It is high time for breast health to take the front seat in conversations surrounding women’s health. For, breast cancer, which used to be a concern mainly for women in their 40s is the most common type of cancer afflicting Indian women today. Even younger women are being diagnosed with this life-altering disease. In fact, as per statistics, one Indian woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every four minutes.
While the numbers may sound alarming, the silver lining is that we have the power to actively tackle the stigma around it and keep breast health in check. As someone deeply rooted in yoga for a decade, let me give you two reasons why yoga can be your ultimate ally in maintaining breast health:
Yoga enhances lymphatic flow. One of the most important factors in maintaining breast health is the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system in everyday terms is simply our body's clean-up crew. It helps our body remove toxins and waste ensuring that there is no harmful build-up anywhere in the body including breast tissue. For the lymphatic system to work efficiently and push out toxins, movement is important. This is where yoga steps in.
Yoga helps enhance the lymphatic flow. When we do yoga and go from one pose to another mindfully, it's like a gentle massage for our muscles. This internal massage helps the lymph fluid move and carry away all the junk efficiently. This in turn helps us avoid any kind of or congestion that can develop into breast-related issues.
Yoga waves goodbye to stress. Stress has become our constant
companion today. It is important to be aware that it can have a profound impact on breast health. Long-term stress can cause hormonal imbalances, which may affect breast tissue and contribute to various other health concerns.
Yoga encourages relaxation, calms the mind and eases tension in the body. By including this stress-reducing practice, you can maintain the hormonal balance which is crucial for your breast health.
Now, let’s explore five yoga poses that can be practiced to maintain breast health.
Balasana (Child’s Pose), is a restful yoga pose that relaxes the chest muscles and helps stretch the back and hips.
Start in kneeling position with toes touching and knees spread out.
Sit back on your heels. Exhale and fold your torso forward bringing your forehead to the floor.
Extend your arms and rest them alongside your body.
Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, breathing deeply.
Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose 2), enhances lymphatic flow reducing the
risk of harmful build-up in the breast tissue.
Begin in standing position, with your feet wide apart.
Turn your right foot outward and your left foot should slightly turn inward.
Keep your right knee at 90° angle while keeping the left foot diagonally straight.
Extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor.
Look at your right arm and hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then switch sides.
Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), helps us open our chest and strengthen our back.
Lie on your stomach with your legs extended. Keep your palms alongside your chest.
Inhale and lift your chest off the ground. Use your back muscles. Don’t use your arms.
Keep your elbows slightly bent and shoulders relaxed.
Hold for 15 - 30 seconds, then release.
Dhanurasana (the Bow pose), strengthens chest muscles and increases spine flexibility.
Lie on your stomach with your arms alongside your body.
Bend your knees and arch back to grab your ankles.
Inhale, lifting your chest and thighs off the ground.
Hold for 15 - 30 seconds, then release.
Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose), induces relaxation. This pose supports breast health by helping reduce physical stress.
Sit with your side against a wall and slowly roll over to lay your back on the floor.
Swing your legs up the wall while lying on your back.
Keep your legs straight or with a slight bend.
In case of neck/back issues, use pillow for support.
Relax in this position for a couple of minutes.
To come out of this pose, bend your knees and slowly bend towards roll over to your side. Do not forget to take deep breaths.
Along with regular breast check ups, following a healthy diet and ensuring restful sleep, you can empower your breast health by practicing these yoga poses regularly.
Saurabh Bothra is a certified Yoga instructor and CEO of Habuild Yoga.