Yoga Poses

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Hatha yoga focuses on a physical practice. In this practice, we use our pranayama (deep, rhythmic breathing), as we perform physical poses, or asanas. These poses strengthen our bones, muscles, internal organs, nervous system, boost our immune systems, improve our posture, enhance our mood and help us to realize the connection of our self with universal energy. Research studies have investigated the effects of asana practice on people living with cancer, and the results show the benefits of yoga for these individuals.

Asanas are grouped into categories. Each category of asana has a specific purpose:

Seated poses: improve posture, stretch muscles

Quadruped (hands and knees): promote bone strength and core strength

Two-legged standing poses: promote bone strength and balance

One-legged standing poses: promote bone strength, balance and focus

Hip opening poses:  promote joint health

Spinal extension poses: promote spinal health

Twisting poses: cleanse internal organs and promote spinal health

Inversions: promote spinal and nervous system health

Relaxation poses: integrate the asana practice into our bodies, minds, and spirits

The asana poses range from simple to complex. We begin with poses that are right for us, and as we learn, we incorporate our deep breathing (pranayama), and learn to practice the remaining limbs of yoga—withdrawing of the senses (pratyahara), focus (dhrana), and meditation (dhyana) to obtain bliss (samadhi).

In our next blog, we will begin our asana practice with an easy pose that we can practice safely. Take time to learn about asanas through a qualified instructor who is experienced in teaching yoga to people living with cancer.

Lisa Marie Bernardo, PhD, MPH, RN, HFS
Blog Info
This blog highlights the current evidence for integrating yoga into cancer care. Strategies for practicing the eight-limbs of yoga are posted and shared. Video links allow for demonstration of yoga practices that benefit everyone.
Author Bio
Lisa Marie Bernardo, PhD, RN, is a registered yoga teacher (RYT). She serves as a co-investigator on research projects related to yoga in women with osteopenia and individuals at risk for type-2 diabetes. Dr. Bernardo is an ACSM-certified Cancer Exercise Trainer and Health Fitness Specialist. She maintains a private practice in mind-body fitness using yoga, Stott-Pilates, and Gyrotonic to serve individuals with special healthcare needs.
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