We are conducting a two-phase study with the aim of developing and testing a modified Ashtanga yoga practice to mitigate the psychological distress and cardiac/autonomic dysfunctions common in breast cancer survivors.

This research has received clearance from the University of Windsor Research Ethics Board.


One in nine Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer over her life-time, making it the most prevalent cancer among women. Although advances in treatment have improved longevity, breast cancer survivors experience considerable psychological distress post-treatment. Treatment also can result in impaired cardiac and autonomic function, which increase cardiovascular disease risk and mortality.

Because Ashtanga yoga involves simultaneous engagement in exercise, meditation, and controlled breathing, this integrated practice may be especially beneficial to breast cancer survivors. All three components have been shown beneficial to mental and cardiac/autonomic health. Further, the practice is adaptable to any initial level of fitness and allows progress at an individualised pace, making it ideal for breast cancer survivors.

Phase 1 will be done collaboratively with a group of 20 survivors through interactive yoga classes. In Phase 2, we will test the effectiveness of Ashtanga yoga for psychological and physiological wellbeing by conducting hypothesis testing with an independent group of 20 survivors.

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