A dear friend of mine in Mumbai had breast cancer several years ago. In fact, she is the one who took me to my first yoga class over 30 years ago. In 2007, when I was looking into yoga and cancer, I asked her about her own personal experience. It is hard to talk about intensely personal issues and I am truly grateful to her for sharing this experience.
Yoga really works! It was pranayama and practices involving visualisation that was most effective for me. Radiation (I did not have chemo) can be a frightening and wearying experience. Fear and fatigue dissolve through visualising while tuning in to the rhythm of the breath.
Humour helps! My friend told me to visualise the “rays” as Cupid’s arrows. As regards asanas, it was recommended that no body weight be taken on the arms (for example, downward dog pose) in the first month. But it is most important at the right time to do stretching and raising of the arms because the nerves and muscles feel numb in the area of surgery (and very stiff).
Yoga Nidra, the book Love Medicine & Miracles by Dr. Bernie Siegel, and Eckhart Tolle‘s The Power of Now are worth reading. But the greatest healing comes from letting go; I mean resolving old hurts through forgiveness, of others, and most importantly forgiving oneself. You have to do a mental turning away from old conditioning (ever so difficult), but the feeling of GRATITUDE for being alive and receiving so much kindness or abundance is the way to healing.