Background: Individuals have increasingly sought complementary therapies to enhance health and well-being during cancer, although little evidence of their effect is available. Objectives: We investigated (1) how an Iyengar yoga program affects the self-identified worst symptom in a group of participants. (2) whether quality of life, spiritual well-being, and mood disturbance change over the Iyengar yoga program and at 6 weeks after the program. (3) how, from a participant’s perspective, the Iyengar yoga program complements conventional cancer treatment. Patients and Methods: This pre–post instrumental collective case study used a mixed methods design and was conducted at a private Iyengar yoga studio. The sample consisted of 24 volunteers (23 women, 1 man; 88% Caucasian; mean age: 49 years) who were currently on treatment or who had been treated for cancer within the previous 6 months, and who participated in ten 90-minute weekly Iyengar yoga classes. The main outcome measures were most-bothersome symptom (Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile 2 instrument), quality of life and spiritual well-being (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–General subscale and Spiritual subscale), and mood disturbance (Profile of Mood States–Short Form). Participant perspectives were obtained in qualitative interviews. Results: Statistically significant improvements were reported in most-bothersome symptom (t(23) = 5.242; p < 0.001), quality of life (F(2,46) = 14.5; p < 0.001), spiritual well-being (F(2,46) = 14.4; p < 0.001), and mood disturbance (F(2,46) = 10.8; p < 0.001) during the program. At follow-up, quality of life (t(21) = −3.7; p = 0.001) and mood disturbance (t(21) = 2.4; p = 0.025) significantly improved over time. Categorical aggregation of the interview data showed that participants felt the program provided them with various benefits not included on the outcomes questionnaires. Conclusions: Over the course of the Iyengar Yoga for Cancer program, participants reported an improvement in overall well-being. The program was also found to present participants with a holistic approach to care and to provide tools to effectively manage the demands of living with cancer and its treatment.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited