I am sharing some personal news that I have recently been given, which based on my current perspective, is not all that bad. I think yoga and some of my spiritual practices have greatly influenced my outlook. I was recently diagnosed with colon cancer and some lymph nodes may also be affected. I went for my first routine colonoscopy, dutifully. They found a few masses in the cecum area. The biopsy and CT scan confirmed the diagnosis. Since I was not feeling any symptoms or had any issues in that area, I was quite shocked to say the least.
It conjured up the memory of eleven years earlier when the breast cancer mass was found after my mammogram. Only then, I had a toddler and no experience with cancer. I have a positive living memory of my own experience with breast cancer and feel grateful that it was a good one. I had excellent care from the medical world, a world of support around me, my yoga practices including asana, meditation, breathing and mindfulness as well as nutritious foods. I also took a journey into hard questions about myself and the way I treat myself, from my own doubts, self-love, and using my voice for my truth.
I anticipate while this is a whole different cancer, treatment and recovery, I will undergo another journey into self discovery, my practices and my relationship with the world. These are lessons that may take a lifetime but I get to face them head on right here, right now.
Therapeutic Spinal Strip (Heart Opener)
Props: 1 rolled up blanket, lengthwise, 1 blanket double-fold, neck pillow
Benefits: reinvigorates the spine bringing fresh blood and oxygen. With deep breath, can give the effect of a massage on the spine.
Roll a single-fold blanket keeping the roll more on the flatter side. This becomes your spinal strip. Lay this strip down on the floor and place a double-folded blanket at one end (Letter T). Sacrum is on the double-folded blanket and carefully lay the spine and head down on rolled up blanket. Use a neck pillow in cervical curve. Arms relax by the sides, palms turned up. A variation is to have knees together, feet wide apart. Stay for about 5 -8 minutes. A nice alternative to the Heart Bench.
Legs up the Wall
Props: 1-2 blankets, strap, eye pillow, blanket for warmth, neck roll, a bolster for behind legs
Benefits: increases circulation and helps venous and lymphatic flow from the lower body; relieves swelling and fatigue in the legs; helps relieve muscular skeletal stress in pelvis; quiets the mind and can help promote ease in meditation and sleep.
Begin with using a double-folded blanket to be placed right above sacrum (see photo), setting it approx. distance 6-8″ from wall (adjust in pose). Sit down on the blanket with one hip pressed right up against the wall. As you lower down, swing your legs up the wall. Once in the pose, you can adjust distance to wall, angle of legs to all, blanket and placement of legs all for comfort. Hips and tailbone will be in space between wall and blanket. Arms rest by your side, palms face up or variation with Goddess arms (photo above).
Variations: To ground legs, blanket or sandbag to hang from soles of the feet. Strap can be placed around calves, so you lose the feeling of holding up legs. Tight hamstrings or really uncomfortable with legs directly up the wall? Try a bolster angled into the wall to rest legs on, add blankets for more support or move hips further from wall. Another variation is Legs up on a Chair or on a bolster with blankets on top to bring knees into a 90 degree angle.
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