Yoga helps cancer victims cope with illness - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Yoga helps cancer victims cope with illness

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CARROLLTON, Ga. -

For those living with cancer, their bodies and minds are under unusual stress. But one form of exercise, yoga, is helping them breathe a little deeper and heal a little faster.

Yoga is known for its calming effects on the mind. But Carrollton yoga instructor July Nicholas believes it can do even more for the body.

"Everything that you think is normal, you're just in a rut and everything is great and then when this turns your life upside down...," said Janet Baty.

In January of last year, Baty found out she had a rare form of breast cancer. After several rounds of chemotherapy and major surgery, she says simple movement was difficult. But one woman convinced her yoga would do her a world of good.

"Although yoga is not a cure for cancer, when it's used as an integrated therapy, it's very beneficial. It has amazing benefits," said Nicholas.

Nicholas is certified fitness instructor and specializes in physical and health disabilities. She's developed a yoga program specifically for cancer survivors. She says yoga can help in the recovery of a person going through cancer by improving circulation, alleviating toxins.

"Initially after my surgery, I had a lot of weakness in my arms. And so a lot of the poses, I didn't have the strength, so we would do things perhaps on our elbows," said Baty.

The program is tailored to each survivor depending on their ability. Baty says after just six weeks, she's already seen a major improvement in her health and her ability.

"Even just putting plates up into a shelf, it was so much easier to do that once I had done the yoga. I found that I walked up and down steps so much easier than I had before. And I just felt as though I had better posture, I walked taller," Baty said.

Baty and Nicholas think learning how to breathe is one of the greatest benefits of yoga for cancer survivors. It's something Baty says she almost lost for good.

"Even if you think about being in some sort of really scary situation, at the end of it, you take that wonderful breath because your body needs so much oxygen. It really is very healing," said Baty.

Nicholas offers her 6-week program to cancer patients for a reduced rate with money donated to her. For more information on yoga for cancer survivors, click here!

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