Establishing “Y4C” as the Hospital-Based Standard Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors

IRB Research Trial


The benefits of yoga in improving cancer treatment and survivorship have been investigated in numerous condition with a variety of yoga traditions. Within the HealthCare Cancer Institute, Hartford Hospital, yoga has been offered to cancer patients by numerous practitioners, with different training and expertise. Often this results in difficulty for patients, families and clinicians in selecting an optimal yoga referral and treatment. Integrative Medicine partnered with yoga4cancer (“Y4C”) creator Tari Prinster to evaluate establishing Y4C as the “gold standard” program for our cancer community.

Therefore, our purpose was to assess the feasibility of:

  • Training high quality yoga providers in the Y4C method;
  • Developing an IRB approved protocol with QOL and Y4C outcomes;
  • Recruiting cancer patients into the hospital-based Y4C program.

Y4C trained yoga practitioners com- pleted all CITI training. Y4C class protocol delineates yoga frequency (1 class weekly), interval (60 min structured class) and duration (1 class/wk x 8 weeks with follow-up class wk12).

Outcomes include: Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale, EORTCC QLQ-C30-Ver3, 5-Y4C performance poses (A. Warm up Vinyasa, B. Getting to Hands & Knees, C. Kick-stand tree, D. Chair & Block Test and E. Forward Fold) evaluated via F. Likert scale (0-1 Cannot do to 9-10 easy to perform).

Inclusion criteria: cancer patients (early diagnosis, active treatment, or survivors), > 18 years, willing and available for yoga classes, physician approval.

Exclusion: significant co-morbidity; broken/dislocated bones, muscle strain/sprain, disc problems, fragility, significant balance, vertigo, no physician clearance.

Hartford Hospital IRB yoga4cancer Research Results

The pilot research study showed the following:

  • Feasibility to establish an IRB approved Hospital-based “Y4C” pilot program with Y4C trained yoga therapists.
  • Demographics and changes in Y4C Poses & QOL can be assessed over time
  • Participants are predominately Caucasian, female, early 60s, with breast cancer
  • Preliminary improvements of Sleep & Depression from Week 1 to Week 4
  • Preliminary improvements in ability to perform Y4C poses form 4 to 11% from Week 1 to Week 4

Next Steps: Due to Covid-19, the research study was paused and further activity is being explored.