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    Back to the mat, this time to avoid having to take even half an Ambien!

    I’ve been reading the headlines with dread, the ones about sleeping pills causing death. A new study is all over the internet, terrifying millions of insomniacs, myself included. Fortunately I was able to stick with the subject long enough to investigate further, and this sleeping pill study everyone is upset about is seriously flawed. While the study authors controlled for some variables, they failed to establish that the link between sleeping pills and early death is actually causal. It could be that whatever caused the study participants to be insomniac in the first place was what predisposed them to dying prematurely.

    All the same, yoga is cheap, has no side effects, and best of all, helps me sleep. So yesterday I got started and last night I slept very well.

    I know that yoga is essential as well for me to manage my lymphedema. I am writing a lot these days, hence the somewhat sad neglect of this blog…been busy gearing up for the designed life I’ve been envisioning since I went through treatment five years ago now. That’s right, it’s been five years! I was diagnosed in February of 2007. I’m one of the lucky ones, and I don’t forget it.

    I’m almost afraid to call my blog “life after cancer” or something similar, for fear that I’ll jinx my good fortune. I know that’s silly. If the beast were to bite me again I could always call it something else. Right now, though, cancer is in the past. I am enjoying my work at the Children’s hospital, and some regular maintenance is keeping my arm from swelling up. I am starting to add more private clients, who just magically appeared after I said I was ready. I have been very busy writing for Yahoo, both on Voices and for Yahoo News. I actually get paid to be opinionated! I love that! Here are some links if you want to check it out:

    Complementary and Traditional Treatment Together to Beat Cancer
    What Your Insomnia May Be Costing You

    It’s the writing that makes my arm the most unhappy. All of it is really fun, and I have to really be committed to self care to make it doable. The yoga really helps.

    Oh yeah, there’s the mom job too. My offspring are now as tall as I am, and I am at the endless taxi driver stage.

    Life is grand.

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    Is yoga therapy?

    For me it is. It is good for me in a number of ways. It was good before I got sick, and it is good for me now whenever I take the time to do it. It was especially helpful after I had surgery. My doctor was delighted and amazed at how back I got my range of motion! At this time there is no difference in how I can move my left arm (the one affected by surgery) and the right. There is also very little difference in strength, although I have some lymphedema in the left arm. The lymphedema occurred for the first time when I got distracted and neglected my practice of yoga.

    Here is why it’s good practice:
    1. It is meditation, for folks who are challenged to meditate. The poses require concentration to do properly, and the breathing is very settling. I believe that yoga provides the same benefit for me as sitting for meditation. It is true also that the practice of hatha yoga is said to make the body comfortable for meditation. Either way it is a win/win.

    2. Yoga brings my full awareness into my body. I am more aware of all of me, my spirit inhabiting my body and everything going on it it. I am more likely to take care of issues before they start if I am doing yoga.

    3. Yoga is just plain good for me. It is one more expression of valuing myself. My balance, flexibility, and strength are improved when I do yoga regularly. The benefits are more than the sum of their parts!

    4. When I am doing yoga regularly, I suffer fewer odd aches and pains. When I feel rotten in general I get paranoid and off center, fearful of the beast coming back. This is something that survivors deal with all the time. The fewer odd aches and pains I am subject to, the less anxious I am! I think also that the awareness I have will make me notice sooner if there is really anything amiss.

    5. Yoga, practiced vigorously, is good for your heart. It qualifies for the type of exercise survivors need to decrease the likelihood that our cancer will recur.

    6. Yoga makes me sleep better. It also makes me require less sleep. Now that’s efficient!

    There are yoga centers everywhere, some good some not so good. It’s important to feel confident and at ease with the person you are learning from. There are also a lot of great videos out there. I mostly taught myself and then go to classes every so often to make sure I’m doing it right. I also love the yoga program on my Wiifit!

    For now I’m going to follow my own advice, and sign off so I can do some yoga before I go to bed!

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