I doubt many of you know this, but before I opened Whole Life Yoga, I taught yoga classes to women in all stages of cancer recovery through Team Survivor Northwest. Some of my classes were taught in English; others through a Spanish language interpreter. Some of my students were currently undergoing treatment; others had been cancer-free for years. But in all cases I was impressed by the resiliency, joy, and courage I saw in my students.
I knew, deep down inside, that yoga helped my students. Now I have research to back me up.
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and led by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser—professer of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University—followed two hundred breast cancer survivors. Some of the women participated in ninety-minute Hatha yoga classes two times a week for twelve weeks. The rest (the control group) were wait-listed for the same class. All participants were new to yoga, and students were encouraged to practice with DVDs at home.
The practitioners were diverse. Participants ranged in age from twenty-seven to seventy-six, were diagnosed with breast cancer staged 0 – 3A, and were two months to three years past their latest treatment. The results were impressive:
- Yoga practitioners had fifty-seven percent less fatigue than the non-yoga group.
- Inflammation-related blood proteins were twenty percent lower in the yoga group than the non-yoga group.
The researchers were surprised, because similar results have not been seen with studies of other types of exercise. They now believe that the breathing and meditation aspects of yoga are especially impactful, which is great news for Viniyoga practitioners. Viniyoga focuses on the connection of body, breath and mind, making it especially breath and meditation-focused.
The researchers believe that yoga might have similar benefits with other groups of people who suffer from fatigue and inflammation, including patients suffering from coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
All of this just goes to show what I’ve known all along. Yoga works!
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!