According to statistics, 1 out of 20 women are breast cancer survivors or are in the middle of dealing with this breast disorder. Breast cancer symptoms vary extensively — from lumps to swelling of the breasts to changes in the skin on breasts — and many breast cancer sufferers, at times, have no obvious symptoms at all. So the question is – how to prevent breast cancer? Other than altering your lifestyle and limiting your alcohol intake and staying physically active, there are a few yoga asanas which will keep your breasts happy and healthy!
Importance of a healthy lymphatic system
When women get together to chat, the conversation often turns to health issues. It is not uncommon for at least one woman to confide that she is a breast cancer survivor or perhaps is in the midst of dealing with the disease. So how does yoga fit in keeping our breasts healthy? Breast health is maintained by the body’s lymphatic system.
In addition to helping your body fight infection, an active and healthy lymphatic system removes potentially harmful materials from the body’s tissues and cells. Lymph flow is dependent upon muscle contractions, which massage the outside of the lymphatic vessels, and breathing, which pulls lymph along with each inhalation. With its sensitivity to breathing and movement, it is easy to see how the lymph system responds to yoga practice.
The following simple yoga exercises stimulate the circulation of blood and vital energy through the lymphatic system. Feel free to practice these exercises and postures individually or as a set. The first two, Diagonal Stretch and Reach for Health, can be done either sitting on the floor or on a chair with the spine straight and the feet flat on the floor.
Reach for health
In this exercise, the powerful movement of the arms, coupled with the forceful breath, is similar to a martial arts exercise. The “snapping back” movement activates the lymph and breast tissues.
Sit on your heels. If you need to take pressure off the knee joints, place a firm pillow between your buttocks and legs. Make your hands into fists with your thumbs tucked inside. Bring your hands to chest level with your arms by your side, elbows pulled back.
Powerfully extend one arm forward on a deep inhalation. As your arm extends its full length, open your fingers as though you were grasping something. Then close them quickly, again with the thumb inside, and snap the arm back powerfully to the side of your body as you exhale strongly.
Repeat with the other arm and continue for 1-2 minutes.
This exercise increases the flow of energy to the body and mind. Internal heat (called tapas) and energy move from the pelvic area upward through the heart center and balance the glandular system.
While standing, bring your heels close together, or touching, and turn your feet slightly outward. Squat down, keeping your heels off the ground and bringing your fingertips to the ground with arms inside your spread knees. Straighten your spine as much as possible in the squatting position.
Inhale and straighten the legs, bringing the head as close to the knees as you can. The fingertips remain on the ground and the heels stay slightly off the ground. Exhale and return to squatting position. Continue for one minute. Then relax.
In this exercise, the lymphatic system is activated by vigorous movement and powerful breathing. The pad at the base of the little finger is a reflex point that empowers the communication center of the brain.
Sit in the easy pose. Please your thumbs on the pads of the hands at the base of your little fingers. Keep the rest of the fingers straight. Extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the ground, with the palms facing downward.
Alternately raise on arm up 600 from the horizontal while bringing the other arm down 600. Inhale as the left arm goes up, and exhale as the right arm goes up. Breathe powerfully and move quickly. Continue for 1-3 minutes.
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