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Yoga practice is reported to lead to improvements in quality of life, psychological functioning, and symptom indices in cancer survivors. Importantly, meditative states experienced within yoga practice are correlated to neurophysiological systems that moderate both focus of attention and affective valence. The current study used a mixed methods approach based in neurophenomenology to investigate associations between attention, affect, and cardiac activity during a single yoga session for female cancer survivors. Yoga practice was associated with a linear increase in associative attention and positive affective valence, while shifts in cardiac activity were related to the intensity of each yoga sequence. Changes in attention and affect were predicted by concurrently assessed cardiac activity. Awareness of breathing, physical movement, and increased relaxation were reported by participants as potential mechanisms for yoga's salutary effects. While yoga practice shares commonalities with exercise and relaxation training, yoga may serve primarily as a promising meditative attention-affect regulation training methodology.

BACKGROUND: Increasing rates of survival present a new set of psychosocial and physical challenges for children undergoing treatment for cancer. Physical activity (PA) has been shown to be a safe and effective strategy to mitigate the significant burden of cancer and its treatments, with yoga increasingly gaining recognition as a gentle alternative. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility and benefits of a 12-week community-based yoga intervention on health-related quality of life (HRQL), select physical fitness outcomes and PA levels (PAL). PROCEDURE: Eight pediatric cancer out-patients (4 male; 4 female; Mage = 11.88, SD = 4.26) participated in the 12-week intervention consisting of supervised yoga sessions 2 times/week. Participants (patients and parent proxies) completed measures assessing HRQL, physical fitness and PAL at baseline and post-intervention. RESULTS: Rates of recruitment, retention, attendance and adverse events indicated the program was feasible. Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests indicated significant improvements for patient (P = 0.02) and parent reported HRQL (P = 0.03), functional mobility (P = 0.01), hamstring flexibility (left, P = 0.01 and right P = 0.02), and total PAL (P = 0.02) pre to post intervention. CONCLUSION: This 12-week community-based yoga intervention was feasible and provides preliminary evidence for the benefits of yoga on HRQL, physical fitness and PAL in pediatric cancer out-patients. In a population where sedentary behavior and the associated co-morbidities are a growing concern, these results promote the continued exploration of yoga programming.

PURPOSE: To determine whether non-physical activity mind and body practices reduce the severity of fatigue in patients with cancer or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients compared to control interventions. METHODS: We included randomized trials which compared non-physical activity mind and body practices compared with control interventions for the management of fatigue in cancer and HSCT patients. RESULTS: Among 55 trials (4975 patients), interventions were acupuncture or acupressure (n=12), mindfulness (n=11), relaxation techniques (n=10), massage (n=6), energy therapy (n=5), energizing yogic breathing (n=3) and others (n=8). When combined, all interventions significantly reduced fatigue severity compared to all controls (standardized mean difference -0.51, 95% confidence interval -0.73 to -0.29). More specifically, mindfulness and relaxation significantly reduced fatigue severity. CONCLUSIONS: Mindfulness and relaxation were effective at reducing fatigue severity in patients with cancer and HSCT recipients. Future studies should evaluate how to translate these findings into clinical practice across different patient groups.

BACKGROUND: Physical activity provides a number of physical and psychological benefits to cancer survivors, including lessening the impact of detrimental cancer-related symptoms and treatment side-effects (e.g. fatigue, nausea), and improving overall well-being and quality of life. The purpose of the present pilot study was to examine the physical and psychological benefits afforded by a 7-week yoga program for cancer survivors. METHOD: Eligible participants (per-screened with PAR-Q/PAR-MED-X) were randomly assigned to either the intervention (n=20) or control group (n=18). All participants completed pre- and post-testing assessments immediately before and after the yoga program, respectively. RESULTS: The yoga program participants (M age=51.18 (10.33); 92% female) included primarily breast cancer survivors, on average 55.95 (54.39) months post-diagnosis. Significant differences between the intervention and the control group at post-intervention were seen only in psychosocial (i.e. global quality of life, emotional function, and diarrhea) variables (all p's <0.05). There were also trends for group differences, in the hypothesized directions, for the psychosocial variables of emotional irritability, gastrointestinal symptoms, cognitive disorganization, mood disturbance, tension, depression, and confusion (all p's <0.10). Finally, there were also significant improvements in both the program participants and the controls from pre- to post-intervention on a number of physical fitness variables. CONCLUSIONS: These initial findings suggest that yoga has significant potential and should be further explored as a beneficial physical activity option for cancer survivors. Future research might attempt to include a broader range of participants (e.g. other types of cancer diagnoses, male subjects), a larger sample size, and a longer program duration in an RCT.

Background: The practice of yoga has been shown to improve disease- and treatment-related side effects in the noncurative cancer patient. Objective: This user experience study aimed to examine the feasibility and usefulness of a DVD-based yoga program for young adult cancer patients with a noncurative diagnosis. Methods: Participants were asked to partake in a 7-week DVD-based yoga program and complete measures of program use and usefulness. Results: Nine patients expressed study interest and 5 consented to participate. Four completed the full study protocol. Participants reported being satisfied with the program and described that it provided an opportunity for self-care. Improvements in functional, physical, and spiritual well-being and overall quality of life were found. Barriers included competing time demands and feeling unwell. No adverse events were reported. Conclusion: The program was viewed as an accessible and useful activity option; however, a desire for greater social support from relatable others was highlighted.