Yoga easing breast cancer treatment

Yoga easing breast cancer treatment

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We often hear about the healing power of yoga; but the benefits for breast cancer patients are less talked about. Now cancer patients in Sydney are using yoga...

We often hear about the healing power of yoga; but the benefits for breast cancer patients are less talked about.

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Now cancer patients in Sydney are using yoga to help them get through treatment.

Yoga therapist Margery Hellman has been running classes for female patients at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Camperdown for four years. 

Margo McDonald has been attending Margery’s classes since her breast cancer diagnosis almost two years ago and said yoga was vital in helping her get through chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

“It made an enormous difference –  more than any other treatment,” she said. “It helped with my fatigue, made me able to sleep a lot better, calmed me down and made me a lot less anxious about the process.”

Mandy Lamkin is another patient taking the classes. Initially Mandy was reluctant to do any physical activity during chemo.

“I couldn’t imagine exercising during that period; it was really extreme,” she admitted. But she has found the effects of yoga therapy to be wonderful for her mental and emotional health.

“The routine is very reassuring and helps me get through my day-to-day life,” Mandy said. “This consistency and being in a supportive space where the people remember you contributes greatly to a sense of community and wellbeing.”

The classes combine gentle breath-centred movement, breathing practices, relaxation and meditation.

Margery said as classes are created for cancer patients, she practises gentle yoga.

“This involves modifying poses to take into account the patients’ ongoing treatment, recovery needs and physical state. Classes are designed to help lower anxiety and promote a positive mood.”

While both Margo and Mandy had done yoga prior to their diagnosis, they said experience isn’t needed for the classes.

“I would definitely recommend it to anybody who is going through cancer treatment,” Margo said. 

  • Gentle yoga classes are held on Tuesdays and Fridays, 11.45am in the Lifehouse LivingRoom, Chris O Brien Lifehouse, Missenden Road, Camperdown. Phone 8514-0038 or email livingroom@lh.org.au
BREATHE EASY: Yoga student Liz enjoys a restorative pose for relaxation in the Lifehouse yoga class.

BREATHE EASY: Yoga student Liz enjoys a restorative pose for relaxation in the Lifehouse yoga class.

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