One is Eagle pose, often considered an advanced complex balance. However advanced, inherent benefits make it a wonderful choice for cancer survivors, If taught well, the results are many. Only some are lymph pumping, bone and muscle building, enhanced balance, focus, confidence and fun. Achieving these results is the result of detailed teaching.
Fundamental to the yoga4cancer methodology is the block test, step back using blocks, and modified sun salutation. Foundational to the power and success of these sequences is clear understanding of how to match breath with movement and the overall importance of the spine in maximizing immune system health. Again, achieving these results is detailed teaching.
COMMENTS & RHETORICAL QUESTIONS:
The benefits of restorative yoga poses are profound and universal, but only if they are properly supported to help elicit the relaxation response in each individual. Like cancer, every ‘body’ is unique. Teaching restorative yoga at first glance seems easier than teaching active poses or vinyasa. However, the challenge lies in the teacher’s ability to understand the goal of the pose, observe the student’s body, and prop with purpose.
The benefits of restorative yoga for cancer survivors adds an additional layer of complexity because survivors may be unable to fully relax, get comfortable and may be afraid to ask or say something when feeling discomfort. Side effects of treatment coupled with pre-existing conditions become ongoing daily struggles. Often survivors are not aware when unnecessary muscular engagement is happening, nor understand how to position their body to experience complete relaxation.
The key is to identify signs of stress, then guide students with clear instructions on propping and support. Here are three common restorative poses that often need minor adjustments to best serve the cancer community.