Here find specific tutorial style videos on different topics related to certain yoga postures or certain cancer complications and how to adjust your yoga practice accordingly.
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Modified Sun Salutations
This 16 minute video demonstrates how to use yoga blocks to modify sun salutations, making them more approachable for beginners, and also to help keep our spines straight, protecting them from any excess pressure that can cause trouble for those with decreased bone density.
If you don’t have access to yoga blocks, you can use household items in their place, such as a roll of paper towels under each hand, a stack of books, or even a chair placed at the front of your mat.
More vigorous Sun Salutations
This 26 minute long video demonstrates several other types of sun salutations that you can use in your yoga asana practice IF you do not have significant osteoporosis, and you are developing more strength and flexibility and are ready for more of a challenge. Remember, if you like these, you can always do them instead of the modified version in our Y4C practices. Just substitute whichever one you prefer, and make the practice your own!
Please ask your oncologist if you don’t know if your spine is healthy enough, and remember to always focus on keeping the spine streight/flat while folding your body forward!
Core strengthening tutorial
This 29 minute video is a tutorial on core strengthening exercises that you can use to boost up your core strength. This will greatly improve your yoga practice in many ways, making balance and stability much easier. Not to mention helping to try to burn some of that stubborn belly fat! Remember to start gently and increase slowly, especially if you are new to putting weight into the arms or if you know you are at increased risk of lymphedema. You CAN build up to full strength and lots of plank practice, but you must do so safely and slowly to allow your arms and shoulders time to adjust to the different movements and positions.
This 33 minute video is a tutorial on osteoporosis in breast cancer survivors, and how to stay safe as you develop your yoga practice. Unfortunately bone loss is common in breast cancer survivors. But Yoga can really help if we just approach it properly and safely. The main points are to start gently and advance slowly, to always move into and out of poses slowly and methodically, to focus on lengthening the spine, to always keep your SPINE STRAIGHT in forward folding positions, to use your blocks to help you maintain this proper alignment of the spine, and to avoid excess pressure on your neck. Please let me know if you have further questions.
Relaxing chest opener tutorial
This short 5 minute video is a quick tutorial for supported fish pose and reclining bound angle pose, which are delicious relaxing postures to open the front side of your chest, and find some flexibility in the upper back and neck. This is fabulous if you have tech neck from too much texting or a tight contracted front chest wall from breast cancer treatment. Feel free to do this pose anytime you feel you need a little stretch.
This 26 minute video is a series of stretches designed for those with lymphedema from breast cancer, or at high risk of lymphedema, to help promote lymphatic fluid return. We’ll breathe deeply, coordinating movement with breath, and build strength and flexibility in the arms and shoulders. Please also view the educational video “Yoga asana in breast cancer” for more detailed discussion about lymphedema.
Abdominal stretches for DIEP scar tightness
This 27 minute video is a tutorial designed for women with lower abdominal tightness from DIEP flap breast reconstruction scars. However, it is also appropriate for anyone who has weak low back muscles from sitting in chairs or inactivity, and needs to improve strength and mobility. As always, start slow and progress gently. If you are just recovering from DIEP, please make sure your incision is completely healed and your surgeon has released you to exercise before you begin.
Chaturanga prep tutorial
This 25 minute video is a tutorial on the preparatory poses for getting ready for chaturanga dandasana, a common transition pose used in vigorous vinyasa practices. Chaturanga requires lots of strength in the upper back, triceps, and core, but using these preparatpry poses, you can build that stregth. Alignment is super important in chaturanga, and if done improperly, you can put a lot of strain on your shoulders and end up with shoulder pain and injury. Therefore, as emphasized in the video, it is imperative to keep the elbows back toward the hips and shoulders/shoulderblades plugging down the back. This keeps the collarbones wide, preventing shoulders from rolling forward (as they do in a traditional push-up with elbows out), and risking compression of the shoulder joint space. Also, note body stays straight as a plank, so avoid letting your shoulders fall below the torso and avoid letting your hips drift up. Remember, go slow and progress at your own pace. Start with just a few breaths in each of the prep poses, and then work up slowly before you even start trying to lower down into chaturanga. Build the strength to do the pose properly and you will avoid injury and gain all of the benefits!
Headstand prep tutorial
This 18 minute video is a tutorial on how to safely work toward headstand. Remember, yoga is not about “achieving” certain postures, but about what we learn along the journey, and how that translates into the rest of our lives! So no worries if you never get fully upside down. Just work on the strength and patience that headstand practice teaches us. Precautions for those with severe osteoporosis or significant prior neck injury.
Wheel pose (urdva danurasana) tutorial
This 15 minute video is a tutorial on how to work toward wheel pose. You’ll need to be able to put some weight into your hands to start prepping for wheel, and you will need 2 yoga blocks for these wheel prep poses.
Intro to arm balancing tutorial
This 13 minute video is a brief tutorial on introductory arm balances, crow, crane, and side crow. Before you begin, you should have a little arm strength and core strength, and be sure it is safe for you to be putting some weight into your arms. Remember, gentle shift of balance and lift core UP to the sky!
This 9 minute video is a tutorial on shoulderstand, or salamba sarvangasana, first using the wall for support, and then rolling up on your own. We typically take the gentler version (supported shoulderstand) in our Y4C practices so that it is accessible to everyone, but if you are ready to work into this more vigorous version, practice it with this tutorial and then feel free to substitute the full version in your Y4C practices.
Ever feel like you need a boost of energy, but don’t want to drink more coffee or take in a bunch of sugar? Or maybe sometimes feel super stressed or agitated and wish you could bring that energy down and relax? You can! Try these simple breathing exercises and see how.