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Restorative Yoga for Women with Ovarian or Breast Cancer: Findings from a Pilot Study

Little research has been done about using yoga intervention as a support therapy for women diagnosed with Ovarian and Breast Cancer. This study explores the feasibility of doing that.

Yoga has demonstrated benefits in healthy individuals and those with various health conditions. There are, however, few systematic studies to support the development of yoga interventions for cancer patients.

Restorative yoga (RY) is a gentle type of yoga that has been described as ‘‘active relaxation.’’ The specific aims of this pilot study were to determine the feasibility of implementing an RY intervention as a supportive therapy for women diagnosed with ovarian or breast cancer and to measure changes in self-reported fatigue, psychological distress, and well-being, and quality of life. Fifty-one women with ovarian (n= 5 37) or breast cancer (n= 5 14) with a mean age of 58.9 years enrolled in this study; the majority (61%) were actively undergoing cancer treatment at the time of enrollment. All study participants participated in 10 weekly 75-minute RY classes that combined physical postures, breathing, and deep relaxation. Study participants completed questionnaires at baseline, immediately post-intervention, and 2 months post-intervention. Significant improvements were seen for depression, negative affect, state anxiety, mental health, and overall quality of life. Fatigue decreased between baseline and post-intervention follow-up.

Health-related quality of life improved between baseline and the 2-month follow-up. Qualitative feedback from participants was predominantly positive; relaxation and shared group experience were two common themes.

The paper has been published in J Society of Integrative Oncology (2008) 6:47-48 This is part of the collection of studies published as the Mumbai Research Compilation. A collection of presentations made at the Light on Yoga Research Trust in collaboration with the Bombay Hospital Trust, Indian Medical Association, General Practitioners Association, and the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Society. They organized the conference on the “Scientific evidence on the Therapeutic Efficacy of Iyengar Yoga’. It highlights research papers on Iyengar Yoga and its medical benefits. The objective of which being the dissemination of knowledge about the science of yoga in the medical setting. The conference was held on October 12, 2008.


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