Can Yoga Help In Your Fight Against Cancer?

How Is Cancer Caused?

Cancer begins when genes in a cell become abnormal and the cell starts to grow and divide out of control. Typically this happens due to mutations in genes that control cell growth and division. Some of these genes are called tumor suppressor genes. Mutations may also cause some normal genes to become cancer-causing genes known as oncogenes.

Some mutations can indirectly lead to cancer. For example, mutations in a gene responsible for maintaining hormonal balance can increase the risk of endometrial and breast cancers. Mutations in a gene responsible for toxin breakdown can increase the risk of lung cancer.


Mutations may be inherited or acquired. Cancer due to inherited mutations accounts for less than 10% of all cancers. In a majority of cases, mutations are caused by the environment, lifestyle and diet. When a gene is damaged, it is more prone to mutate. This mutation can be gradual, sudden or not happen at all depending on genetic susceptibility and other factors. These other factors or triggers are what aid in increasing the risk of altering a gene, which in turn causes cancer.

Yoga For Cancer Prevention

As a holistic approach to improve overall health, yoga has been found to be beneficial in improving blood circulation, boosting metabolism, reducing stress, reducing fat deposits, eliminating toxins and improving immunity. When these functions are impaired, the risk of cancer causing triggers like free radical damage, inflammation and hormonal imbalance increases.


An ideal example of a trigger is smoking, which increases the chances of lung cancer. Our body’s detoxification enzymes aren’t sufficient to completely eliminate the toxins from cigarettes, giving room for these toxins to cause gene mutations. Yoga can help you quit smoking and boost detoxification to flush out the several toxins that smoking ingests into your system.

By improving overall health, Yoga makes the body more resilient and provide less opportunities for cancer to strike.


Yoga For Cancer Recovery

Chemotherapy is the only way to counter a developing cancer at its early stages. This process slowly stops or kills the growth of cancer cells. In the process it also kills healthy cells which makes you physically and mentally weak. Yoga can help the body recover back to its original state when practiced regularly.

Physical Benefits

Yoga improves almost every body function that is reduced due to lack of healthy cells in the system. It improves immunity, detoxification, circulation and overall strength. A study conducted on over 50 patients undergoing cancer treatment showed that 90 mins of yoga a day improved their appetite, sleep cycle, bowel movement and energy levels.1


Mental Benefits

A major aspect of the human body that needs repair after a cancer battle is the mind. Many patients slip into a state of depression when they’re diagnosed with cancer. Studies show that cancer patients suffer from depression that is over four times that of the general population.2 Cancer related depression is higher and stays longer in women than men.3

Anxiety is another aspect of mental stress that patients go through. Anxiety and depression severely damage the psychological state to such and extent that the physiological part takes a hit.


Yoga and meditation can help counter depression, anxiety and mood swings. It is effective in fighting and reducing the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, ADHD and other psychiatric disorders. Several studies conducted on the effect of yoga on cancer patients show that it helps cure depression and anxiety, improve social skills, induce positive thinking and improve general quality of life.4