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Prevent Breast Cancer with Healthy Lifestyle Choices for 2012

by Diana Ross on 01/02/12

Necessary Lifestyle Choices for Optimum Health

An anti-cancer lifestyle will include a variety of exercise, organic foods, clean pure water and air. There are a few easy steps to keep the body safe and healthy. It is important to cultivate an awareness of what feels and taste right going into your body. It is equally important to stop and take notice of bad choices. Ask yourself “Is this good or bad for me? “Will it make me feel better or worse?”  We all want to feel alive and vital.

Exercise – Yoga
Practicing restorative yoga has shown through studies to encourage and improve sleep and to enhance overall quality of life. (Reuters Health) – About one third of breast cancer survivors experience fatigue that affects their quality of life. A new study found that doing yoga might help restore some lost vitality. There are some simple suggestions to start exploring a change in vitality.

Cancer Prevention Foods – Vegetarian/Vegan Diet
It is suggested to eat a plant base diet of fruits and vegetables: make your diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables that are full of micronutrients and bioflavonoids which are duly noted to help prevent breast cancer or other cancers. Here are some simple choices to select from to start improving your health.

Water Therapy – Alkaline Water
Alkaline water (referred to as ionized water) can neutralize or decrease the acidity of the body’s pH caused by stress, modern diet, and air pollution. We suggest trying this water and feeling the possible positive effects.

  • Find a water store and get alkaline water by the gallon (it usually stays charged with negative ions for up to 48 hours)
  • Purchase if possible a home alkaline water system that filters pollutants as well as charging the water with negative ions and anti oxidants
  • Benefit from the many ways to use alkaline water like necessary hydration for the body’s cells

Manage Stress – Learn to Breathe
Deep breathing is vital in that it encourages the release of body toxins, rebuild healthy tissue which consequently increases overall energy. This true oxygen exchange stimulates digestion, assimilation and elimination. A very important function of breathing fully and slowly is that the body’s natural relaxation response is prompted. This relaxation response results in decreased tension, anxiety and fatigue. A great place to start is with our single down-loadable breathing exercises or you could do the following.

Laugh Often – Emotional Balancing
It has been shown that even when manipulated to smile people in truth feel happier and joyful. Laughter can stop depression right in its tracks and boosts our immunity. We suggest the following to bring on happiness.

  • Have a daily joke sent to your e-mail
  • Watch funny YouTube videos
  • Listen to the comedy channel on the radio
  • Download comedians from iTunes

By : Diana Ross, E-RYT 500
Founder & Survivor: Breast Cancer Yoga

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Supported and Safe with Yoga Props During Breast Cancer Recovery

by Diana Ross on 12/20/11

Supported and Safe Poses

Using yoga props can make all the difference in the world for a person to feel safe, supported and nurtured. Props create a perception that the Earth is rising up to provide support, and create a feeling of being safe. Using blocks, blankets and bolsters decreases muscular tension and anxiety about letting go or falling in a pose. Yoga props also provide the opportunity to surrender deeper into a pose, without the distraction of strain or pain. After surgeries or treatments it is common to feel tight, inflexible and weakened. It is here where yoga props can facilitate great physical and emotional change.  

Yoga Pose Without Discomfort

Yogis of the past used props, such as ropes, stones and wooden logs to help support a yoga pose. These props served great purpose when an aspiring student lacked yoga experience, had not stretched their muscles enough, or could hold a pose without discomfort for any significant time. Here to they offered great support for the body.

Relieve Pain With Yoga Props

A restorative yoga therapy such as Breast Cancer Yoga, which uses many yoga props, serve a valuable function of support before and after surgery, especially when there is ongoing stress or limited ROM (Range of Motion) in the arms, back and chest. Poses that are properly supported with props can help in breast cancer recovery by relieving associated pain and discomfort. By taking pressure off the joints and muscles of the body, a person may be able to relax more and focus better on the breath, and to then hold the pose longer. Being able to let go and surrender in a pose comfortably allows the mind and body to feel safe and nurtured. 

Most importantly, when props are used correctly, they allow the body to come into a natural and balanced state of alignment.  When the body is aligned, the mind feels balanced as well. Once the body and the mind unite, the breath too becomes aligned and brings a deeper, internal state of peace.

By: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500

Founder: Breast Cancer Yoga

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Triggers of Unhealthy Breathing

by Diana Ross on 12/14/11

There are certain influences on breathing that trigger unhealthy breathing, and pain is just one. The breath will register pain with sudden piercing inhalations and fierce exhalations, and the breath stays affected the entire time that the pain persists or until the pain crisis passes. Emotions also trigger enormous changes in breathing; just by witnessing a scary picture, fear will be triggered. Or the breath can become relaxed and take on a completely different point of reference if we see a beautiful sunrise or sunset.  Stress too has an affect on the breath.  The breath is hard wired into your nervous system and if you become tense, hurried or overwhelmed the stress may linger on well past the event.

Training the breath can help bring these various influences on breathing to conscious place for change. And it makes the breathing a stronger tool to resist the disruption of all these harmful influences: stress, pain, fear and becoming overwhelmed. A trained breath can also help defuse these powerful and disruptive emotional reactions and keep them at bay.  Through practice, the breath can become a powerful instrument in managing stress, restoring energy and calming the mind.

Diaphragmatic breathing “belly breathing” will help manage anxiety when levels of stress are difficult to manage.  Pain can be a signal for you, and an opportunity to transform the situational influences in a positive way.   These influences need to be managed instead of being a crippling. It is here where developing a daily breathing practice can become the foundation of managing upsets.  I know that anxiety, stress, fear and any other type of tension will appear here and there. However, there is no reason not to have the tools to manage or decrease their effects and provide you with the ability of feeling in control.
By: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500
Founder, Breast Cancer Yoga

Why Do We Take Breathing For Granted?

by Diana Ross on 12/12/11

Breathing is Automatic
We take the breath for granted; that it is automatic and will always persist, uninterrupted day and night.  But precisely because breathing does not require our attention it can be hard to understand “why”.  
Yoga And Breathing
Yoga instructs us to learn to breathe with greater awareness.  When the breath is properly trained it becomes an effective therapeutic tool; always present, effective in prevention of emotional stressors and restorative. First the need to consciously learn to regulate and develop a rhythmical breath for a maximum outcome is required. All it takes is the merest voluntary effort and a conscious change in the way we breathe.
Unconscious Breath
Breathing normally without conscious awareness occurs outside our mind’s awareness. The breathe is governed by certain cells that measures blood gas levels, which create a crude rhythm of respiration that coordinates the activity of the respiratory muscles.  All of which makes breathing smoother and effective.  Just imagine all the inhalations and exhalations passing some 21,600 times in just one day; and that is with out any breaks. Pretty amazing.  We ask “Why not take the breath for granted?” This is why not.  It is a gift that keeps giving and most of the time we do not acknowledge it.
By: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500
Founder: Breast Cancer Yoga

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Breathing for Anxiety

by Diana Ross on 12/08/11

Anxiety Triggers

For many depression sufferers, anxiety can be quite formidable. Anticipation of having breast cancer, potentially having to do chemotherapy or radiation treatments can trigger great anxiety. This anxiety can then disrupt any normal physical or emotional functioning. Besides when anxiety is great enough it can bring on fatigue, sleeplessness, the jitters, irritability and painful headaches.  Not very good for recovery.
Remedy to Reduce Anxiety
Anxious people tend to take short, shallow breaths which create an erratic heartbeat, dizzyiness and even lightheadedness. Fear may play a hugh role in these physical changes. It is not unusual to treat these symptoms with medication. These medications run the possibility of becoming addictive. Instead of taking something that could become a problem, why not turn to your own breath as a possible solution to anxiety.  One simple remedy to reduce anxiety is to learn how to breathe slowly and deeply.  Slow inhales and exhales with your complete attention can be quite amazing.

By: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500

Founder: Breast Cancer Yoga

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Why is Breathing so Important For Recovery?

by Diana Ross on 12/07/11

Take A Deep Breath

We hear from time to time this familiar phrase ”take a deep breath” when we become stressed or over excited. Ever wonder why?  There are so many reasons as to why.  Taking a full, deep conscious breath has been known to settle us down when we are  nervous or upset.

Gain Control Of Emotional State

First step is to tune into your breath and become a conscious breather (as much as possible). The immediate result of tuning into your breath is the ability in obtaining control of your emotional state of mind. There is also greater (efficient) oxygen absorption and carbon dioxide elimination.  Now for the a positive potential results of facilitating recovery from surgery and beyond, is the ability to calm your nerves and invite relaxation. The immune system will benefit as well to proper breathing cycles. By conscious breathing we bring the mind/body state into balance and the nervous system runs with maximum efficiently.

Learn & Develop a Breathing Practice

Now how can we facilitate something that may be so challenging, especially when someone  has a  “monkey mind”, a restless mind that jumps all over.  If you can find a yoga teacher that specializes in breathing techniques or maybe a great breathing CD that introduces specific stress relieving breaths this would be most helpful. However, this could be the easy part, the real job would be the commitment to yourself to learn and develop a breathing practice. All I can tell you is that it is so worth it.  Studies support that proper breathing play a large role in recovery by balancing, energizing, and relaxing the mind/body connection.  Try it; it is for everyone.

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Laughter as Medicine

by Diana Ross on 11/18/11

Laughter as Medicine

By: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500

Founder: Breast Cancer Yoga

Physical & Emotional Health 

I want to share my feelings on laughter and joy as part of the healing cycle of breast cancer recovery, and for that fact many other conditions. I know that laughter has a real beneficial effect on our physical, and emotional health. Laughter will literally melts stress away, so why aren’t we laughing more to relieve all the stress and improve our health? It may be a bit of a challenge to get out of our own way. To often we take life, and our circumstances to seriously and it really doesn’t serve us to do so.  I know for myself when I stop and watch anything funny I focus only on “funny”.  

Medical Research on Laughter 

Studies at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, March 7, 2005 has one of the most ground breaking results in terms of laughter’s role in the health of the mind and body.  There is a strong connection between blood vessel expansion (vasodilation) through laughter. Improvement to the blood flow after laughter is equal to a 15-30 minute workout. Researchers believe laughing causes the body to release beneficial chemicals called endorphins, or “natural pain killers.” The release of endorphins contribute to a sense of well-being and will counter act the effects of stress hormones, and cause the dilation of the blood vessels. Even anticipating laughter can increase endorphin levels, and help boost the immune system. All which will reduce inflammation in the body. 

Laughter for Chemotherapy & Radiation Therapy

When going through chemotherapy or radiation laughing can only help. The best part of laughing is that it puts us in a positive state of mind, and that is exactly what’s needed to bring us through the physical and emotional roller coaster ride of breast cancer. Another key feature of laughter is that it moves lymph fluid around the body at a biophysical level.  Just by “over laughing”; that robust, gut explosive laughter is healing.  Our immune system function is stimulated by laughter, it literally clears out old, dead waste and toxins from our organs and muscle tissue. It is important that we understand that our lymph system doesn’t have it’s own pump; we need to move around (and breath deeply) in order to properly circulate lymph. Laughter supports this function.

Important to Stay Positive and Laugh

The more we laugh the happy we will become and through the laughter we will develop a positive attitude towards everything. Even if there are times where we don’t feel it, we need to fake it. It has been shown that even when manipulated to smile people in truth feel happier. Laughter stops depression right in its tracks and boosts our immunity.

Use Laughter as Our Medicine?  

We know now is the time to pull out all the stops and help ourselves get better. We need to reduce our levels of chronic stress (our journey with cancer may have just begun), we need to boost our immune system function, protect our nervous system, and my God our sanity. Well, “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” 

I cannot say enough about laughing, right down to the fact that the people around us will enjoy our company which will support our well being.  Go check out funny videos; YouTube is full of funny.  Rent funny movies. I guarantee a lot of laughter.

Breast Cancer Yoga Backbends for Breast Cancer Recovery

by Diana Ross on 11/06/11

Well Breast Cancer Awareness month is now behind us however, the importance of recovery remains steadfast.  We want to share the benefits of doing backbends and how they can bring about wellness. Typically in yoga there are offered in three stages, simple, medium and advanced, and it is recommended that they be practiced in this in order. This will allow for the back to adapt to the bend.  Please educate your muscles step-by-step.

These are Some of the Benefits of Backbends
  • Stretches spine and opens chest for increased mobility
  • Increased shoulder’s ROM, which decreases stiffness or lessen Frozen Shoulder
  • Stretches breast tissues
  • Increases cervical and axillary lymphatic drainage, especially while consciously breathing deeply
  • Stretches lower body for increased flexibility of rib cage and thoracic spine
  • Post surgical benefits of reducing fibrous adhesions and scar tissue
  • Great for strengthening lungs by way of opening the chest

Backbends and Yoga Props
For greatest relaxation and stress reduction, a restorative practice of backbends is commonly done in which props are used in many innovative ways.  Yoga props allow the pose to bring the body (here it would be the back spine) into proper alignment which create the subtle adjustments to assist in improving blood flow. The breath expands greatly when the chest is open, thus benefiting correct oxygen exchange and ridding the lungs of their residual stale air volume.

Backbends and Breathing
A conscious and deep breath will physically bring increased circulation and lymphatic drainage to the breast area, moreover the breath has mental and emotional benefits of decreasing anxiety, fear, and depression, etc.

The best way to feel these benefits of breathing is to take time and try them.  It may take several tries over a period of time but the rewards are so worth the effort.  Breast Cancer Yoga has just released 5 easy to learn breaths for wellness.

By Diana Ross, E-RYT 500
Breast Cancer Yoga

Benefits of breathing with flowing movements for breast cancer recovery

by Diana Ross on 10/24/11

Come and tune in to my first radio talk show with Irina

One question I will cover is: Does breathing and yoga movements together help manage lymphedema associated with breast cancer? Absolutely, breathing and moving are necessary for managing lymphedema.  Some of the benefits of yogic breathing and gentle flowing poses assist the body to circulate lymphatic fluid through its network of vessels. 
In order to keep this fluid flowing, we need to foster relaxation.  This need to develop a deeper state of relaxation to counter act mind and body stress is so important for our health, well-being and recovery. Practicing yoga will target the soft tissue areas with flowing movements and keep the lymphatic fluid moving throughout the channels rather than slowing down and creating a back up. On going yoga poses and breathing exercises will  keep the chest tissues from shrinking and promotes the opening and healing in the area. 

It is recognized in cancer treatment that the “milking out” of lymph fluid build up is imperative for the patients health.  In a flowing yoga practice this “milking out” can occur.  Many deep breathing practices stimulate the “milking out” of the lymphatic fluids so this too is important to bring into your yoga practice. The goal of the pose is to keep the muscles relaxed so that the muscle fibers elongate. Elongating these fibers will improve joint range of motion, reduce inflammation and enhance  respiration.  Breathing in the moment brings the realization that the pose and the breath are promoting the healing process.    

Benefits of Yoga and Lavender Aromatherapy

by Diana Ross on 10/12/11

Breast Cancer Yoga and complimentary therapies can be both preventative and supportive in fighting breast cancer. Some therapies boost the immune system to counteract chemo and radiation therapy effects. They can also reduce nervousness and anxiety.  We have included a  few therapeutic essential aroma hydrosol sprays. 

Lavender - Lavandula officinalis

Lavender as an aromatherapy that just fills the air with wonderful relaxing scents. Lavender contributes to emotional support that creates relaxation, lessens nervous anxiety and reduces restlessness. Softens the impact of stress. Also helpful for relieving insomnia and encouraging restful sleep, thereby reducing fatigue.

Lavender for Chemotherapy & Radiation Therapy

Lavender contains a particular keynote to help encourage relaxation before and after chemo and radiation treatments. To a large extent the aromatic fragrance of Lavender can stimulate the body’s innate healing powers, and when energies are low or have been severely depleted, Lavender is emotionally uplifting. This essential oil is specifically formulated with particular properties which help encourage relaxation any time when needed. 

Therapeutic Actions

Offers emotional support

Lessens nervous anxiety and restlessness

Relieves headaches from stress

Helpful for insomnia

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