I am a "Type A" personality through and through. Before I was diagnosed, the word relaxation was not in my vocabulary. Even now it is something I struggle with, though I know it is a critical part of my daily treatment.
With an intense toddler, my schedule is crazy and unpredictable. Signing up for a regularly scheduled yoga or tai chi class just isn't feasible for me right now. After a little research, I've found a few "at home" solutions that give me the both the relaxation and the flexibility that I need.
Now and Zen
The article The Anticancer Lifestyle states that, "Stress causes inflammation and weakens your immune system, two disadvantages in the fight against cancer. Though we can't avoid stress in our lives, we can learn to respond to it differently and reduce our level of stress hormones. Practices such as yoga, qigong, and mindfulness meditation can transform our response to stress and strengthen our resistance to disease."
According to the American Pain Foundation, Yoga helps people identify physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. The therapeutic effect of taking deep breaths throughout the day aims to improve one’s overall perception of life, self, and circumstance. Participants set their own goals and are respected as individuals with vast internal resources for healing, peace-of-mind, self-care, and empowerment.
It sounds great, but trying to keep a regular schedule and going to a yoga studio just isn't possible for me right now. I have good days and bad days and my life is just generally too chaotic to be able to work a class into my schedule. My solution is the Relax into Greatness CD.
Yoga Nidra at Home
Relax into Greatness
"Relax into Greatness leads you through two practices of Yoga Nidra – an ancient and life-changing approach to complete relaxation. Unlike other sitting meditation techniques, you rest on your back. There you are guided into various techniques that allow you to reach the state of complete effortlessness and awaken your potential for greatness." (product description from website)
The CD contains two different sessions - the 45 minute Long Practice and a 25 minute Short Practice. Both are done lying on your back and are rejuvenating and relaxing. For people with hectic lives like mine, Relax into Greatness is a great tool!
Another relaxation I would like to explore is meditation. I find it difficult to quiet my mind enough to practice meditation but there are classes to teach you breathing techniques and exercises to help.
Meditation is "a state of concentrated attention on some object of thought or awareness." The excellent article, The healing power of meditation, talks about how meditation has been practiced for centuries. Meditation is essentially an act of self-reflection. The goal is to calm your mind and turn your focus inwards. It is rapidly gaining popularity as a complementary alternative medicine for many chronic medical conditions. Meditation teaches people to find inner peace and access an the healing power within. Meditation requires "contemplation, consideration, introspection, and deliberation on the part of the individual."
It sounds great! Now if only I could get my mind to stop going a mile a minute...