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J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2018 Feb;5(1):62-72. doi: 10.1007/s40615-017-0342-4. Epub 2017 Apr 14.

A Restorative Yoga Intervention for African-American Breast Cancer Survivors: a Pilot Study.

Author information

College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA.
Community Outreach Associates, P.O. Box 9379, Washington, DC, 20005, USA.
Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.
Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Research Building, E501, 3970 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC, 20057, USA.
Department of Psychology, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA.
College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, DC, USA.



Data show that yoga is effective for improving health-related outcomes in breast cancer survivors. While breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among African-American women (AAW), AAW are less likely to engage in yoga compared to other ethnic groups. The goals of the current study were to assess the feasibility of an 8-week restorative yoga program among African-American breast cancer survivors (AA BCS). Specifically, study aims were to (1) measure changes in study outcomes in a restorative yoga (RY) group compared to a wait list control group, (2) assess adherence to the RY program, and (3) assess program satisfaction among study participants.


Thirty-three AA BCS were randomly assigned to either the RY intervention (n = 18) or wait list control group (n = 15). RY classes met once per week for 8 weeks. Pre- and post-testing assessments were measured at 0 and 8 weeks (immediately post-intervention).


Depression scores at follow-up were significantly lower in the yoga group (M = 4.78, SD = 3.56) compared to the control group (M = 6.91, SD = 5.86). No significant group differences were observed for sleep quality, fatigue, or perceived stress. Yoga program participants completing baseline assessments demonstrated 61% adherence to the yoga classes. Average rating of the yoga program was "very useful." Recommendations for future yoga programs were provided.


This study suggests that yoga has a beneficial effect on depression in AA BCS. There is, however, a need to further explore the benefits of yoga among minority breast cancer survivors using a study with larger sample sizes.


African-American; Breast cancer survivors; Yoga


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