Ashtanga Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors

In this new two-year study which will begin in the New Year, participants will complete 16 yoga sessions over eight weeks.

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As another year draws to a close we will all, in some way no doubt, be reflecting on the joys and challenges we have faced in 2016 and those still present in our lives. Wherever we may be and whatever might lie ahead in the year to come, the invitation to courage and hope is ever-present and ever-important in this increasingly complex and challenging social and political world.

One of our hopes for 2017 here at the Minded Institute is for yoga to be increasingly embraced by the National Health Service...we have come a long way but there is still a long way to go. We are so passionate about the cause because we have seen, both first-hand and in the growing body of research, just how beneficial and efficacious yoga can be for a broad range of physical and psychological health struggles: the research really is truly compelling, utterly astounding.

Throughout the year, we have explored on this page how yoga can soothe depression, ease the symptoms of PTSD, lower blood pressure, balance blood sugar levels, increase heart-rate variability, reduce back pain and enhance the ability to cope with such pain, increase bone density, aid weight management, ease anxiety, increase flexibility (of mind and body), support the processing of emotions and memories and improve digestion to highlight very few. In this linked article here we learn of another study looking at the potential benefits Ashtanga yoga can have for breast cancer survivors. In this new two-year study which will begin in the New Year, participants will complete 16 yoga sessions over eight weeks. During the first part of the study, a yoga manual suited to the needs of breast cancer survivors will be developed. Once the manual is complete it will be used with a second group of cancer survivors to test the effectiveness of the program.

One of the participants, Marentette, who has already started using yoga as part of her healing, explains:

"It was very difficult in the beginning. It felt like a very big hurdle," she said. "Each time I practiced, I felt stronger. I felt control come back into my life and into my body. The meditation and the breathing just helped calm the nerves."

Whatever we might be facing as we emerge into 2017, yoga has something to offer us. The evidence unequivocally tells us so...and our work with countless yoga therapy clients over the years makes us more passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga each and every day.

We wish you every peace and blessing for the year ahead.

Two thousand and seventeen namastes to you all.

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS