CML is a form of cancer affecting the white blood cells. Bone marrow contains mother cells for Red blood cells, White blood cells as well as the platelets. The mother cells go on producing new cells which mature to become functional as defense cells and enter the blood. They are programmed to die away with in 8 to 10 days. This programmed healthy cell death is called apoptosis. Some cells may escape this apoptosis and end up as immortal cells that go on multiplying uncontrolled. If this happen in the type of white blood cells called leukocytes then the condition is called CML.
Persons with CML may present with tiredness, general weakness, weight loss and lack of appetite. They have lump in abdomen due to enlargement of liver and spleen which are studded with large number of these abnormal cells. Although the cause of this condition is unknown, stressful lifestyle is considered as one of the risk factors that may trigger some of the dormant genes in this group of cells to become functional that makes them immortal.
What is the role of yoga in CML?
Psychosocial stress can trigger different degrees of emotional responses. These long standing suppressed emotions of frustration, depression, anger etc., are known to have causative relationship in patients with cancer in different parts of the body. Yoga addresses these issues and brings about a clear calm and unagitated state of mind. Sage vasistha defines yoga as “Manah Prashamana Upayah” – which means it is a technique to obtain complete mastery over the modifications of the mind through the trick of slowing down the rate of flow of thoughts in the mind. By using several subtle techniques of breathing, pranayama, meditation on sound resonance, imagery and yogic counseling to make the mind fearless, one prepares the mind to become a very powerful self corrective instrument. Once the mind becomes pure, free from negative emotions of depression, anxiety, frustration, it unfolds its own dormant potential. This mind has to be now focused on to the area of disease (Dharana). The Intensely focused mind is almost like a laser beam that can penetrate into the molecular level of the cells. With a strong deep resolve “My white blood cells are healthy” the patient penetrates into the disturbed program to reset the normal apoptosis program. At this point of intense Dharana the person loses his individuality to become one with the concept of the resolve. It is at this state of mind wherein the focusing (Dharana), defocusing (effortlessness of Dharana) and merges (Samadhi) happen at the same time (Trayam Ekatra Samyamah), that the internal connections become possible. Thus yoga takes one through the journey of doing physical and breathing practices to calm down the agitations of mind and makes the mind capable of curing the cancerous disease of CML.
HANSASANA – The Swan
Starting position: Standing
- Stand with the legs together and concentrate on the balance of the body.
- Inhaling raise the left arm to the front and bend the upper body forward from the hips. At the same time bend the right leg backwards and take hold of the toes of the right foot with the right hand, continue raising the right leg.
- Remain in this position holding the breath.
- Exhaling return to starting position.
- Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Balance the nervous system and improves the ability to concentrate. Stretches and opens the muscles of the chest and hips. Also develops the sense of balance and aids in leg and foot stability.