After being diagnosed with cancer life changes in most every way possible and knowing the value of Ahimsa can go a long way in coping with your diagnosis. Ahimsa can be understood as having compassion towards the self and doing no harm. This is an important value to apply to ourselves and to our yoga practice as we undergo treatments like surgery, chemo, and/or radiation. Our bodies are put through so much as we fight the cancer invading our physical bodies and it is vital that we are compassionate towards ourselves during challenging times.
The first step in practicing Ahimsa (non harm) would be to discuss practicing yoga with your doctor and making sure that you are medically cleared to pursue a physical practice. After that, it becomes very important to find a class that is appropriate for where you are at physically; ideally finding a yoga class for cancer survivors would be best. Even if you had a very strong physical yoga practice (like I did before diagnosis), going to a cancer recovery yoga class can be so helpful to deal with the changes and challenges that come with cancer treatment. Having yoga teachers specially trained to work with cancer patients can make all the difference in your experience of yoga and your practice of Ahimsa.
Keep the Yama of Ahimsa in mind whenever you step onto your yoga mat. Practice loving compassion towards yourself and others. Do no harm. Meet your physical body where it is at in any particular time knowing that every day is different and your body’s needs may fluctuate as you work towards better health.
When cancer enters the life of yourself or a loved one - everything changes. I hope this blog might serve to help someone else on their journey. Feel free to comment or submit any questions you may have about cancer treatments, coping strategies, the services offered by Be Well, and/or anything else that might come up to the Be Well contact page. Please know that you are not alone.
With love, light, and peace,