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Our Body Is Doing More Right Than Wrong

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Published on March 16, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • Be kind to your body after receiving a cancer diagnosis.
  • The mind-body connection may have an important impact on patient outcomes.
  • Meditation and yoga are two ways to reduce stress and improve your overall health and well-being.

“When you’re facing a disease and you feel like your body is failing, take those precious moments to think about the miracle our bodies actually are,” says certified yoga therapist Raquel Forsgren.

In this video, Raquel leads viewers through a 15-minute experiential exercise designed to show gratitude, kindness, and love for our bodies. She also explains how the messages we tell ourselves can impact our overall health and well-being. Watch now to learn from a wellness expert.


Transcript | Our Body Is Doing More Right Than Wrong

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Raquel Jex Forsgren:

Hi, everyone. My name is Raquel Forsgren. I'm a yoga therapist and a resilience coach, and I'm really excited on behalf of Patient Power to kick off a four-part series about our bodies. I know that even saying the word or words our bodies can really stir up a lot of different emotions, especially for those of us that might be facing a cancer diagnosis, going through treatment. We might have had surgery to remove part of our body, an organ. With that, one of the things we wanted to focus on today was just a little bit about all that our bodies do right. I know that sometimes that can be hard to really think about and accept when we're facing a part of our body that might be failing in our minds, or with our perspectives. Today's practice is going to be solely focused inward. If you've joined me before in some of our comments or commentary, our discussions, they're a little bit didactic and a little bit experiential. Today, it's almost all experiential, and you're going to do it with me.

So, wherever you are, you can sit up straight, you can lay on the bed. Definitely don't try this driving, but definitely do it if you're home or you're somewhere where you can really be focused and quiet and present. Let's go ahead. You can use this particular guided meditation with your eyes open or closed. But if you are laying on your bed or in your chair, let's bring all the awareness first to the very bottoms of your feet. Bring all the awareness there. Feel your toes, feel your heels. Even see if you can feel the arches of your feet. Think about all the walking you do every day. To and from the shower, to the bath, to the kitchen, to the car, to the hospital, to the clinic, chasing around grandkids, maybe even doing some of your exercises, either yoga or walking on the treadmill, all that our feet do for us, sometimes without even thinking about it.

Send a little gratitude to your feet, almarshost thanking them for what they do for us all day. Then let's bring the awareness up the legs, and let it settle in around the calves, the shins, releasing the muscle. Even if you might have lost a lot of weight, visualize the muscles, your calf muscle, maybe flex and point the feet. If you're laying down or even sitting, stretching the legs out one by one, flexing the foot, then pointing the foot, feeling those muscles move, bringing all the awareness up into the middle of the knee joints.

And as you straighten and bend your knees, think about all our knees do for us every single day. The movement getting in and out of bed, up and down from stairs, all of those things our knees do, again, without even directing them to do so. Carrying our weight, carrying our torso, helping the legs move. Send a little gratitude into the knees, thanking them for what they do. Take a nice deep inhale as we continue our way through our body on the inside. And let's bring all of our awareness into our thighs. You can think about the tops of your thighs, maybe all those muscles. You may even take your hands and just rub along the top parts of your thighs.

And go ahead and flex those feet again and point the toes. And notice what happens to the thigh muscles, how they move, even if you don't have very developed thigh muscles. Think about what those muscles do for us as we go to stand out of a bed, out of a chair, out of a couch. How when we push into the feet and we bend the knees and stand all the way up and push through our heels, how those muscles in the tops of our thighs engage to support us, all without asking. Bring awareness into the backs of your thighs, those hamstrings and maybe feel those, feeling the sides of our legs and sliding the hands behind, noticing those muscles and even flexing and pointing the foot again. Notice how those muscles engage. And think about, when you go to stand, similar as the tops of your thighs, the backs of our thighs lift up and lift us off of the chair. They help us walk upstairs, all without directing them to.

Let's move upward through the body and let's see if we can visualize our organs. And let's think about some organs that all of us have, for the most part, which is our pancreas, our stomach, our intestines, in some way, in some function. Even if you have pancreatic cancer or colon cancer or a disease of those other organs, visualize them. Let's even think about our stomach. Let's start there. Take a nice big inhale and let the belly fill. And as you exhale, pull your belly button inward toward the spine. Think about how the role that our stomachs play is essential to our survival. Sometimes we think about eating and drinking and your stomach is where all of that starts to be processed. And your stomach does that all without being directed to do it. Absorbing nutrients, visualize that happening. Maybe even sending a little gratitude into the belly, into the stomach. Visualizing all those other organs.

And maybe let's stop at the pancreas, which is nearby. Thinking about what their pancreas does to produce insulin that helps absorb the nutrients, that sugar, into ourselves, helps us function all on its own. It works hand in hand with the other organs to make sure that we're able to get the nutrients we need. You could maybe even smile at your liver. Visualize your liver, all the hard work that our liver does to detoxify our bodies from harsh chemicals from chemo, any of those things. Thinking about moving all the way up into above the space above the belly button, where our lungs and our heart reside. The lungs are fascinating. They move, they breathe, all on their own. Even if we're somewhat "holding our breath," our lungs are still moving. We're still breathing. And they do that naturally, from the time that we're born until our very last breath. Maybe take this moment, even if you have a lung disease, to thank your lungs for what they do, even with disease.

Bring all the awareness into the inside of your beating heart. Visualize your heart. Maybe even give your heart a color. Our heart beats, just the same as our lungs breathe, all on its own. It moves up and down in heart rate as we exercise this, as we walk faster. It moves up and down in heart rate whether we might have certain emotions of anger or sadness. Our heart moves with how we're feeling emotionally, which is why we spend so much time bringing gratitude and awareness back to our hearts. Take this time right now to visualize yours and send it a little gratitude. It does so much more right than we ever give our hearts credit for.

Bring all the awareness up through into the throat. Visualize all those glands, your thyroid, your parathyroid, all those glands. The thyroid being such a key, key gland in our body that helps regulate essentially everything for us, that how often do we even think about our thyroid? And even if you have thyroid cancer, what is the parathyroid doing to support the thyroid? Maybe visualizing it. It looks like a little butterfly gland right through the trachea, right through the middle of the throat. Send it a little gratitude. Send a little love. Kind of moving out of the organs, let's take a walk and an experience down our arms, through our shoulders, into our hands, our fingertips. Think about what we carry. Think about all these do for us every day, aside from what's going on physiologically with any one of our organ systems in our body, aside from any disease that is in there, aside from any emotion we're feeling, reaching, grabbing, feeling, touching, utilizing our arms or hands without any direction.

Sometimes we take these small yet miraculous things that our body does for us a little bit for granted. So just thinking about the arms, maybe make fists with your hands. Take a nice inhale, and then as you exhale, let the hands open, the arms extend. And then let's bring all of the awareness back up into the face. And let's think about our lips, our nose, our eyes, our eyelashes, even everything on the inside of the nose, the filters that filter out everything, all of that that keeps going on its own, everything coming in through the mouth, all of our food, breathing, everything coming in and out of the nose for breath, inhaling and exhaling. And then our eyes, thinking about how we see, our eyelashes, protecting our eyes from what might have fall in them. It's all those little things. Our brains, processing all this information to help us manage our emotions, our thoughts, all this work that we do together all the time. Visualize your brains. Even if you have a brain tumor, visualize the rest of your brain working will. It's doing more right for you.

Sit with your eyes closed or lay with your eyes closed just for a few more moments. Smile at your body with gratitude, thanking it for what it does, making a commitment to be there for your body, to do what you can to keep it healthy, functioning for you, helping you do your best through treatments. Talking to your body may sound a little out there, and I can get that. But think about this. We've talked about neuroscience before. And you can gently begin to open your eyes. We talked about neuroscience before, and we know that the brain and those signals are transmitted directly into different parts of our body. We know from our work together that that's how our emotions and our thoughts change. What if you just tried talking to your body a little bit more with gratitude, with kindness, with love? What if that started to change how your body responds?

There's no downside to this, right? So all you have is upside to doing this kind of work for yourself. It just would encourage you, in these moments where I know it can be challenging when you're facing a disease and you feel like your body is failing, take those precious moments to think about the miracle our bodies actually are, how they're created, what they do, the systems, the cells, every intricacy that's working to try to heal, to try to overcome what you need to overcome.

I hope that you've enjoyed the practice. This is something that you can do on your own at any point in your day, a waiting room, before you go to bed, the middle of the night. Keep practicing. And definitely stay tuned for the next three months, where we'll be talking about more body-related issues, concerns, and techniques and tools you can use to really give your body some love. Thanks for tuning in, and I'll see you soon.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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