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Lymphedema, pain, and range of motion restrictions after breast cancer remain underexplored, and few interventions have been developed for these women. Together with a yoga instructor, our interdisciplinary research team developed a yoga program for women with lymphedema after breast cancer (n = 13). Qualitative interviews and participants' journals show that there were a number of benefits to the yoga program. Themes outlining these are (1) understanding arm morbidity; (2) becoming aware of posture; and (3) countering fatigue. More surprisingly, perhaps, the participants also described the ways in which yoga furthered their understandings of loss associated with disability, the fourth theme, and showed that yoga enhanced their experiences of embodiment, the final theme. Finally, we assert that our research demonstrates the potential for qualitative research connected to the evaluation of interventions and that it demonstrates the blurring of traditional boundaries between interventions and data collection.

Treatments for breast cancer assault the body and can disrupt the relationship between body, mind, and spirit. In this article, we discuss the ways in which yoga was experienced and understood as a healing therapy among ten female breast cancer survivors between the ages of 26 and 70 and living with treatment-related arm morbidity. The women participated in 6 weekly sessions of gentle Iyengar yoga and responded to open-ended surveys before and after the intervention. The majority of women reported physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits from the practice of yoga. Specific benefits included improvements in physical function and relief from symptoms related to treatment; increased peace of mind and hope; and connection to other yoga participants. Integral to this healing process was social support from other breast cancer survivors.