Twists in Yoga Therapy for Breast Cancer

Trikonasan mod 1
Trikonasana mod 1
image
At the beginning of the term last autumn, I decided to teach some twists.  Using the concept of vinyasa-krama, that is, work slowly into the postures, I taught some light standing, sitting and lying twists.  In general, if you keep the arm work light, the twist moves more into the lumbar spine.  Still, I was trying to work into the dorsal spine, so especially worked with the breath.  In sitting twists, one can add a krama in the exhale, as the students go into the pose.  In lying twists, one can do a dynamic phase followed by some breaths in the pose.
My experience was educational.  I discovered that this group is not yet ready for twists.    Two students experienced muscle pulls, one in the quadratus lumborum region after a trikonâsana (triangle pose) and one in the intercostal / serratus anterior region after a jatara parivritti (lying twist pose).  Another student fell out of trikonâsana.  This same student was later told to avoid practising twists after her expander/implant reconstruction.
Eight weeks into term, I stopped all but the lying twists, and these I did in their gentlest form.
So, be careful with twists in yoga therapy for breast cancer patients. Here is a workup (vinyasa krama) for the triangle pose (trikonâsana).
Legend:  

  • slight bend in the front leg, top arm bent with hand on hip, look down
  • slight bend in front leg, top arm bent, look up
  • slight bend in front leg, top arm stretched out and up, look down
  • slight bend in front leg, top arm stretched up and out, look up.
    trikonasana variations
    trikonasana variations

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