Smooth Moves

Try these gentle, safe yoga poses to boost mobility

Maintaining mobility after breast cancer treatment is important, and a little yoga is a great way to get started. We asked Pippa Plaisted, who teaches yoga and Pilates at The Haven breast cancer support center in London, to recommend her favorite yoga poses that are gentle and safe for everyone – no matter what their level of fitness.* 

1. Tadasanapose

Before you start in any of the following poses, stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose), looking straight ahead, legs straight and feet together, arms by your sides, shoulders relaxed.

2. Raised Hands pose

  • From Tadasana, breathe out and bring your arms out to the side and up.
  • Press the palms together, keeping your arms straight, and gaze up towards your thumbs.
  • Slide your shoulder blades down your back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
  • Inhale and take your arms out to the sides and slowly back down. 

Benefits: Great for shoulder mobility and for improving lymph flow.
Beginner’s tip: Try this pose seated on a chair with your feet flat on the floor and knees parallel, or standing with your back against a wall.

3. Warrior pose

  • From Tadasana, breathe out and step your feet apart.
  • Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.
  • Turn your right foot in slightly and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel.
  • Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Don’t lean your torso over your left thigh.
  • Turn your head to the left and look out over your fingers.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
  • Inhale and then return to a standing position. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits: Strengthens and stretches your legs and ankles, stretches your groin, chest, lungs and shoulders and stimulates your abdominal organs.
Beginner’s tip:  If you have neck problems, do not turn your head to look over your hand – instead, look straight ahead.

4. Triangle pose

  • Stand in Tadasana. Breathe out and step your feet apart.
  • Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.
  • Turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot out 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel.
  • Exhale and extend your torso to the right, directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist.
  • Rotate your torso to the left,keeping the two sides equally long. Let your left hip come slightly forward and lengthen your tailbone towards the back heel.
  • Rest your right hand on your shin or ankle (but not on your knee joint).
  • Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing at your left thumb.
  • Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
  • Inhale and return to a standing position. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits:  Stretches and strengthens your thighs, knees and ankles, stretches your hips, groin, hamstrings and calves and your shoulders, chest and spine, as well as stimulating your abdominal organs.
Beginner’s tip:  Brace your back heel and the back of your torso against a wall if you feel unsteady in this pose.

 

This article appears in the Spring 2013 issue of Amoena Life magazine.

*Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.