Become Mindful And Use Your Breath for Recovery

Monday, September 3, 2012

By: Diana Ross, E-RYT500
Survivor and Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga
September 2012

Why is it so Important? 
What Does Mindful mean?
Mindful Means “being conscious or aware of something directly.” Once mindful, you then can then foster positive change through the development of a mindful practice, like yoga or breathing. Mindfulness, whereby combining the breath consciously with yoga movements brings this awareness of the mind right into the present moment. Right where it needs to be in order to move forward and heal.

Why It is so Important to be Mindful
Because it stops the negative chatter of a restless and wandering mind. Stress and anxiety are some of the byproducts of this unmindfulness. We may also become careless and lack clarity in making good decisions, especially health decisions. It is right now, here where you become “present” to whatever is, or isn’t.  Learning how to stay in a mindful state allows you to get past that which may cause undo stress or harm. This can be attained through the proper training of the breath, focus of the mind and movement of the body.  When both the breath, mind and body come together, consciously, the ability to create relaxation and a new found state of clarity is then realized.  Here you can tackle recovery head on and with deep purpose.

How Does the Breath Make us Mindful?
“When the mind wanders; the breath is sure to follow.” It is stated in yogic practices  that when the mind jumps all over it is called “the monkey mind.” This unfocused mind can create a lot of stress and anxiety, all of which has a negative impact on the mind and body causing a profound effect on the autonomic nervous system which then increases stress hormones and overall emotional responses.

How Does it Help Breast Cancer Recovery?
The reason being mindful is so valuable is that the mind is deeply incorporated with the breath.  A mindful practice is cultivated through learning how to use the breath positively,  or in partnership with the mind.  It is an intentional act of unity, whereby unconscious thoughts and feelings of the mind are then brought to a single point of attention. This is achieved one way by focusing fully on the breath.  Through rhythmically breathing (inhale and exhale of the same duration) we tap into our deepest inner resources for healing, and for relaxation. By flowing through a series of breaths, the body experiences an inner calm which then awakens the prana (life energy) and moves the mind towards a higher level of understanding.  It is through the control of the breath, that the mind will reflect a higher knowledge and a positive state of confidence and self esteem.  It is  emotionally  challenging to learn you have cancer.  A natural response is “Can I do this? “ Let this be the yoga practice of self-understanding.

Mindful Yoga And Breathing Exercises For Breast Cancer
The deeper the commitment to a Mindful Yoga and Breathing practice, the deeper the relaxation response will manifest, healing the trauma of worry, anxiety and fear associated with the diagnosis of breast cancer. It is challenging to start a yoga practice when this the fear, stress, anxiety and depression surface. It is precisely at that time that we need support, not only from our doctors, families and friends, but most importantly from other women who have breast cancer or even another type of cancer. These personal connections help us to feel “part of” a community who understands our emotions and experiences. Unconditional love creates miracles!  Creating a strong support system and a safe place to be (oneself) are paramount to alleviating the stress that derives from breast cancer.  A clear mind, a full breath and a body in motion are paramount for recovery. YOU are responsible for your healing process and progress so breathe deeply and move freely. 

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