Yoga and cancer

A monograph on the much debated topic of yoga and cancer, on health, and how, awareness and education can bring health back into our lives. For a Yoga and cancer protocol, see the end of the article.

Is there a cure for cancer?

The jury, so to speak, is out on this one, and has been for some time.

In the meanwhile, using the framework of yoga, my own personal experience and the knowledge that surrounds us and has been part of human tradition since the beginning of time, here are a few thoughts.

As someone wise said, the best way to cure cancer, is to never get it. Prevention, the old English saying goes, is better than cure.

However, this is about those who have unfortunately got cancer, or who have thankfully got remission from it.

Yoga can help people with cancer.

Yoga is a philosophy, it is a process and it is also a set of actions, all at the same time.


Let us look at the actions first. And maybe leave the other two out for another time.

Yoga helps in many fundamental ways to get the body and mind to function as they are supposed to do. However, the practices are not what heal someone with cancer. The body has an inherent ability to heal, to repair, to take care of itself. This ability is optimized, enhanced, put into operation in the most efficient and superlative way. This is the process - yoga practices - body is freed up to do its job, to repair and heal - the person with cancer experiences relief. A protocol is suggested towards the end of the article.

Let us go further, and zoom in on the various practices.

The practice of yoga is commonly interpreted as the practice of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and the practice of Dhyana (meditation). The more engrossed yogi will also practice Kriyas, or cleansing techniques. Yoga of course involves a change of habits, from a diverse and scattered life, to one of concentration and focus, economy and cultivation, of conservation of energy rather than the waste of it.

For someone detected with cancer, and whatever stage it is in, yoga can help.

Swami Vishnudevananda, who spread the Sivananda Yoga programme worldwide in the 1950s named after his master Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, said famously – “Health is wealth. Peace of mind is happiness. Yoga shows the way.”

How can “yoga show the way” to better health for people with cancer?

Yoga practices are meant to bring a human being into equilibrium, and then boost the state of physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Let us look at a few of them, just as a curtain raiser. The vast universe of yoga cannot be expounded here, but a glimpse is indicated for those who are really interested.