A study by World Health Organisation has pointed out at breast cancer rates higher among women in more developed regions while the rates are increasing in nearly every region globally. In 2019 alone, approximately 2,68,600 cases of invasive breast cancer were reported among women while those diagnosed in men amounted to 2,670.
October is observed as breast cancer awareness month across the world to educate people, especially women about its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, apart from offering information and support to those affected by the disease. As per the WHO, nearly 2.1 million women are impacted around the world with breast cancer, an ailment which is also responsible for the largest number of cancer-related deaths among women.
Hence, it is important to practice these 5 Yoga asanas listed below to keep the risk of developing breast cancer at bay:
This is a seated forward-bending asana which is entered from Dandasana, or the seated staff pose of Yoga, by bending forward from the hips without straining and grasping the feet or lower legs.
Begin with Dandasana and place a strap around the feet while grasping them by the hands if the back is stiff. Ensure that your knees are slightly bent and legs stretched out forward.
Then inhale and extend your arms straight out to the sides and up over your head, reaching toward the ceiling while keeping your spine erect. As you exhale and empty your stomach of air, begin to come forward by hinging at your hips and place your upper body on your lower body.
Lower your arms, grip your big toes with your fingers and try to touch your knees with your nose. Remember to lengthen your spine on each inhale and deepen into your forward bend on each exhale.
2. Prasarita padottasana
This wide-legged standing forward bend is a good warm-up for other wide-stance standing poses as it stretches the backs of the legs and the inner groins. It calms the brain and eases fatigue while improving circulation of blood and toning the abdominal organs.
Keep a parallel distance of about 3 to 4 feet between your legs and place your hands on your hips. With your legs and spine intensely stretched, inhale, lift your chest up tall through your whole torso and fold slowly over your legs.
Begin to stretch your torso forward by placing your hands flat on the floor and keeping them shoulder-width apart. Fold deeper, bringing your head toward the floor.
This backbending or bow pose exercise increases and regains spinal strength and flexibility.
Lie down on your stomach, keep your feet slightly apart and almost parallel to your hips while placing your arms on the side of your body. Slowly, fold your knees up and raise your hands backwards to hold your ankles.
Inhale, lift your chest off the ground, pull your legs up and stretch it out while feeling the tension on your arms and thighs. Breathe deeply and hold onto the pose for 12-15 seconds before bringing your chest and legs back to the ground slowly.
This cow face pose is another seated asana in Yoga which is sometimes used for meditation.
Sit with your legs stretched out and then, bend the left leg and place the foot under the right hip. Next, bend the right leg over the left leg and draw it towards the left hip.
Keeping the right knee on the left one, bend the left hand behind and bring the palm up. Raise your right hand to reach the left one and clasp it. Breathe slowly while sitting in this position while keeping your eyes closed and release after 30 seconds or one minute.
Another backbend exercise of Yoga, this asana is too gives great flexibility to the spine. Perform this only when your stomach and bowels are empty.
Lie down on your back and fold your legs at your knees to ensure that your soles are placed firmly on the floor and closer to your buttocks. Keep your feet hip-width apart and your palms facing the sky.
Inhale, balance your weight on your limbs and lift your entire body up to form an arch. Relax your neck keeping it long and allow your head to hang gently behind.
Hold onto the pose for as long as you are comfortable and then release by bending your arms, legs and gently lowering your back on the ground. Lie down in Shavasana for a few minutes before resuming.
Internationally acclaimed Yoga master, Grand Master Akshar, who is also a philanthropist, spiritual guru, lifestyle coach and author suggests, “A holistic lifestyle can support and protect you through anything especially in a condition like breast cancer. Yoga is an extremely useful addition to your life as it lends strength in all aspects of living such as physical, mental and even emotional. Yoga builds your immunity, and you can also plan a diet accordingly that brings many benefits. Nourishing and nutritious food enhances gut health, boosts digestion and keeps your organs functioning smoothly. Yoga and meditation also ensure that you remain upbeat and positive.”