Where It All Began
Yoga originated in India, and dates back thousands of years. It’s still a part of Hindu and Buddhist culture, but it’s also increasingly practiced in the western world. Yoga comprises different breathing exercises (pranayama), concentration methods (mudra-bandha), meditation techniques (dhyana), and relaxation sessions (savasana).
Modern life can be incredibly stressful – more so if you suffer from a medical condition – and we are often distracted, jumping from one thought to another. In turn, this can further increase our stress levels. Yoga increases the awareness of your thoughts, relaxes your body, and calms your mind.
There are dozens of yoga types to choose from, including tranquil Yin yoga and intense power yoga. There’s even Bikram or ‘hot’ yoga which is practiced in a studio at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius/104 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, not every yoga type is appropriate for everybody. Due to its gentle approach Hatha yoga could be recommended for lymphedema and lipedema patients. The word ‘Hatha’ means energy. Hatha yoga hones the connection between body and mind through slow and gentle physical exercises (asanas). Breathing exercises (pranayama) are also part of the Hatha yoga practice.
Positive Effects on Body and Mind
Practicing yoga has many benefits for your body. It increases strength, coordination, and flexibility, improves posture, stretches shortened muscles, activates the lymphatic system, and improves blood circulation. Besides all these physical effects, yoga positively affects your mind and soul. It helps to relax you and calm you down, and improves self-confidence and self-awareness. Balanced nutrition with a focus on plant-based products is also part of the holistic concept of yoga.
How to Get Started
Before your first session, talk to your healthcare professional about how to appropriately integrate yoga into your treatment plan. Getting started with yoga is easy; all you need is an exercise mat and comfortable clothes. A pillow and a yoga block (or a thick book) may be required for some exercises. As with every other type of exercise, you should wear your compression stockings during your practice. Garments such as JOBST Confidence are designed to help you move freely in compression. Its unique Contour Fit technology conforms to your body shape more accurately than before and can therefore make these garments suitable for yoga practice.
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Claudia Lymphedema patient