(Priya is wearing the "GLORIA" bra by Anaono Intimates)
Life during and even after Breast Cancer isn't easy, so finding the right bra should be the least of our worries, right?
After I got diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I couldn't find any bras that were made for my body in any of it's unique stages - from being completely flat post-mastectomy, to living with expanders, and then eventually silicone implants.
Thank goodness for Anaono Intimates!
Anaono Intimates recently sent me some gorgeous bras and they fit like a glove...I'm still in shock because regular bras just don't fit my post-cancer chest.
Not only do they fit amazingly, but they're so damn comfortable that I even practiced yoga in them! I've honestly never felt more comfortable doing yoga!
Currently, I'm battling with the decision of whether or not to remove my implants for health reasons, and which direction to go in post-explant. Whatever path I decide to take, whether going flat or not, I know Anaono Intimates will have bras that will be just perfect for me.
Since we've got the bra issue out of the way, let's talk about how to improve our quality of life either living with or post-breast cancer through yoga, shall we?
Trauma caused by harsh treatments and surgeries can cause a plethora of mobility, postural and strength issues due to scar-tissue.
Thankfully, there are yoga poses you can try to help stretch the entire front body - arms, shoulders, abdomen, chest and throat - all which tend to tighten-up and become stiff post-breast cancer because of either a mastectomy, lumpectomy, reconstruction, radiation or even lymph-node dissection.
Here are 3 yoga poses in 3 fabulous bras to help you heal and recover from breast cancer. I hope they help you to better understand your bad-ass, warrior body!
BOW POSE or DHANURASANA
(Priya is wearing the "GLORIA" bra by Anaono Intimates)
By practicing Bow Pose, we are working to break-up scar tissue in the chest and regain lost mobility in the shoulders and spine
Start by lying on your stomach, you can even place a soft pillow or blanket under your chest for comfort and protection.
Next, bend your knees and reach back with your arms to carefully grab your ankles/feet, if you can. If you can't, don't be hard on yourself, baby steps, you'll get there, just practice reaching for those feet in the meantime.
After clasping your ankles, gently start to stretch your hands and feet higher and higher until you feel a nice all-over stretch.
Your gaze/focus (or drishti, for you yogis) should be straight forward and not down towards the ground - this helps to strengthen the neck muscles and correct the cervical spine.
Hold the pose for a few deep breaths and focus on opening up the heart to let in healing.
Take a Child's Pose right after to neutralize the spine.
The "GLORIA" bra is glorious!! No underwire, yet a ton of support! Comfy with luxurious lace!! I'm in love!
RESTORATIVE CORPSE POSE or SAVASANA
(Priya is wearing the "KIKU" bra by Anaono Intimates)
If you've had surgeries of any kind on your chest area due to breast cancer, chances are you've become tight and locked-up not only at the surgery site, but also in your back.
If you've had implants inserted post-mastectomy, this can severely hamper mobility in the thoracic or mid-spine and can slowly cause you to develop a hunch-back or kyphosis.
Breast Implants in the front-body cause the spine to lock-up and bend anteriorly, or forward, into a state of kyphosis because of spatial restrictions in the chest. After inserting breast implants, your body's center of gravity also changes, causing havoc to your anatomy.
Doing this Restorative Pose can help to loosen-up the spine, chest and shoulders which will help to improve posture, pain and mobility.
There is NO muscle activation in this restorative pose, so relax and let go.
Start by lying on your back and placing a yoga block or firm narrow pillow under your neck and upper back along the length of your spine. You shouldn't feel any discomfort or pain but should feel completely at ease. If it's not comfortable, then make adjustments.
Your head and neck should also NOT be bending backwards and should be flat and supported with the yoga block or pillow.
Once you're comfortable and your shoulders and head area elevated OFF of the floor, ensure your hips and glutes are also comfortable and resting ON the floor and NOT elevated on the block or pillow. This position should and will cause an arching of the lower back.
Start to raise your arms up the sides to shoulder-level or higher if you're able to and want a deeper stretch. The backs of your hands should be resting on the floor comfortably.
You should be feeling a stretch in your back as well as in the arms, shoulders and pectorals. Allow yourself to breathe deeply and release any muscular tension as you sink into this pose for 3-5 minutes to reap the most benefits.
To come out of the pose, gently turn onto your side to remove the block or pillow from underneath you and allow yourself to lie flat onto your back for a few moments to neutralize the spine and to enjoy the openness the pose has created in the body.
Tucking the knees into the chest while lying on your back will help to comfort the spine after this pose.
The "KIKU" bra is my new favourite! Comfy and sexy...did I say sexy?? We can still feel sexy after breast cancer, don't let anyone make you feel otherwise!
CAMEL POSE or USTRASANA
Priya is wearing the "Leslie" bra by Anaono Intimates
By practicing Camel Pose we are not only working to stretch the entire front body, but also strengthen the back and it's muscles which have become compromised after trauma to the front-body.
Back muscles become lax and weak from becoming stretched from leaning forward in kyphosis, and pain can develop in the cervical spine (neck) because of tightness and trauma in the chest. Sadly, reconstruction involving breast implants just enhances all of these issues. But thankfully, Camel Pose helps to alleviate these.
Start by kneeling up on your knees (place a blanket under your knees if you have sensitive joints), slowly start to reach back to touch your ankles with your hands allowing the head and neck to stretch back slowly and gently as you push your hips forward.
Begin with one side, then stretch back and around to reach the other ankle. You can use blocks instead of your ankles to raise yourself up (as I've done in this photo) if you have limited flexibility and can't reach your ankles (which all of us do post-surgery, so don't be hard on yourself).
Hold for a few breaths and enjoy!
Take a child's pose right after to neutralize the spine.
The "LESLIE" bra feels better than being naked, soft and cozy, you just have to try it.
Be gentle with yourself with all of these poses and breathe deeply while ensuring you are not in any pain or discomfort.
I hope you enjoy these poses as much as I enjoyed doing them in these ultra comfy and sexy bras from Anaono Intimates!
*Consult with your physician first before starting a yoga practice.
Photography by Luke Montgomery @montgomery.picture
Location: 7x Fitness For Women @7xfitnessforwomen