Yoga for Chronic Illness

downloadYoga for Chronic Illness is an ongoing yoga class for people touched by chronic illness, including caregivers, cancer survivors, those recently diagnosed or currently undergoing treatment or recovering from any disease, chronic illness, pain, injury, or surgery. This 60-minute class offers a safe place to compassionately explore the body, to breathe into areas of tension & to strengthen areas of weakness. Gentle, therapeutic movements will assuage symptoms & balance energy, build bone density & stimulate the lymphatic system. Learn about the power & practice of breathing techniques, restorative postures & guided meditation to reduce stress & elevate the mood. Small group classes are offered to maximize individual attention to each participant. No previous yoga experience is necessary. Even if you’ve never done yoga or don’t feel well on a given day, this class will provide a sense of support and balance that can be vital within the healing process. All levels are welcome — as long as you are able to function independently and can get up and down from the floor or chair by yourself. This class is a wonderful opportunity to heal body, mind and spirit amidst the camaraderie of other yogis who share the same intention. Benefits of Yoga Chronic Illness • Decreased stress and pain, and increased well-being • Improved quality and quantity of sleep • Restored strength and range of motion, improved lymphatic flow • Enhanced energy, digestion, joint health, circulation, respiration, and endocrine function • Camaraderie with other (wonderful) yogi-survivors • Soothe anxiety, increased sense of roundedness • Be more comfortable in your body, mind, and spirit when you have been diagnosed with cancer Pre-Requisites & Information Classes include postures that safely stretch, strengthen, and relax the body. Group class is appropriate for you if: 1. You are reasonably mobile and can move independently 2. Your needs can be addressed in a group setting 3. All surgical incisions are healed 4. Your platelet count is 20,000+ 5. Complete and submit the Health Questionnaire. Participants practice at their own pace; class is as gentle or challenging as you make it. You do not have to be experienced, coordinated, or feel good to come to class. Just come! For those people who don’t match the above criteria, 1-on-1 sessions are available. Before Your First Class
 You MUST contact the instructor prior to your first class. No exceptions. It is crucial that we are aware of your health history in order to maintain a safe and positive environment. Please arrive at your first class at least 10 minutes early. Thank you for your cooperation! What to Bring Please bring your own yoga mat and wear comfortable (but not overly baggy) clothes in which you can move freely. You may want to dress in layers. Summary For over a decade, scientists, physicians, and yoga instructors have been studying the therapeutic effects of yoga on chronic illness and cancer survivors. Research studies have focused on quality of life issues, ameliorating symptoms of treatment, and palliative care, with very promising results. Recent yoga/cancer studies have been undertaken at Standford University, U.C.L.A., University of Calgargy, and M.D. Anderson, with M.D. Anderson currently pursuing research under a $2.4 million NCI grant.

What Kind of Patients Can I Refer To Yoga for Chronic Illness Class? • People who can function in a group setting and don’t need constant individual attention • All Surgical incisions have healed • Platelet count at least 20,000+(note that 1-on-1 sessions are available for people who do not meet the above criteria and need more specialized attention. • Peolple experiencing treatment-related symptoms, e.g., post surgical pain and limited ROM, sleep-issues, fatigue, hormonal issues, digestive problems. • People feeling isolated or depressed due to their cancer diagnosis, but who don’t want to go to a support group for fear of being a “downer” • People are welcome at any phase of treatment as long as they meet above criteria, they do not have to “feel good” to come to class! Students typically feel better after coming to yoga class.

Yoga for Cancer Survivors at U.S. Hospitals Many of the top cancer hospitals in the U.S. offer special yoga classes for cancer survivors, including: Memorial Sloan-Kettering, M.D. Anderson, U.C.S.F., Standford University, Hutchinson Cancer Center at University of Washington, and more. Yoga classes for cancer survivors are becoming increasingly common in major metropolitan areas. To the best of my knowledge, Longmont United Hospital currently offers the only hospital-based yoga classes for cancer survivors in all of Colorado.

Research Findings • Yoga Participants in Stanfords’s Supportive Care Program experienced decreased stress, increased well-being, increased energy, more restful sleep, and pain reduction. – Supportive Cancer Care, Volume 12, Issue 5, pages 293-301 • The day after practicing more yoga, women with metastatic breast cancer experienced significantly lower levels of pain and fatigue, and higher levels of invigoration, acceptance, and relaxation. – Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Volume 33, Issue 3, pages 331-341 • Yoga program improves global quality of life, emotional function, and diarrhea in breast cancer patients – Psycho-Oncology, Volume 15, Issue 10, pages 891- 897 • Tibetan Yoga program significantly improves quality and quantity of sleep in lymphoma patients – Cancer, Volume 100, Issue 10, pages 2253-2260



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