Yoga Helps Put the Pieces Back Together: A Qualitative Exploration of a Community-Based Yoga Program for Cancer Survivors
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2016
Source ID: shanti-sources-41276
Collection: Yoga-Based Interventions for Cancer Treatment
Abstract: Objective. A qualitative research methods approach was used to explore the experiences of participants in an ongoing community-based yoga program developed for cancer survivors and their support persons. Methods. 25 participants took part in a series of semistructured focus groups following a seven-week yoga program and at three- and six-month follow-ups. Focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a process of inductive thematic analysis. Results. The group was comprised of 20 cancer survivors, who were diagnosed on average 25.40 (20.85) months earlier, and five support persons. Participants had completed the yoga program an average of 3.35 (3.66) times previously and attended approximately 1.64 (0.70) of three possible focus groups. Four key themes were identified: (1) safety and shared understanding; (2) cancer-specific yoga instruction; (3) benefits of yoga participation; (4) mechanisms of yoga practice. Conclusions. Qualitative research provides unique and in-depth insight into the yoga experience. Specifically, cancer survivors and support persons participating in a community-based yoga program discussed their experiences of change over time and were acutely aware of the beneficial effects of yoga on their physical, psychological, and social well-being. Further, participants were able to articulate the mechanisms they perceived as underpinning the relationship between yoga and improved well-being as they developed their yoga practice.