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



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.

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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds (UL1TR001409 previously UL1TR000101) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health, through the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program (CTSA), a trademark of DHHS, part of the Roadmap Initiative, “Re-Engineering the Clinical Research Enterprise.”

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Correspondence to Teletia R. Taylor.

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Human Subjects Statement

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in this study. The Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science Institutional Review Board approved the study that this manuscript is based on (Dr. Teletia R. Taylor, Principal Investigator).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Taylor, T.R., Barrow, J., Makambi, K. et al. A Restorative Yoga Intervention for African-American Breast Cancer Survivors: a Pilot Study. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 5, 62–72 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-017-0342-4

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  • African-American
  • Breast cancer survivors
  • Yoga