Most of us at this time are deeply concerned about how we can keep our loved ones safe from the dangers posed by the COVID-19 epidemic. However, there’s another widespread epidemic that we tend to overlook, says yoga teacher and author Sat Dharam Kaur in this free download.
In North America, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives, and the risk goes up the older we get. But what most people don’t know is that there are many, many ways to increase the body’s own healing resources to decrease the odds of developing breast cancer.
For comparison, the number of women in China with breast cancer is still relatively low, notes Sat Dharam. This illustrates that there are numerous factors, mainly diet, stress, and other lifestyle-related factors that make a big difference in how protected women are.
So why aren’t we being more proactive about protecting ourselves?
“For most of us, a big factor is that we are in denial. We don’t want to go there, because it’s too big, too scary, and we don’t know what to do,” notes Sat Dharam. “And we’re all so busy, that it’s one more thing to try to find time for.”
But the reality is that there are many, many factors that we know are protective, which could dramatically reduce the incident of breast cancer, notes Sat Dharam.
Yoga is one of the big pieces, she says, because as research has documented, yoga strengthens the immune system, particularly the responses needed to fight autoimmune diseases and cancer. Activities like yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, Tai Chi, and moderate exercise have been shown to strengthen the body’s innate healing systems to better prevent or protect women from cancers.
Kundalini yoga specifically includes many different breathing exercises and Kriyas, which are specifically targeted to strengthen immune function, she notes.
The other piece of how yoga can help prevent breast cancer is that chronic disease, including cancer, often is related to stress. Yogic breathing exercises and meditations, research shows, activates the vagus nerve and are very effective at inducing the relaxation response.
“So yoga becomes a time that we give ourselves to relax, which allows us to digest better and breathe more deeply, and that in turn generates a healing response,” she notes. “So to have that healing response, we need to be in a relaxed state. It’s not going to happen otherwise.”
In addition, yoga and meditation also helps us develop the capacity to listen to ourselves and to connect with our intuition. So if something’s not right in our life, if we’ve been going along for a long time on a certain path burning ourselves out, the inner listening that happens through meditation can guide us to change our direction. So we don’t need a disease to change our direction.
Sat Dharam also talks about how the lymphatic system needs movement and deep breathing to be active. That is the key system to uphold immunity and to cleanse and remove the environmental toxins from the breast area, she notes. So we need to so yoga routines that open up the lymphatic circulation to the breasts. These are some of the ways that yoga can be extremely beneficial in decreasing the risk of breast cancer.
Sat Dharam further lays out a number of dietary guidelines that can be immensely helpful in balancing the hormones, particularly estrogen balance.
“The only constructive way to look at the issue of breast cancer risk is as an opportunity for transformation and learning,” she notes. “Once this happens, focusing on decreasing the risk of cancer is no longer an issue of fear, rather, it can open a door of radical change in our lives, attuning ourselves more to the factors in life that nourish us and those around us.”
“The breast is a symbol of the way we relate to the earth,” says Sat Dharam “It’s a symbol of our capacity to nourish our young, and our whole survival depends on our capacity to nourish our young.”
“That’s being threatened right now, mostly because of the conditions that women face and the conditions of the environment. But with the right knowledge, we have the power to change that.”
You may also be interested in Sat Dharam’s course, Yoga for Breast Health: Essential Principles for Preventing Breast Cancer.