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BACKGROUND: Yoga is found to be effective in reducing stress levels and radiation-induced DNA damage, and improving the quality of life, in breast cancer patients. The present study was aimed at comparing the apoptotic index (AI) and DNA damage of advanced yoga practitioners with those of breast cancer patients.MATERIALS AND METHODS: This cross-sectional pilot study compared three groups (n = 9 each) of age-matched subjects viz. (1) Carcinoma breast patients in stage II or III undergoing radiation therapy after completing three cycles of chemotherapy; (2) Senior yoga practitioners who were practicing asanas, pranayama and meditation daily for more than 10 years; and (3) Normal healthy volunteers. Peripheral blood lymphocytes were isolated, and qualitative DNA damage (QDD) and AI were evaluated by single-cell gel electrophoresis assay. Approximately 500 cells were counted in each case. Number of cells that were normal, undergoing apoptosis, and with DNA damage were categorized and percentages were calculated. RESULTS: Data being normally distributed, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed significant interaction between groups in AI (P = 0.016) and QDD (P = 0.045). On post-hoc analysis using Scheffe test, AI was significantly lower in non-yoga volunteers as compared with the breast cancer group (P = 0.019) and QDD was significantly lower in yoga practitioners when compared with non-yoga volunteers (P = 0.047). CONCLUSION: Cellular dysfunction (QDD) requires restorative mechanisms (AI) to restore the system to a balance. The results of this pilot study show trends, which indicate that in ill-health, there is inadequate restorative mechanisms (AI) although dysfunction (QDD) is high. Through regular practice of yoga, cellular dysfunction can be lowered, thus necessitating reduced restorative mechanisms. AI and QDD could also be useful indicators for predicting the three zones of health viz. disease, health, and positive health.

CONTEXT AND AIM: Complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) are gaining popularity amongst patients as add on to conventional medicine. Yoga stands third amongst all CAM that is being used by cancer patients today. Different schools of yoga use different sets of practices, with some using a more physical approach and many using meditation and/or breathing. All these modules are developed based on the needs of the patient. This paper is an attempt to provide the basis for a comprehensive need based integrative yoga module for cancer patients at different stages of treatment and follow up. In this paper, the holistic modules of the integrated approach of yoga therapy for cancer (IAYTC) have been developed based on the patient needs, as per the observations by the clinicians and the caregivers. Authors have attempted to systematically create holistic modules of IAYTC for various stages of the disease and treatment. These modules have been used in randomized trials to evaluate its efficacy and have shown to be effective as add-on to conventional management of cancer. Thus, the objective of this effort was to present the theoretical basis and validate the need based holistic yoga modules for cancer patients.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Literature from traditional texts including Vedas, Ayurveda, Upanishads, Bhagavat Gita, Yoga Vasishtha etc. and their commentaries were looked into for references of cancer and therapeutic directives. Present day scientific literature was also explored with regards to defining cancer, its etiopathology and its management. Results of studies done using CAM therapies were also looked at, for salient findings. Focused group discussions (FGD) amongst researchers, experienced gurus, and medical professionals involved in research and clinical cancer practice were carried out with the objectives of determining needs of the patient and yoga practices that could prove efficient. A list of needs at different stages of conventional therapies (surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy) was listed and yoga modules were developed accordingly. Considering the needs, expected side effects, the energy levels and the psychological states of the participants, eight modules evolved. RESULTS: The results of the six steps for developing the validated module are reported. Step 1: Literature review from traditional yoga and ayurveda texts on etiopathogenesis and management of cancer (arbuda), and the recent literature on cancer stem cells and immunology of cancer. Step 2: Focused group discussions and deliberations to compile the needs of patients based on the expected side effects, energy levels and the psychological state of the patient as observed by the caregivers and the clinicians. Step 3: Content validation through consensus by the experts for the eight modules of IAYTC that could be used as complimentary to conventional management of cancer at different stages during and after the diagnosis was created. Step 4: Field testing for safety and feasibility of the modules through pilot studies. Step 5: Compilation of the results of efficacy trials through RCTs and step 6: A review of our studies on mechanisms to offer evidence for action of IAYTC on psycho-neuro-immunological pathways in cancer. CONCLUSION: The evidence from the traditional knowledge and recent scientific studies validates eight modules of integrated approach of yoga therapy for cancer that can be used safely and effectively as complimentary during all conventional cancer therapies.

Background:Adolescence is a key phase of socialization, where improved psychosocial fitness helps to promote socioeconomic productivity in societies. Psychosocial fitness also has an impact on the academic performance, overall health, and quality of life, throughout life. The present study evaluates the effect of yoga intervention on psychosocial fitness among adolescents. Materials and Methods: A single group, pre and post yoga interventional study was carried out in three independent cohorts (batches 1, 2, and 3), having sample size of 148, 167, and 195 respectively. A 7-day integrated yoga intervention was given in a residential setting. Psychosocial assessments included social competence, empathy, altruism, parent relationship, and peer friendship. Data were collected from the participants and their parents using respective versions of the scales. While pre- and post-data were collected from all the adolescent participants, pre- and post-data from parents were collected for 340 and 43 parents only. The objective of the analyses was to evaluate the effect of the yoga program and check the consistency of these effects. Results: Significant changes (P < 0.05) were seen in social competence, empathy, and altruism in batches 2 and 3, whereas changes in batch 1 showed nonsignificant improvements. Analyses of the parental data indicated a significant improvement in parent relationship (P = 0.035) and also nonsignificant improvement in all other outcomes. Conclusion: Results suggested that yoga intervention might help in improving psychosocial fitness in adolescents. It also helped to demonstrate that administering yoga was acceptable and feasible in a residential setting.