Anxiety is a major factor for anyone going through cancer treatment and can have a hugely negative impact on quality of life. This week we will focus on calming anxiety, stress and worry through a series of gentle movements, breathing exercises and mudras that will all ease the intensity of anxious moments. Be sure to periodically check in with how the body, breath and mind are affected by these practices and your awareness of each of these levels of your being.
Virabhadrasana I, or Warrior I is a challenging standing pose the incorporates many opposing forces within the body. The feet are grounded without collapsing the energy into the earth, the pelvis is turned slightly toward the back leg as the chest reaches forward, the arms reach up as the shoulders stay connected to the back of the body. This week we will learn how to incorporate all of these alignment points with versions of Warrior I on the side, on the back and standing.
Side Lying Warrior I Variation
Lay on right side with long folded blanket under right waist and another folded blanket supporting the head. Bend both knees until the shins are parallel with the long side of the mat. Extend left arm overhead and bend elbow, resting hand on floor or a block. Extend left leg straight and press foot behind the body opening the front of the left hip. Keep left hip stacked over right hip and hold pose for up to one minute, bend knees and roll onto the back to change sides.
Begin on all fours and bring left foot between hands. Inhale sweep arms forward and up overhead pressing pelvis forward. Exhale and touch floor on either side of foot as you lift left knee off floor with the toes turned under. You may also use blocks under the hands if it is difficult to reach the floor.
Repeat to both sides 5 times with the breath.
Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I)
Begin standing in Tadasana. Step left leg back about three feet keeping feet hips width apart. Keep right toes turned forward and left foot turned slightly out. Turn hips gently towards front foot and balance weight on both feet. Inhale arms overhead. Exhale and bend right knee. Draw belly up and release tail bone towards floor.
Hold 5-10 breaths then release and change sides.
Pain can come in many forms during cancer treatment, from surgery, the bone pain associated with some chemotherapy, localized pain from radiation treatments, or from the cancer itself. This week we will concentrate on practices that gently move the body to ensure proper circulation of blood and energy to help alleviate pain.
I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.