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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 1832515, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/1832515
Research Article

Yoga Helps Put the Pieces Back Together: A Qualitative Exploration of a Community-Based Yoga Program for Cancer Survivors

1Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA
2Department of Human Development & Family Studies, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA
3School of Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
4Graduate School of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan
5Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
6Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
7Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, Canada

Received 27 May 2016; Revised 29 September 2016; Accepted 5 October 2016

Academic Editor: Amie Steel

Copyright © 2016 Michael J. Mackenzie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Objective. A qualitative research methods approach was used to explore the experiences of participants in an ongoing community-based yoga program developed for cancer survivors and their support persons. Methods. 25 participants took part in a series of semistructured focus groups following a seven-week yoga program and at three- and six-month follow-ups. Focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a process of inductive thematic analysis. Results. The group was comprised of 20 cancer survivors, who were diagnosed on average 25.40 (20.85) months earlier, and five support persons. Participants had completed the yoga program an average of 3.35 (3.66) times previously and attended approximately 1.64 (0.70) of three possible focus groups. Four key themes were identified: (1) safety and shared understanding; (2) cancer-specific yoga instruction; (3) benefits of yoga participation; (4) mechanisms of yoga practice. Conclusions. Qualitative research provides unique and in-depth insight into the yoga experience. Specifically, cancer survivors and support persons participating in a community-based yoga program discussed their experiences of change over time and were acutely aware of the beneficial effects of yoga on their physical, psychological, and social well-being. Further, participants were able to articulate the mechanisms they perceived as underpinning the relationship between yoga and improved well-being as they developed their yoga practice.