Preventing Cancer – A Yogic Perspective
by Deepakananda (Sebastian Cuenca)
Even when we, as human being, have evolved really fast in the last century, and made huge advances in some field of the medicine, there are some other diseases still difficult to treat or cure. Cancer remains amongst the top killers in our developed world and has the particularity of being able to affect any part of the body leading to disastrous consequences.
When we talk about cancer we need to deal with the correct words. It is very difficult to speak in terms of cure. Oncologists prefer to speak in term of remissions, relapses and five year survival. Understanding remissions when the cancer seems to have gone, relapses when it is again evident and instead of speaking in terms of cure, oncologist prefer to use: five year survival, considering that if a person has lived for at least five years without suffering a relapse that person can be considered cured.
But in order to understand how yoga is related with cancer management we need to have some yoga philosophy points really clear in our minds.
According to yoga philosophy there are five levels in the human being, progressively from the gross to the subtle –sthulka to sookshma. These are known as panchakoshas (five sheaths) or five bodies.
We can find some risk factors for cancer in each of these sheaths, just to have an idea of them we will mention some example in each kosha:
Annamaya Kosha (physical level)- tobacco, dietary factors
Manomaya Kosha (mental level) – hard impact traumas, stress
Pranamaya Kosha (pranic level) – malnutrition, pranic blockages
Vijnanamanaya and Anandamaya Kosha – long-term lifestyle out of sync with the basis rhythms of nature, etc.
Something else we need to understand from the yogic perspective is that cancer is like any other disease, an improper pranic supply to a region of the body or system. Disease is only an imbalance or disturbance of any of these five dimensions.
We need to have a permanent supply of proper prana in order to keep a positive health and vitality. When this process fails for one or more of the above reasons there will be a blockage in the natural path of prana and the disease will arise to allow the person to see and change something he/she didn’t want to see or change in his/her lifestyle. So it is very important to remember that carcinogens can either be physical or mental!
Yoga offers us a great variety of practices to deal with this illness, understanding that yoga as complementary therapy working together with the modern medicine. We will approach and work with different practices. Some of those are:
- Yoga asanas: Therapeutic postures which will stimulate specific nerves, organs and glands.
- Yogic lifestyle: Albert Einstein used to define the word insanity as follow: “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results”. We will need to change patterns, our way of thinking, our way to deal the problems, etc. The illness must be a teacher to make us learn a different way to live the life.
- Pranayama: The science of directing, monitoring, guiding, controlling and managing the life force. Through pranayama we will be working on restoring and supplying energy to the organ or system which is poor in energy.
- Yogic diet: There is an old saying: “Jaisa anna vaisa mana” meaning that your mind will be according to your diet.According to yoga, food is not only a mixture of all the basis ingredients like proteins, vitamins, etc. but it is something which serves as a source of energy for mind and body.There are many foods (sugar, alcohol, snack food, etc.) that increase the risk of cancer while there are others (garlic, berries, broccoli, green tea) which have the benefits of reducing that risk. According to yoga and Ayurveda food can also be divided according its energy-doshas, taste, seasons, etc. (A professionally guided fasting can be a highly preventive for different types of cancer.)
- Yoga Nidra: Physical and mental relaxation. Bearing in mind that the true relaxation is where you are not the doer or actor and that the action is simply happening. The state where the person is a non-doer can be termed as Yoga Nidra.
- Mudras: Specific hand gestures capable of healing and provide health to all body and mind.
- Meditation: Swamiji Paramananda states “Meditation is the best medication”. It is a powerful tool to be used in any therapeutic approach. This allows the person to reach the state of pure awareness. Only through meditation the ultimate health can be achieved.
- Some other tools used are: chanting, mantras, shatkarmas, guided imagination, affirmations, Prana Nidra, etc.
The practice of yoga helps to manage cancer in the following way:
• Helps to manage the emotional and mental level of the patience during the therapy
• Reduces the side effects of the chemotherapy
• Improves the patient’s quality of life
• Improves the healing effect of any other applied therapy
• Brings energy and peace to the patient
But remember that yoga, first of all, must be taken as a preventive art and science. The comprehensive and permanent practice will reduce significantly the risk of any kind of illness while bringing peace, health and light to your life.
- A Journey Beyond Diseases with Yoga Therapy, Dr. Omanand
- Exploring Yoga and Cancer, Dr. Swami Yogapratap
- The Psychic Power of the Food, Christian Brun
About Deepakananda (Sebastian Cuenca):
Yoga and Yoga Therapy Teacher, Regional Director for Argentina of Paramananda Ashram, Centro Ki-do Director – Rosario – Argentina
Sebastian Cuenca was born in Argentina and introduced to the practice of oriental martial arts by his uncle, Daniel Cuenca, when he was 9 years old. Since then he has been investigating, reading and practicing different types of Oriental practices.
A lung cancer surprised him being very young and from that moment on everything started to change. Looking for a new way to live the life he did his first Teacher of Yoga training course in 2000. Some years later he met his Karate sensei Alicia Inoue who introduced him to the art of eating in a healthy way and living the “present” being present. In 2004 he becomes a Reiki Master and completed his certification in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Doing his second Teacher of Yoga Training course in 2008 with Liliana Fotana in Argentina he rediscovered yoga and decided to dedicate his life to the practice of Yoga and Karate, walking hand in hand the path of knowledge with great teachers as Nancy Nakazato, Liliana Fontana, etc, who helped and guided him to understand Yoga first of all as a Darshana. In 2009 he completed the Natural Nutrition Consultant Training being certificated not only in Argentina but also in Europe.
In 2012 he travelled to Okinawa, land that has the highest life expectancy of any country to meet wise Senseis from whom he received his black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate.
In 2013 Sebastian travelled to India to live and study in the Paramanand Ashram, completing the Teacher of Yoga and Yoga Therapy Certification. With his Guru, Dr. Omanandji he discovered and met the real roots and wisdoms of traditional yoga. During the time he spent in India he did, altogether with his Guruji the translation of the Patanjali Yoga Sutras into Spanish, book that was edited and printed later.
It was during that period of time when He received his Yogui name “Deepakananda” given by his Guru, Dr. Omanandji.
Deepakananda lives in Argentina and is the Regional Director for Argentina of the Paramanand Ashram. In his institute called “Ki-Do Center” he teaches Yoga, Yoga Therapy and the Teacher of Yoga Training Course where he can share all the blessings received from his Guru Dr. Omanandji for the good of mindkind.
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.centrokido.com
* Cover photo on top of the article: Freedigitalphotos.net