liver, and brain. The vibration of the sound creates a soothing and healing effect on the cells and tissues, as well as the emotions and thoughts. MSRT can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation. It can also improve immunity, memory, concentration, and creativity. MSRT is a simple and effective technique that can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age, religion, or health condition.
MSRT can be beneficial for cancer patients and survivors in several ways. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Palliative Care1, MSRT can help improve the quality of life and psychological well-being of terminally ill cancer patients. The study found that MSRT reduced the levels of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and perceived stress in the patients. It also increased their levels of happiness, satisfaction, optimism, and spiritual well-being. The study concluded that MSRT can be a useful adjunct therapy for palliative care.
Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology2 found that MSRT can help improve cognitive function in breast cancer survivors who have undergone chemotherapy. The study compared MSRT with memory enhancement training (MET), a cognitive rehabilitation program. The study found that both MSRT and MET improved verbal memory, attention, and executive function in the survivors. However, MSRT had an additional benefit of reducing anxiety and fatigue in the survivors. The study suggested that MSRT can be a cost-effective and accessible intervention for improving cognitive function in breast cancer survivors.
Yoga Nidra is a form of guided meditation that induces a state of deep relaxation and awareness. The term means “yogic sleep” and refers to the conscious experience of the transition between wakefulness and sleep. Yoga Nidra involves following a set of verbal instructions that lead you through various stages of relaxation, such as body scan, breath awareness, visualization, and affirmation. Yoga Nidra can help you access your subconscious mind and release physical and mental tension.
Yoga Nidra can be beneficial for cancer patients and survivors in several ways. According to an article by MD Anderson Cancer Center¹, Yoga Nidra can help with:
– Releasing repressed matter: Yoga Nidra can help you uncover and heal past traumas, emotions, and memories that may be affecting your health and well-being.
– Pranic healing: Yoga Nidra can help you balance the flow of vital energy or prana in your body, which is essential for healing and vitality.
– Mental healing: Yoga Nidra can help you calm your mind, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and negative thoughts, and enhance your mood and outlook.
– Promoting willpower: Yoga Nidra can help you strengthen your resolve or sankalpa, which is a positive intention that you repeat mentally during the meditation. The sankalpa can help you align yourself with your true purpose and activate your inner intelligence to fulfill it.
According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Palliative Care², Yoga Nidra can also improve the quality of life and psychological well-being of terminally ill cancer patients. The study found that Yoga Nidra improved the levels of happiness, satisfaction, optimism, and spiritual well-being in the patients. It also reduced the levels of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and perceived stress in the patients.
Yoga Nidra is a simple and effective technique that can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age, religion, or health condition. All you need is a comfortable place to lie down or sit, a quiet environment, and a recording or a teacher to guide you through the meditation.
In conclusion, yoga is a powerful tool that can help cancer patients and survivors cope with the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges of their condition. Yoga can help reduce fatigue, stress, pain, and inflammation, and improve sleep, mood, immunity, and cognitive function. Yoga can also help activate the inner power of healing, find the internal support to face the crisis, summon the will power and strength to fight and overcome cancer, and gain the wisdom to know how much to fight and when to accept gracefully. In this blog, we have explored some of the yoga practices that are suitable for cancer patients and survivors, such as asana, breath awareness, pranayama, yoga nidra, pratyahara and dharana meditations, bhakti yoga, and mantra japa. We have also discussed the power of the resolve or sankalpa that is used in both yoga nidra and MSRT to create positive change in the body and mind.
Yoga is not only beneficial for cancer patients and survivors, but also for anyone who wants to improve their health and well-being. Yoga can help with various conditions such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, and more. Yoga can also help prevent diseases by enhancing the body’s natural defenses and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Yoga is a holistic approach that can benefit anyone at any age or stage of life.
If you are interested in learning more about yoga and how it can help you or your loved ones, please contact us or visit our website for more information. We offer various yoga programs and classes that are tailored to your needs and goals. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced practitioner, we have something for you. Join us today and discover the benefits of yoga for yourself!
“This is the end of the first part of our comprehensive guide on how yoga can help you heal from cancer. In the second part, we will explore another powerful practice that can benefit cancer patients and survivors: mantra chanting. Stay tuned for the next blog post, where we will discuss what mantra chanting is, how it works, and what are some of the best mantras for cancer. You don’t want to miss it!” – YogiG
Chopra, D. (1989). Quantum healing: Exploring the frontiers of mind/body medicine. Bantam Books.
Saraswati, S. (2009). Yoga nidra (6th ed.). Yoga Publications Trust.
Rao, R. M., Raghuram, N., Nagendra, H. R., et al. (2008). Influence of yoga on mood states, distress, quality of life and immune outcomes in early stage breast cancer patients undergoing surgery. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 14(1), 51-57.
Sleep yoga: Between relaxation and meditation. (2015). MD Anderson Cancer Center. Retrieved from https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/cancer-newsline/spring-2015/sleep-yoga-between-relaxation-and-meditation.html