Sadhguru looks at how the yogic system views cancer and what can be done to avoid the disease. He also explains some of the natural ways in which cancer has been kept at bay in traditional Indian medicine.

This article is also available in Hindi and
Telugu : క్యాన్సర్ నివారణలో యోగా పాత్ర ఏమిటి?.

Sadhguru: Cancerous cells are present in all our bodies. In the yogic system, we describe cancerous cells as being similar to, let’s say, criminals in a society. If there are a few individuals here and there who commit petty crimes, it doesn't really affect the society. But when they gang up together in one place, something begins to happen. Similarly, having a few cancerous cells in your body is not going to affect your life or health in any way. Generally in yoga, we look at it this way: when certain kinds of blanks happen in the energy body, either because of a person's attitude, food, lifestyle, or any other factor due to which the energy body gets affected, an atmosphere conducive to the growth of cancerous cells is created. So if the flow of energy is not good in a certain part of the body, cancerous cells choose that place to hide and fester.

Breast cancer is rampant today, especially in Western societies, because a lot of women do not conceive when they are at a child-bearing age. I am not saying they should have more children. It is a good thing they are doing in an already overpopulated world. It is just that the mechanism of the breast, which was mainly made to feed offspring is not made use of, or is only made use of during a specific time period. In the past, if a woman went through the normal process of conception, from the age of around 16 or 18 till about 45 she would conceive periodically, which would have kept her whole system, the uterus and the breast active in so many ways. This would have also kept the energy flowing.


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Today, for most women, child bearing is over before they are 30 years of age. Then for another 15 to 20 years of their life when they are still able to bear children, the necessary hormones and enzymes are still being produced but are not made use of. Because it is not made use of the way it should have been physiologically, that part of the body becomes low energy, which attracts cancerous cells and becomes a place for them to accumulate.

So does it mean to say we must produce more children? Please don’t. There are ways to find solution for this.

The benefits of fasting

One of the simplest solutions that we have for curtailing cancerous cells in the system is periodic fasting. One aspect of these cells is that they need a lot more food than a normal cell, up to 30 times more. Just by denying yourself food on certain days, you could put down the level of cancerous cells.

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There are also certain types of sadhana one can do where one’s hormonal secretions can be controlled. The Shakthi Chalana Kriya and asanas we teach help in correcting and balancing the system. We have seen many women with uterus-related problems, such as polycystic ovaries getting completely cured by simply practicing certain asanas and kriyas. The hormonal conditions inside the body become controlled, rather than simply reacting to the kind of food you eat and atmosphere you live in.

To what extent the practices have helped patients suffering from cancer, we cannot document or confirm this. But we have definitely seen that they recovered quite well. The doctors who were treating these cancer patients were quite surprised at their response to chemotherapy. We have seen a few people who recovered from chemotherapy very quickly after doing yogic practices. Whether their cancer went away because of the practices, there is no way to say that. I would say supplementing yoga with medical treatment could definitely benefit the patient.

Neem and turmeric

Another thing is to consume neem paste and turmeric paste which are made into small marble-sized balls on a daily basis. This keeps the number of cancerous cells in the body within a certain percentage, where they do not gather against the system. When inertia levels increase in the body, it does not allow a certain amount of energy to enter the cellular level, and as we looked at earlier, areas of the body where energy does not flow freely can become susceptible to cancerous growth. Neem and turmeric as a combination act as a dilator for the energy.

For example, if your ophthalmologist wants to look into your eye, he cannot see much by simply looking. By applying a dilator, your eye expands, and he can see. Neem and turmeric dilate the body in such a way that they allow the energy to enter and fill up every crevice inside. This may not be a treatment for a person who is already diseased, but traditionally it is always believed that if you consume neem and turmeric on a regular basis, the cancerous cells in the body can be easily contained.

Editor’s Note: Isha’s latest ebook, Cancer – A Yogic Perspective, gives Sadhguru’s insights on the various causes of cancer and what can be done to go beyond the disease. The book includes methods and practices to help one lead a healthy and joyful life. The book is available on a “name your price” basis. Pay what you want and download it.