Restorative yoga for women with ovarian or breast cancer: findings from a pilot study

J Soc Integr Oncol. 2008 Spring;6(2):47-58.


Yoga has demonstrated benefit 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 = 37) or breast cancer (n = 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 postintervention, and 2 months postintervention. Significant improvements were seen for depression, negative affect, state anxiety, mental health, and overall quality of life. Fatigue decreased between baseline and postintervention 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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Breast Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yoga*