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Yoga-Based Interventions for Cancer Treatment

Yoga-Based Interventions for Cancer Treatment

A Curated Guide

This guide provides a brief overview of this topic and a curated list of the most important relevant resources and those frequently cited, referenced, or recommended by current scholars and experts in the field. 


Traditional cancer treatment often exacerbates symptoms that can cause delays in the body’s healing process.  Yoga therapy has emerged as a non-traditional treatment for cancer patients to relieve symptoms caused by the disease and by traditional treatment.  This type of therapy allows patients to take time for themselves to heal their mind and body.  Yoga therapy promotes circulation, decreases fatigue, and improves physical fitness.  These physical benefits can help alleviate cancer symptoms that patients are often plagued with during the course of their disease.  Patients also deal with a decrease in their mental health due to the stress of a cancer diagnosis.  Yoga therapy encourages relaxation and decreases anxiety and depression, two mental health diseases that cancer patients often face.  The benefits of yoga therapy are why it is such a rapidly evolving field of research with increasing scientific backing.  

One aspect of yoga therapy that makes it specifically beneficial to cancer patients is the ability to adjust routines to one's individual ability.  Cancer patients have different abilities based on their original physical fitness level and their current cancer stage and treatment.  Yoga therapy is an adjustable and individualized treatment that allows for use by all cancer patients.  When prescribed yoga therapy, cancer patients often make modifications to routines in order to keep themselves safe.  In addition, yoga therapy can be easily practiced anywhere and on a patient’s schedule.  Yoga therapy can be prescribed by medical professionals to help mitigate specific symptoms that their patient might be facing due to their type of cancer or their treatment.  For example, breast cancer patients often have exacerbated menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.  This symptom can be aided by the use of yoga therapy and specific poses and routines.  

One of the largest setbacks in yoga therapy in the lack of awareness and prescription of the therapy.  There is a large lack of awareness of yoga therapy as an additional treatment in the treatment of cancer, which leads to a lack of prescription of yoga therapy.  This issue has been alleviated by the education of medical professionals on the benefits of yoga therapy as an addition to traditional cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy.  However, this education process needs to become more normalized in order for yoga therapy to continue to spread in use. 

This curated guide presents a variety of sources that investigate the relationship between yoga therapy and cancer treatment.  This investigation takes the form of personal narrative, scientific research, and news stories through sources such as books, podcasts, research articles, and videos.  

Related Tags

Yoga therapy, yoga breathing, yoga based interventions, cancer symptoms, cancer treatment, cancer related outcomes 

Curated Resources
Products, Applications, or Practices

Breast Cancer Healthline is a free social application designed to connect those suffering from breast cancer with one another and the latest oncology research.  This application provides users with different groups that discuss various topics such as “survivorship” and “hormone therapy.”  Users are able to connect with one another through group discussions and one-on-one messaging.  In addition users are able to stay informed with the newest research on breast cancer research at their fingertips. 

Cancer Dictionary Free is a free application on iOS devices intended to help cancer patients and caregivers navigate the complicated oncology jargon they are presented with during diagnosis and treatment.  The application provides the user with clear definitions of oncology terms and medications.  The information is also available offline for use in doctor’s offices with limited internet access. 

Cancer.Net Mobile is a free application that provides cancer patients and caregivers with current oncology research and connects them with links to podcasts, videos, and blogs.  This application also allows users to log their treatments and track their symptoms in order to maintain organization during a time of stress. 

CareZone is a free and secure application that allows patients to organize their medical information.  Users are able to upload pictures of prescriptions, insurance documents, and treatment plans.  The application also provides users with a place to write down notes from appointments or any details that are necessary to remember about their medical history.  

LivingWith: Cancer Support is a free application for iOS users that connects cancer patients with their support system.  The application has features such as “My Circle” that allows a patient to communicate health updates to family and friends.  Another useful feature is the “Request” function which allows the patient to ask family and friends for assistance with daily tasks.  The application also has a space to track doctors visits and symptoms.  


Fishbaugh, Angela Schmidt. Angela’s Decision: Yoga, Wine, and My Fight to Prevent Cancer.  Skyhorse Publishing, 2015.

In her personal narrative, Angela Schmidt Fishbaugh describes her battle with ovarian and breast cancer, both caused by a genetic predisposition.  Fishbaugh discusses the journey with her mind and body and the courage needed to get her and her family through this challenge.  This story details her emergence from treatment as a stronger woman with an even stronger sense of self and provides comfort to those also struggling from cancer.  

Holtby, Lisa. Healing Yoga for People Living with Cancer. Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publishers, 2004.

In this book, long time yoga instructor and founder of Positive Yoga, Lisa Holtby details  how yoga can be utilized during and after cancer treatment through step by step guides of yoga routines.  Holtby highlights how these routines can be implemented to recover from traditional cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy.  These routines can be implemented by cancer patients with little to no previous yoga background. 

Kollak, Ingrid and Utz-Billing, Isabell. Yoga and Breast Cancer: A Journey to Health and Healing. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, 2010.

This book presents research, co-authored by two medical professionals, detailing the correlation between yoga practice and positive health outcomes in breast cancer patients.  The yoga practice presented is a safe form of meditation and physical exercise for patients either currently in or post breast cancer treatment.

Kwok, Jimmy. Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors and Patients. Acorn Independent Press, 2017. 

This book includes three different yoga flows with increasing difficulty to aid breast cancer patients in their journey to recovery.  These yoga practices are presented in an accessible way in order for patients to progress through the three levels of routine.  The ultimate aim of this guide and the various yoga routines is for cancer patients to be able to use yoga therapy even after they have overcome the disease. 

Nagendra, H. R, and R Nagarathna. Yoga and Cancer. Bangalore, Karnataka, India: Swami Vivekananda Yoga Prakashana, 1997.

This book provides readers with a broad overview of how cancer patients can utilize yoga practice.  The authors outline how routine yoga can be used to mitigate cancer symptoms and can be utilized as an unconventional tool in cancer patient’s treatment plans.  This source is beneficial for cancer patients who seek to understand the benefits of yoga therapy. 

Grisell, Ronald D. “Kundalini Yoga as Healing Agent.” In Dimensions in Wholistic Healing: New Frontiers in the Treatment of the Whole Person. Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall, 1979. 

This chapter details how a kundalini yoga, a specific Hindu-based practice, can be used to heal physical ailments from which one might suffer.  While not specific to relieving the symptoms of cancer, this section provides a general overview of the physical benefits of yoga to relieve symptoms such as headaches and improve strength in nerves and muscles.  

Prinster, Tari. Yoga for Cancer: A Guide to Managing Side Effects, Boosting Immunity, and Improving Recovery for Cancer Survivors. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 2014.

In this book, Tari Prinster, a cancer survivor and yoga teacher, provides readers with fifty-three safe poses for cancer patients to practice, along with nine different practice sequences.  Prinster details how to practice yoga in a safe and healthy way at home while providing up to date yoga research to her readers.  This work is helpful to cancer patients looking for accessible yoga therapy guidance. 

Ross, Diana. Restorative Yoga for Breast Cancer Recovery: Gentle “Flowing” Restorative Yoga for Breast Health, Breast Cancer Related Fatigue and Lymphedema Management. Restorative Yoga Flow, 2014. 

Written by certified yoga therapist Diana Ross, this book presents breast cancer patients with safe and effective yoga poses for reducing pain and supporting healing.  The poses provided can be practiced while sitting, laying down, or standing, allowing for patients of all abilities to participate.  

Swami Yogapratap. Exploring Yoga and Cancer. Munger, Bihar, India: Yoga Publications Trust, 2009.

This book explores the research at the intersection of cancer and yoga therapy.  In addition, the author provides readers with different yoga practices for the varying types of cancer.  The author recommends that physicians utilize yoga practice as an addition to traditional cancer treatment to aid in the physical and mental healing process.  

Unkule, Nitin. Cancer Care & Mysteries & Yoga. Pune: Mehta Pub. House, 2010.

In this book, Unkule describes the resistance in modern medicine to unconventional cancer treatments such as yoga therapy.  Unkule presents the importance of expanding physicians and patients knowledge of the benefits of yoga therapy as a crucial addition to traditional cancer treatment.  

Academic Articles

Adair, M., B. Murphy, S. Yarlagadda, J. Deng, M. S. Dietrich, and S. H. Ridner. “Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of Tailored Yoga in Survivors of Head and Neck Cancer: A Pilot Study.” Integrative Cancer Therapies 17, no. 3 (2018): 774–84.

This article provides current research into the feasibility of yoga therapy as post cancer treatment in head and neck cancer survivors.  Participants consented to an eight-week yoga program after their traditional cancer treatment.  The study found that this program was practical and successful for head and neck cancer patients, with an increase in range of motion and a decrease in pain and anxiety.  

Anand, A., A. K. Goyal, J. Bakshi, K. Sharma, D. Vir, and A. Didi. “Yoga as an Integrative Approach for Prevention and Treatment of Oral Cancer.” International Journal of Yoga 11, no. 3 (2018): 177–85.

This article outlines the additional risks that oral cancer patients are prone to during the progression of their disease and the current research into treating these symptoms.  The authors present yoga therapy as a novel non-traditional treatment that could ease the additional symptoms of oral cancer such as obesity and neurodegenerative disorders.  

Barassi, G., R. G. Bellomo, A. Di Iulio, A. Lococo, A. Porreca, P. A. Di Felice, and R. Saggini. “Preoperative Rehabilitation in Lung Cancer Patients: Yoga Approach.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 1096, no. Journal Article (2018): 19–29.

This study provides support for the use of yoga breathing as a preoperative therapy for lung cancer patients.  Yoga is often utilized during recovery after lung cancer surgery, this article details that patients who implement yoga breathing techniques pre-surgery had an improvement in lung function.  These results demonstrate the applicability and benefit of yoga breathing in a preoperative setting in addition to functioning as a postoperative treatment. 

Ben-Josef, Avital Mazar, Jerry Chen, Paul Wileyto, Abigail Doucette, Justin Bekelman, John Christodouleas, Curtiland Deville, and Neha Vapiwala. “Effect of Eischens Yoga During Radiation Therapy on Prostate Cancer Patient Symptoms and Quality of Life: A Randomized Phase II Trial.” International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 98, no. 5 (01 2017): 1036–44.

This study explores the effectiveness of yoga therapy on quality of life in prostate cancer patients.  The symptoms examined in this experiment are fatigue, urinary incontinence, and sexual dysfunction.  After one year of yoga therapy, almost all patients reported a higher quality of life with a reduction in fatigue, urinary dysfunction and sexual dysfunction, and an overall increase in emotional and physical state.  

Buffart, Laurien M., Jannique G. Z. van Uffelen, Ingrid I. Riphagen, Johannes Brug, Willem van Mechelen, Wendy J. Brown, and Mai J. M. Chinapaw. “Physical and Psychosocial Benefits of Yoga in Cancer Patients and Survivors, a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” BMC Cancer 12 (November 27, 2012): 559.

This article presents a meta-analysis of studies that utilized yoga as a therapy for cancer patients to determine the effects of yoga on psychosocial and physical outcomes of cancer patients.  The researchers examined thirteen different experiments where all but one utilized yoga therapy with breast cancer patients.  The meta-analysis concluded a large reduction in psychosocial outcomes, such as anxiety and depression, in breast cancer patients, while only a small increase in physical outcomes such as quality of life.  This analysis supports yoga therapy as an effective intervention in breast cancer patients in order to aid in psychosocial symptoms.  

Carson, J. W., K. M. Carson, L. S. Porter, F. J. Keefe, and V. L. Seewaldt. “Yoga of Awareness Program for Menopausal Symptoms in Breast Cancer Survivors: Results from a Randomized Trial.” Supportive Care in Cancer 17, no. 10 (2009): 1301–9.

This article details the complicated relationship between breast cancer recurrence prevention and menopause.  Oftentimes the drug used to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer simultaneously exacerbates menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes.  This study explores the effects of yoga therapy as a mechanism of minimizing menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors.  The results demonstrate that an eight-week yoga therapy program was able to significantly decrease hot flash frequency and menopausal fatigue as well as increase mood and relaxation. 

Cohen, Lorenzo, Carla Warneke, Rachel T. Fouladi, M. Alma Rodriguez, and Alejandro Chaoul‐Reich. "Psychological adjustment and sleep quality in a randomized trial of the effects of a Tibetan yoga intervention in patients with lymphoma." Cancer: Interdisciplinary International Journal of the American Cancer Society 100, no. 10 (2004): 2253-2260.

Lack of beneficial sleep is a common symptoms in cancer patients.  This study explored the effects of yoga therapy on sleep quality in lymphoma patients.  The results demonstrate that when exposed to a routine yoga therapy plan patients experienced a decrease in sleep disturbance and sleep medications and an increase in sleep quality, latency, and duration.  There was no effect on patients overall mental health and fatigue.  This study provides evidence for the utilization of yoga therapy to improve sleep associated symptoms, however, not for other symptoms.  

Cramer, H., R. Lauche, P. Klose, S. Lange, J. Langhorst, and G. J. Dobos. “Yoga for Improving Health-Related Quality of Life, Mental Health and Cancer-Related Symptoms in Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 1, no. Journal Article (2017): CD010802.

This meta-analysis explored the relationship between yoga therapy and quality of life in breast cancer patients.  Research from this analysis demonstrated that there is quality evidence to support the use of yoga therapy to reduce fatigue, depression, and anxiety in breast cancer patients as opposed to traditional psychosocial interventions.  In contrast, there was a lack of evidence to support yoga therapy as being more effective than other exercise interventions in the reduction of symptoms of breast cancer patients.  

Cramer, Holger, Bijay Pokhrel, Claudia Fester, Beate Meier, Florian Gass, Romy Lauche, Brandon Eggleston, et al. “A Randomized Controlled Bicenter Trial of Yoga for Patients with Colorectal Cancer.” Psycho-Oncology 25, no. 4 (April 2016): 412–20.

This study aimed to explore the effects of yoga therapy intervention of the quality of life in colorectal cancer patients.  The research measured quality of life and more specific types of well being, such as spiritual and mental health.  The patients that took part in the yoga therapy program did not see an improvement in quality of life or in the more specific types of well being.  These results are important to acknowledge, however, they could be due to a high attrition rate and a low adherence to the yoga intervention.  

Culos-Reed, S. N., L. E. Carlson, L. M. Daroux, and S. Hately-Aldous. “A Pilot Study of Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors: Physical and Psychological Benefits.” Psycho-Oncology 15, no. 10 (2006): 891–97.

This study seeks to discover the effect of yoga therapy on both physical and psychological outcomes in breast cancer patients.  If yoga therapy is able to provide patients with relief from cancer related symptoms, it would be more likely to be recommended as a post-diagnosis treatment.  The research demonstrated significant differences in physical and psychological outcomes in the participants.  These differences include a decrease in emotional irritability, depression, and gastrointestinal symptoms.  There was also a significant improvement in physical fitness measurements in the participants, demonstrating that yoga therapy has value as a treatment option for cancer patients.  

DiStasio, Susan A. “Integrating Yoga into Cancer Care.” Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing 12, no. 1 (February 2008): 125–30.

This article outlines the details of integrating yoga therapy into cancer care.  The research is intended for medical professionals as a resource to refer to when attempting to integrate yoga into cancer patient’s treatment plans.  The article provides medical professionals with the potential benefits of yoga therapy for cancer patients as well as current research and safety concerns.  This research also outlines a teacher training program and the mechanisms of yoga therapy integration into cancer patients’ treatment plans. 

Farifteh, S., A. Mohammadi-Aria, A. Kiamanesh, and B. Mofid. “The Impact of Laughter Yoga on the Stress of Cancer Patients before Chemotherapy.” Iranian Journal of Cancer Prevention 7, no. 4 (2014): 179–83. 

Due to the stress that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis, this study explores the relationship between laughter yoga and the stress levels of cancer patients before chemotherapy treatment.  The stress variables tested in this study include fear, daily-life limitations, and social conflicts.  Laughter yoga is utilized all over the world to provide the user with the benefits of laughter without a typical stimulus.  Researchers found that there was a significant decrease in stress variables in participants after practicing laughter yoga, concluding that laughter yoga is an effective treatment for stress reduction in cancer patients before chemotherapy. 

Hooke, Mary C., Laura Gilchrist, Laurie Foster, Mary Langevin, and Jill Lee. “Yoga for Children and Adolescents After Completing Cancer Treatment.” Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing: Official Journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses 33, no. 1 (February 2016): 64–73.

In this article, researchers explore the effects of yoga therapy on children and adolescent cancer patients after their completion of treatment.  The variables measured include fatigue, sleep, quality of life, anxiety and balance.  After the intervention of yoga therapy, there was a significant decrease in all variables for both children and adolescents.  In addition, while sleep and anxiety scores were similar to healthy peers, fatigue, sleep, and balance scores were below healthy peers’ scores. 

Koula, M. J., and J. M. Knight. “Increasing Provider Awareness of and Recommendations for Yoga and Meditation Classes for Cancer Patients.” Supportive Care in Cancer : Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer 26, no. 10 (2018): 3635–40.

This article explores the awareness and recommendation rate of yoga therapy by medical professionals for cancer patients.  Researchers presented forty healthcare professionals with a five minute presentation on the benefits of yoga therapy for cancer patients.  After the presentation, ninety percent of the providers reported that they were more likely to recommend yoga therapy to their cancer patients.  In addition, there was a significant increase in the providers’ awareness and belief of the physical and emotional benefits of yoga therapy.  These results demonstrate the effectiveness of a brief presentation of background research in educating medical providers on the benefits of yoga therapy for cancer patients.  This education increases the likelihood of providers recommended yoga therapy to their cancer patients in the future.  

Lapen, K., L. Benusis, S. Pearson, B. Search, M. Coleton, Q. S. Li, D. Sjoberg, J. Konner, J. J. Mao, and G. Deng. “A Feasibility Study of Restorative Yoga Versus Vigorous Yoga Intervention for Sedentary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Survivors.” International Journal of Yoga Therapy, no. Journal Article (2018).

Oftentimes, cancer patients who are sedentary find it difficult to improve their quality of life, which could be done by practicing yoga therapy.  This study examines the feasibility of restorative versus vigorous yoga therapy for sedentary breast and ovarian cancer patients.  Restorative yoga requires less physical exertion than vigorous yoga, however, both practices were able to be completed by the study’s participants.  Researchers found that restorative yoga is a more feasible yoga therapy for cancer patients and further research should be conducted into how to increase intervention attendance.   

Littman, Alyson J., Lisa Cadmus Bertram, Rachel Ceballos, Cornelia M. Ulrich, Jaya Ramaprasad, Bonnie McGregor, and Anne McTiernan. “Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Yoga in Overweight and Obese Breast Cancer Survivors: Effects on Quality of Life and Anthropometric Measures.” Supportive Care in Cancer: Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer 20, no. 2 (February 2012): 267–77.

This study aims to determine the effect of yoga therapy in overweight cancer patients.  The outcomes of the experiment are overall quality of life, fatigue, and waist and hip circumference.  Participants in this study practiced both in class and at home during a six month span.  Results discovered that patients quality of life and fatigue improved significantly after yoga therapy intervention.  In addition, waist and hip circumference decreased, however, there was no significant change in weight.  Based on these results, it is concluded that yoga intervention for obese patients should focus on a long program duration with high retention rates in order to achieve positive outcomes. 

Lundt, Anna, and Elisabeth Jentschke. “Long-Term Changes of Symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, and Fatigue in Cancer Patients 6 Months After the End of Yoga Therapy.” Integrative Cancer Therapies 18 (January 25, 2019): UNSP 1534735418822096.

The aim of this research is to explore long term differences in cancer patients’ mental health after taking part in an eight week yoga therapy intervention.  Anxiety, depression, and fatigue were measured six months post-yoga intervention as a mechanism to determine any changes in these outcomes.  Researchers reported that symptoms of all three variables had significantly decreased six months after yoga therapy intervention.  These results serve as preliminary research into the promising long term effects of yoga intervention on cancer patients’ quality of life and mental health. 

Moadel, Alyson B., Chirag Shah, Judith Wylie-Rosett, Melanie S. Harris, Sapana R. Patel, Charles B. Hall, and Joseph A. Sparano. “Randomized Controlled Trial of Yoga among a Multiethnic Sample of Breast Cancer Patients: Effects on Quality of Life.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 25, no. 28 (October 1, 2007): 4387–95.

This study explores the effect of yoga therapy on the quality of life of a multiethnic sample of breast cancer patients.  The participants of this study are of African or Hispanic descent and took part in a twelve-week yoga therapy intervention to measure their fatigue, mood, and spiritual well being.  The results demonstrate a limited adherence to the yoga program, however, participants that did complete the program had reduced fatigue and increased mood and spiritual well being.  The patients that were not receiving chemotherapy treatment during the intervention had more enhanced positive outcomes than those in treatment. 

Smith, S. A., M. S. Whitehead, J. Q. Sheats, B. Chubb, E. Alema-Mensah, and B. E. Ansa. “Community Engagement to Address Socio-Ecological Barriers to Physical Activity Among African American Breast Cancer Survivors.” Journal of the Georgia Public Health Association 6, no. 3 (2017): 393–97.

This study aims to address the social barriers in which African American breast cancer survivors face when seeking to participate in physical activity.  Researchers worked to develop an intervention program that was able to be adhered to by the African American breast cancer survivor population and that is culturally appropriate.  The developed intervention program includes many components such as education, support, and exercise sessions, such as yoga.  Participants adhered to the intervention for twenty-four weeks.  Results conclude that community engagement allows for growth in participant’s trust, ability to collaborate, and mutuality.  

Stein, Eliana, Meera Rayar, Upasana Krishnadev, Abha Gupta, Shannon Hyslop, Erin Plenert, Tal Schechter-Finkelstein, and Lillian Sung. “A Feasibility Study Examining the Impact of Yoga on Psychosocial Health and Symptoms in Pediatric Outpatients Receiving Chemotherapy.” Supportive Care in Cancer: Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, February 2, 2019.

The aim of this research is to determine the feasibility and effect of yoga therapy intervention in pediatric cancer patients.  Feasibility for this study is defined as eighty percent of patients successfully completing sixty percent of yoga therapy sessions.  Patients participated in yoga therapy during both in-hospital and at-home sessions.  Results demonstrate that yoga therapy intervention is not feasible for pediatric oncology patients as many patients discontinued participation or were unable to participate in the yoga sessions.  Researchers suggest that future research examine the mechanisms for improvement of patient adherence.  

Thygeson, Megan V., Mary C. Hooke, Jeanine Clapsaddle, Angela Robbins, and Kristin Moquist. “Peaceful Play Yoga: Serenity and Balance for Children with Cancer and Their Parents.” Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing: Official Journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses 27, no. 5 (October 2010): 276–84.

This article aims to detail the feasibility and effects of yoga therapy intervention on pediatric cancer patients and their parents.  The study measured patients and parents anxiety levels before and after the yoga intervention.  The results demonstrate that younger children did not have a significant change in anxiety levels, however, adolescent and parents experienced a significant decrease in anxiety.  All that participated in this study reported positive feedback about their overall experience.  This demonstrates the feasible and beneficial nature of yoga intervention for this population.  

Woodside, H., S. N. Culos-Reed, M. C. Gregoire, R. Rutledge, and M. R. Keats. “Yoga for Young Adults With Noncurative Cancer: A Brief Report.” Global Advances in Health and Medicine 7, no. Journal Article (2018): 2164956118763523.

This study explores the effects of yoga therapy on adult patients with forms of non-curative cancer.  Patients took part in a seven-week yoga therapy program guided by DVD.  Results report that patients were satisfied with the program and the ability to provide themselves with self care.  There was also an overall increase in patients’ quality of life.  These results demonstrate that this program is feasible and beneficial for patients who suffer from non-curative cancer.  

Popular Press Articles

Anna Schaefer. “Yoga for Cancer Patients: 5 Benefits.” Healthline, 2016.

This article provides yoga beginners with step by step instructions on the implementation of yoga therapy for cancer patients.  Schaefer provides safe yoga routines that are able to be adjusted for the patient’s comfort.  She also details five health benefits of yoga for cancer patients, such as reducing fatigue and stress and improving sleep and physical wellbeing.  

Anne Moyer. “Yoga and Quality of Life for Cancer Patients.” Psychology Today, June 18, 2017.

In this article, Anne Moyer provides readers with accessible science about the positive effects of yoga practice on cancer patients and their quality of life.  Moyer provides readers with a background of yoga as cancer therapy and continues on to discuss current the research into the topic.  She outlines different experiments that studied the effects of yoga therapy on cancer patients and claims that the outcomes are promising to improve patient’s quality of life.   

Ashley Chookazian. “Yoga Provides Mental, Emotional, and Physical Benefits for Patients With Cancer.” Oncology Nurse Advisor, November 23, 2015.

In this article, Chookazian provides readers with an overview of the benefits of yoga therapy for cancer patients.  The article divides the benefits of yoga for cancer patients into three different categories: mental, emotional, and physical.  Much of what Chookazian details is based upon information from academic articles, however, she provides a more accessible account of research results and analysis.   

Carrie Heeter, and Rebecca Lehto. “Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Patients With Cancer.” Oncology Nursing News, May 24, 2018.

This article provides readers with a current overview of the benefits of yoga and meditation for cancer patients.  Written by medical professionals, this article details the novel research in the this field, including the effects of yoga on the brain and emotional balance.  The authors advise patients with cancer to utilize yoga therapy due to its noninvasive and adaptable characteristics.  

Cristina Goyanes. “Yoga Helped Me Recover from Breast Cancer.” Sonima, October 29, 2015.

This article details three breast cancer survivors’ personal accounts on how practicing yoga aided them in their recovery.  These narratives provide readers with comfort not only that recovery is possible, but that it can be aided by the incorporation of yoga therapy. 

Jessica Glenza. “How Yoga Could Ease Cancer Patients’ Pain and Fatigue.” The Guardian, June 7, 2017.

In this article, Glenza outlines the current research that measures the effects of yoga therapy on cancer patients’ pain and fatigue.  The research claims that yoga is an effective mechanism to reduce fatigue and increase mood.  Glenza explains that these benefits can improve sleeping habits which can lead to an overall reduction in pain. 

Lynne Eldridge. “Physical and Emotional Benefits of Yoga for Cancer Patients.” Verywell Health, February 19, 2018. Accessed February 5, 2019.

In this article, doctor Lynne Eldridge outlines the benefits of yoga for cancer patients.  Eldridge divides the benefits into the two categories of physical and emotional and clearly details the impact of yoga therapy on symptoms that are common to cancer patients.  This accessible and clearly formatted article is a useful resource for cancer patients and caretakers to learn more about the benefits of yoga therapy. 

Sara Szeglowski, and Ashley Chookazian. “A Yoga Tutorial for Cancer Patients.” Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2016.

This resource is both an article and video tutorial for cancer patients looking to incorporate yoga therapy into their lives.  The article portion of this resource provides readers with the benefits of yoga therapy as a component cancer patients treatment plans.  The video integrated in this resource is a step by step tutorial detailing how patients can practice yoga safely in the comfort of their home.  

Sruthi Chowdhry. “5 Best Yoga Poses To Encourage And Energize Cancer Patients,” 2018.

In this article, Chowdhry details the safest and most beneficial yoga poses for cancer patients.  The positions thave step by step instructions as well as the physical and emotional benefits of the specific pose outlined in the article.  Chowdhry also provides readers with which poses are best for different types of cancer.  

Tari Prinster. “What Yoga Teachers Need to Know About Teaching Cancer Survivors.” Kripalu. Accessed February 26, 2019.

This article details important information about teaching yoga to cancer patients.  The information provided is imperative for those who intend to teach yoga to patients with cancer, caretakers, and patients themselves.  The article outlines how to promote safety as well as transparency while teaching cancer patients.  It also details resources that teachers can use to gain the required specialized training.   

Video Talks and Podcasts

Allison Melody and Suzy Hardy. “Healing Cervical Cancer Naturally Through a Raw Vegan Diet, Yoga, and Meditation.” Food Heals, 2015.

In this podcast, the hosts interview Amanda Deming, a woman who healed her cervical cancer without the use of any traditional treatments.  Deming details how her integration of a vegan diet, yoga, and meditation helped her beat cervical cancer.  Through changing her lifestyle she was able to overcome cancer and commit to a healthier and more mindful lifestyle.  This podcast is a good resource to patients who are interested in non-traditional forms of healing. 

Allison Melody and Suzy Hardy. “Yoga for Cancer Patients: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Healing.” Food Heals, 2015.

This podcast episode interviews business woman Alison Crowley.  Crowley owns Yoga Prescription, a business designed to teach healing yoga to those with cancer.  She describes this yoga as a type of restoration to promote healing in a safe and effective way.  Crowley emphasizes how yoga therapy is an additional practice to traditional cancer treatments and should be used as a support to promote calm and relaxation.  

Faith Hunter. “Avon Walk for Breast Cancer - Gentle/Basics Yoga Class.” All the Way Live, 2009.

This podcast was recorded at the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in spring of 2009.  The recording is of a yoga class for beginners, especially those afflicted by cancer.  The step by step guidance allows for practice anywhere and participants are able to make adjustments to their skill level and injuries as necessary.  

John Voket. “Pediatric Cancer & Cancer.” For the People, 2017.

In this podcast, the host John Voket interviews oncologist Andrea Orsey about her new research into yoga’s effect on cancer symptoms.  Orsey is a Connecticut-based doctor that introduced yoga into the lives of her patients in order to help their quality of life.  Orsey found that yoga therapy helped her patients with their pain management, stress, fatigue, and anxiety.  

Becky Olson. “Yoga for Cancer.” Breast Friends Cancer Support Radio, December 15, 2017.

This podcasts introduces listeners to a type of yoga called Yoga for Cancer.  This approach is focused on managing cancer symptoms while supporting the immune system.  Postcast host Becky Olson interviews Tari Prinster, a cancer patient who used this method to support herself through her treatment and better her emotional and spiritual well being.  

Juliet Austin. “Yoga for Cancer Survivors - with Certified Yoga Therapist, Alison Crowley.” Businesses in Bloom: Therapists and Wellness Businesses Stories of Success.

In this episode, host Juliet Austin interviews yoga therapist Alison Crowley on her knowledge of yoga therapy for cancer patients. Crowley is a yoga therapist who advocates to hospitals in the LA area to provide female cancer patients with yoga therapy.  In this podcast, Crowley discusses how yoga therapy has helped her patients improve their quality of life.  

“My Story: Edwina on Yoga and Breast Cancer.” Breast Cancer Now, January 15, 2019.

In this podcast episode, the host interviews a breast cancer patient, Edwina, about her struggle with her diagnosis.  She is a yoga student and teacher and details her relationship with yoga therapy as it helped her cancer recovery.  This personal narrative could help all cancer patients deal with the mental and physical toll the disease can take on your body. 

Lindsey Porter “Jo Taylor - Yoga and Breast Cancer.” Voices of Yoga Podcast, 2018.

In this podcast episode, host Lindsey Porter interviews Jo Taylor, a breast cancer survivor who supports others with her new website.  Taylor’s website provides breast cancer patients with information on treatment and recovery.  On her website she also details the use of yoga therapy as a method of treatment for breast cancer patients.  This podcast provides breast cancer patients with essential information on healing and improving quality of life. 

Sharon Worrall. “Yoga Therapy for Colorectal Cancer.” Taboo-Ty: Colorectal Cancer Podcast, 2018.

In this episode, host Sharon Worrall interviews colorectal cancer patient Jean DiCarlo-Wagner about her relationship with yoga therapy as both a student and teacher.  DiCarlo-Wagner details the benefits of yoga therapy for colorectal cancer patients as well as the difference between yoga teachers and yoga therapists.  This podcast provides important information to colorectal cancer patients as well as aspiring yoga therapists. 

Stephanie Cunningham. “Yoga Retreats for Cancer Sufferers.” Changing the Face of Yoga Podcast, 2018.

In this podcast episode, host Stephanie Cunningham interviews Lee Majewski a yoga therapist who developed a three week yoga retreat for cancer patients.  From her own experience with cancer, Majewski saw a lack of support for cancer patients during and after diagnosis and treatment.  She created this retreat as a way to support cancer patients emotionally and physically as well as allowing them to interact with other patients.  

Related Organizations

American Cancer Society. is a national research organization designed to provide cancer patients with support and a sense of community.  The American Cancer Society works to provide cancer patients with access to care and strives to raise money for cancer research.  The organization promotes the use of yoga and exercise as a way for cancer patients to improve their quality of life. 

Cancer Research UK. is a large organization dedicated to finding the cure to cancer.  This organization funds research into all different types of cancer and various treatment methods such as yoga.  The organization’s website is a great starting place for any patient looking to implement yoga into their treatment plan due to the access to a large database of research.  

Cancer Support Community.  is an organization whose mission it is to aid those impacted by cancer with knowledge, support, and community.  With free educational resources, the organization can provide patients and caretakers with a current understanding of cancer research.  The organization also utilizes a support helpline that helps emotionally support those impacted by cancer.  Lastly, the organization has over 170 locations around the world to create a sense of community and strength against the fight to end cancer. 

Yoga4Cancer. is an American organization that spreads a specific type of oncology-based yoga method to all those impacted by cancer.  This organization provides teacher training and connects patients with classes around the country.  These oncology-based yoga classes promote physical and emotional healing and support patients in reaching the recommended goal of exercising between 150-320 minutes per week. 


About this Curated List

Experts interviewed: N/A

Other contributors: N/A

Date Submitted: June 1, 2020 


Maya Link is a rising fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Virginia and a research assistant at the university’s Contemplative Sciences Center.  Link is an intended Biology major with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexualities studies.  


Yoga-Based Interventions for Cancer Treatment
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