I am Dr. Jimmy Kwok (AKA Dr. Yoga) an Expert in applying Yoga Exercises to Cancer! Ask Me Anything!

Dr_YogaDr_Yoga Posts: 8 Cancer Exercise Expert
edited January 16 in Ask the Experts
Dr. Jimmy Kwok AKA Dr. Yoga, an expert on applying yoga practice for cancer patients and survivors, joins us for an Ask Me Anything event on the 31st of January at 7pm!

Leave your Questions Below Now!

Hello, I am Dr. Jimmy Kwok, founder of Dr. Yoga which promotes the health benefits of yoga practice for cancer patients and recovering survivors as well as author of the "Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors and Patients". I specialise in incorporating Yoga and exercise into daily routines for cancer patients and survivors, which has been shown to help support recovery!


Having worked in clinical research and developed a deep understanding of the side-effects of cancer treatment, as well as practising yoga for over two decade and being a registered Ashtanga Yoga Instructor, I know that yoga and exercise can help greatly improve the lives of cancer patients and survivors! I am an experienced yoga teacher and have worked one-to-one with cancer patients to help their recovery. For a little more information on exercise and relaxation you can read this great article by maggies!

I'm here to answer your questions on combining yoga, meditation and mindfulness exercises for treatment and beyond!



I'll be joining the Community live on the 31st of January
Leave your Questions Below Now!

Comments

  • LEGO2019LEGO2019 Posts: 16 ✭✭
    One of the many side effects of chemo is poor circulation, in the fingers and toes, but particularly in my legs which can become stiff and painful and they are always extremely cold, despite wearing thermal clothes. 
    Constipation is also caused by by the anti vomiting drugs when taken, in addition to weakened muscles following bowel surgery. Are there any yoga exercises you could recommend for either of these problems?
  • jacksjacks Posts: 4
    I am recovering from Breast Cancer and have joined a gym with Yoga and Pilates classes. My problem is the weakness in one arm and shoulder due to surgery so I find it hard to do many of the movements during the Yoga class. Can you suggest strengthening excercises I could add to help at home so that I can become more capable in the class please. Thank you. 
  • NessNess Posts: 2
    Hi, I’ve had Breast cancer, and had a mastectomy as well as the lymph nodes removed on the left hand side. I’m having mild lymphodema symptoms and am wondering if there are any yoga exercises that are particularly suited to helping prevent/disperse fluid build-up. Thank you!
  • Jan12Jan12 Posts: 1
    Hi, I've had a mastectomy and lymph node clearance under the one arm.  For most of my life, I've enjoyed a got a lot of benefit from practising Ashtanga yoga.  Through my current chemo treatment, I've been following a dvd which is very gentle yoga and a meditation.  This is great but I wanted to ask if in the future, I should generally stick to gentle yoga or if in time, I will be able to build up again to do Ashtanga or similar or at least a more strenuous yoga.  I would love to be able to do the sun salutations, downward dogs again but wonder if it will put too much stress on the arm.  Any advice would be welcome.  Many thanks.
  • Mel38Mel38 Posts: 1
    Hello, I have had two mastectomies amd have a heart condition which makes it difficult to do cardiovascular work. Are there any yoga exercises which can be done while sitting?
  • ChezzaChezza Posts: 1
    Is practicing yoga possible and safe for patients with Metastatic breast cancer in the spine and pelvice especially without any prior experience of yoga
  • hessomhessom Posts: 112 Community Admin
    Hi everybody, thank you for joining us for the AMA with Dr. Yoga! He's now live and with us for the next 30 minutes. He's just setting up and we'll be starting in the next few minutes!
  • hessomhessom Posts: 112 Community Admin
    Hi everybody, thank you for joining us for the AMA with Dr. Yoga! He's now live and with us for the next 30 minutes. He's just setting up and we'll be starting in the next few minutes!
  • Dr_YogaDr_Yoga Posts: 8 Cancer Exercise Expert
    Ness said:
    Hi, I’ve had Breast cancer, and had a mastectomy as well as the lymph nodes removed on the left hand side. I’m having mild lymphodema symptoms and am wondering if there are any yoga exercises that are particularly suited to helping prevent/disperse fluid build-up. Thank you!

    There are several poses which are particularly beneficial, like Tree pose, warrior one or two, extended side angle pose and triangle pose. I have described some of these poses on my blog, you can find further information on here: https://www.dryoga.co.uk/yoga-cancer-recovery-exercise-blog.php


  • Dr_YogaDr_Yoga Posts: 8 Cancer Exercise Expert
    Chezza said:
    Is practicing yoga possible and safe for patients with Metastatic breast cancer in the spine and pelvice especially without any prior experience of yoga

    Yes it is possible and safe to practice under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor but always seek approval from your oncologist as well. I would recommend beginning with gentler form of yoga styles – restorative or yin yoga to begin with.  If you live near a Maggie's Cancer Centre or other local charities, I know several of them run free tailored yoga classes which you might want to give it a try.


  • Dr_YogaDr_Yoga Posts: 8 Cancer Exercise Expert
    Mel38 said:
    Hello, I have had two mastectomies amd have a heart condition which makes it difficult to do cardiovascular work. Are there any yoga exercises which can be done while sitting?

    Yes – the gentler styles of yoga like yin and restorative yoga are done by sitting or lieing down on the floor, with the support of appropriate props are required.  Alternatively, yogic mindfulness breathing exercises like nadi shodana are also very beneficial in reducing stress levels.


  • Dr_YogaDr_Yoga Posts: 8 Cancer Exercise Expert
    LEGO2019 said:
    One of the many side effects of chemo is poor circulation, in the fingers and toes, but particularly in my legs which can become stiff and painful and they are always extremely cold, despite wearing thermal clothes. 
    Constipation is also caused by by the anti vomiting drugs when taken, in addition to weakened muscles following bowel surgery. Are there any yoga exercises you could recommend for either of these problems?

    For poor circulation, I would recommend doing 5 – 10 rounds of sun salutations to get the heart rate going and encourage blood flow to the extremities.  The sun salutations may need adapting depending on the your ability and taking into consideration any surgery you might have had.

    For constipation, a common pose I would recommend is happy baby pose which can encourage bowel movement due to the stimulation to the bowel area when knees are compressed gently against the body.  (It can also cause passing wind if there is bloating).


  • jaynecbjaynecb Posts: 2
    Hi, I like the sound of meditation and I keep hearing about mindfulness but I dont know how to start. I have tried sitting in silence but I dont feel like anything is happening or if i am doing it right? People keep telling me to try it because I feel very anxious but I dont know where to begin.
  • Dr_YogaDr_Yoga Posts: 8 Cancer Exercise Expert
    Jan12 said:
    Hi, I've had a mastectomy and lymph node clearance under the one arm.  For most of my life, I've enjoyed a got a lot of benefit from practising Ashtanga yoga.  Through my current chemo treatment, I've been following a dvd which is very gentle yoga and a meditation.  This is great but I wanted to ask if in the future, I should generally stick to gentle yoga or if in time, I will be able to build up again to do Ashtanga or similar or at least a more strenuous yoga.  I would love to be able to do the sun salutations, downward dogs again but wonder if it will put too much stress on the arm.  Any advice would be welcome.  Many thanks.
    Hi yes with sufficient time and healing, one can expect you will regain the strength and stamina to practice ashtanga yoga again.

    Always listen to your own body, one common mistake I see during Mysore/Ashtanga classes are that people push themselves too hard, too soon before their body is ready.  You can still do sun salutations (with modifications), instead of holding downward dog - do childs pose, instead of doing upward dog, do sphinx pose instead.  If push up transitions are too much, skip them or do a modified push up with bent knees which will take a lot of pressure off the shoulders and arms.

    Hope this helps.
  • Dr_YogaDr_Yoga Posts: 8 Cancer Exercise Expert
    jaynecb said:
    Hi, I like the sound of meditation and I keep hearing about mindfulness but I dont know how to start. I have tried sitting in silence but I dont feel like anything is happening or if i am doing it right? People keep telling me to try it because I feel very anxious but I dont know where to begin.
    Hi I would recommend trying a type of meditation called Vipassana meditation which encourages practitioner to develop a calmer state of mind by focusing on your breathing.

    Alternatively doing yogic breathing can be very helpful.  Do you have access to a local yoga or meditation centre which might be a good resource.

    I have taken these pictures of my book which had some instructions, hope this helps.

  • Dr_YogaDr_Yoga Posts: 8 Cancer Exercise Expert
    jacks said:
    I am recovering from Breast Cancer and have joined a gym with Yoga and Pilates classes. My problem is the weakness in one arm and shoulder due to surgery so I find it hard to do many of the movements during the Yoga class. Can you suggest strengthening excercises I could add to help at home so that I can become more capable in the class please. Thank you. 
    Depending on your current physical health/prior experience, I recommend a few common poses below which can help to build arm/shoulder strength:

    1) Plank pose.  Hold for 5 seconds to begin with and gradually build up strength.
    2) Holding Downward facing dog for 5-10 breaths.  Repeat 3 - 5 times.
    3) Dolphin pose - usually a preparation and builds on the foundation towards headstands.
    4) Performing rounds of Sun Salutations.

  • hessomhessom Posts: 112 Community Admin
    edited January 31
    Dr Yoga is with us for a few minutes longer and can hopefully answer a couple more questions live!
  • jaynecbjaynecb Posts: 2
    Dr_Yoga said:
    jaynecb said:
    Hi, I like the sound of meditation and I keep hearing about mindfulness but I dont know how to start. I have tried sitting in silence but I dont feel like anything is happening or if i am doing it right? People keep telling me to try it because I feel very anxious but I dont know where to begin.
    Hi I would recommend trying a type of meditation called Vipassana meditation which encourages practitioner to develop a calmer state of mind by focusing on your breathing.

    Alternatively doing yogic breathing can be very helpful.  Do you have access to a local yoga or meditation centre which might be a good resource.

    I have taken these pictures of my book which had some instructions, hope this helps.

    Thank you. I will have a look for a local centre. I wanted to try it first to see if it would help but i think your right! 
  • hessomhessom Posts: 112 Community Admin
    edited January 31
    Firstly, a big thank you to @Dr_Yoga for providing joining us tonight and offering some yogic exercise help to the Community!! And to all of the Community members that posted their questions and contributed to the discussion tonight! We have more AMAs coming up in our series soon so stay tuned for more!
  • LEGO2019LEGO2019 Posts: 16 ✭✭
    I had a chemo treatment on Thursday so could not participate in the discussion, but I tried Dr Yoga’s recommendation today, which was the sun salutation, and can’t believe how quickly it worked to improve my circulation - I had mistakenly been walking at faster and faster paces to try to improve circulation but it had no affect on my legs. It is amazing how a slow movement can have such an impact. I am going to start each day with this to get my circulation going, and I will try out the other two movements when I learn how to do them. Thank you so much for your advice, which for me has made a huge difference already and I can recommend it to anyone else with circulation problems - I also have lymphoedema so I think it might help there too. I will let you know when I’ve tried it for a week or two. Greatly appreciated. Val
  • hessomhessom Posts: 112 Community Admin
    LEGO2019 said:
    I had a chemo treatment on Thursday so could not participate in the discussion, but I tried Dr Yoga’s recommendation today, which was the sun salutation, and can’t believe how quickly it worked to improve my circulation - I had mistakenly been walking at faster and faster paces to try to improve circulation but it had no affect on my legs. It is amazing how a slow movement can have such an impact. I am going to start each day with this to get my circulation going, and I will try out the other two movements when I learn how to do them. Thank you so much for your advice, which for me has made a huge difference already and I can recommend it to anyone else with circulation problems - I also have lymphoedema so I think it might help there too. I will let you know when I’ve tried it for a week or two. Greatly appreciated. Val
    Hi Val, it's great to hear that you've seen a benefit already! Thank you for sharing an update with us and I'll be sure to let @Dr_Yoga know!
  • achybreaky71achybreaky71 Posts: 8
    Hello, I am a little late picking this e mail and advice up, but I wanted to ask....I manage tai chi once a week, and have an ileostomy, this week it is terribly sore and I am told chemo may have done this due to having a break off it.  I desperately want to exercise but as the stoma is sore and bleeding what can I do? I practise mindfulness and relax to music, but my weight is going up and up due to steroids....
    help!? 
  • achybreaky71achybreaky71 Posts: 8
    Hello again.....Is there anything I can do for helping neuropathy? My feet are positively dangerous when I walk and my hands tingle and are numb, any advice useful please.
  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 303 mod
    @achybreaky71

    Hi, so sorry to hear you are struggling with these things. I do not have the knowledge or expertise to suggest anything regarding the stoma, have your dr's been able to help at all or given you help?
    With the neuropathy, I do understand about that. Are you on any pain medication to help? I was prescribed amitriptyline for a while to help with the nerve pain I was suffering from. It did help, while I was taking it.
    I also tried reflexology a few times. 
    I haven't tried yoga, so I don't know about that, sorry. Hopefully someone else will be able to suggest something also.

    I hope you find something to help with it soon, 

    Lou x
  • hessomhessom Posts: 112 Community Admin
    @achybreaky71 I'm so sorry you missed this event, but I'll see if someone in our team can get in touch with some helpful information and I'll get in touch with Dr. Yoga and ask if he could perhaps suggest something to help with your neuropathy and potential exercises.
This discussion has been closed.