cancer prevention

Yoga for Cancer: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery

Last week I was at the MD Anderson Cancer Center for the 8th Annual Oncology Training for Acupuncturists, Massage Therapists, and Yoga Teachers. What a great event!

I was shocked when the Director of Integrative Medicine delivered the Welcome and Introduction and told us that we all need to be "more connected to ourselves, each other, and the universe." Who would expect to hear this yogic concept in a world-class cancer treatment center?

Our first day of training was Cancer 101, where we learned about what cancer is and how it is staged. We learned about how different types of cancer affect different parts of the body. We learned about treatment methods and their challenging side effects.

The second and third days we were broken into groups by our areas of specialization. The yoga teachers and yoga therapists learned about the studies being conducted at MD Anderson and around the world to prove the benefits of yoga and meditation in different aspects and phases of cancer treatment.

We learned that while yoga and meditation cannot cure cancer, it can help cancer patients manage some of the side effects of their treatments and it can also provide a sense of peace and calm that is very beneficial to healing.

Another important thing we learned is the role healthy living plays in preventing cancer and other diseases. We hear this message all the time, but somehow hearing it from medical professionals in this environment really reinforced it for me. I know I need to make a better effort to eat well, sleep well, and schedule some downtime into my days, and I'm going to bring this message to my teaching to remind you to do the same.

Life is so precious. We're on earth for a relatively short period of time. It's important to take care of ourselves and each other so that we give ourselves the best chance for long, healthy lives.

This is just a brief overview of my learnings at MD Anderson. I'm happy to discuss in more detail if you're interested. Please feel free to drop me a note if you'd like to know more, or post a note in the Comments below if you'd like to share your thoughts with our community.