A slower paced, more meditative version of the popular discipline of yoga. This slow and soothing practice can help create more space in the body and mind
While not a cure or a treatment for cancer, yin yoga is a very gentle physical exercise that has been found to help with:
Relaxation, Releasing tension, Restoring flexibility and strength, Encouraging mobility, Feelings of wellbeing
What is yin yoga?
Yin yoga involves longer held postures (asanas) that target the connective tissue, joints, fascia and ligaments to improve joint mobility and restore a wider range of motion. Using poses such as ‘butterfly’, ‘dragonfly’ or ‘cat pulling tail’ to work with our hips, pelvis, shoulders and spine through forward bends, hip openers, back bends and twists.
What can I expect?
You’ll be asked to complete a medical questionnaire prior to starting the course. At the start of each session your instructor will ask about any changes and check how you’re feeling that day.
Classes are currently conducted online in small groups, typically just 6 participants. You won’t need gym or any other specialist clothing, just a chair, a yoga mat and loose comfortable clothes, so that you can move freely, and flat shoes (or you can remove your shoes if preferred).
Having practised on a regular basis with a trained teacher, many patients feel empowered to continue practising at home.
How long does it take?
Classes last an hour and the class content is explained at the first session, along with guidance on how to participate. You are always free to just sit and watch if this is best for you.
How does yin yoga work?
It can teach the body how to relax and let go; using the time spent in each posture to focus on the breath (our pranayama), helping calm the nervous system and slow the heart rate. Many people find that their Yin practice releases tension or emotions held in the body – perhaps just the tension of that day, but in a deeper practice it might also help unravel and release the tensions and memories that we can hold in our bodies for many years.
There is also evidence that physical activity can be beneficial to those with a diagnosis of cancer.
I’m concerned about…
While yin yoga is a low-impact exercise, if you have any concerns about doing physical exercise (for instance if you’ve had surgery, or are concerned about scar tissue) it’s best to discuss this first with your instructor. If you’re happy to continue, take this at your own pace, building up gradually over time.
The overall health benefits of exercise, particularly one that’s low-impact, are being increasingly recognised in research programmes.
Our yoga instructor is qualified to teach Hatha, Yin and Vinyasa flow, and has completed training, provided by NHS staff, in the cancer patient pathway.
All of our instructors are fully insured and give their time for free. Donations are used to cover essential items such as equipment, continuing professional development of our volunteers and to pay our essential part-time staff.
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