Research Trial: Establishing “yoga4cancer” as the Hospital-Based Gold-Standard

Establishing “yoga4cancer” as the Hospital-Based Gold-Standard Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors

Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute and Hartford Hospital: Patricia Salner, Roberta Garceau, Cheryl Guertin, Erika Cappelluti & Eric R. Secor, Jr
yoga4cancer, LLC : Tari Prinster and Josi Kytle

Download the Poster Presentation as presented at the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine in September 2018.

Background and Purpose:

The benefits of yoga in improving cancer treatment and survivorship have been investigated in numerous conditions with a variety of yoga traditions. Within the Hartford 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 Yoga for Cancer “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: 1) Training high quality yoga providers in the Y4C method, 2) Developing an IRB approved protocol with QOL and Y4C outcomes, 3) Recruit cancer patients into the hospital-based Y4C program.

Method and Design:

Y4C trained yoga practitioners must complete all CITI and research ethics training.Y4C protocol delineates yoga frequency (1 class per week), interval (60 min structured class) and duration (1 class/wk x 8 weeks with follow-up class wk12). Outcomes include Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale, (10 Questions) EORTCC QLQ-C30-Ver3 (30 Questions) and Y4C performance 5 poses (Warm up Vinyasa, Getting to Hands & Knees, Kick-stand tree, Chair & Block Test and Forward Fold) evaluated via 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.


FIGURE 2.   Y4C Initial Cohort Demographics and Baseline QOL & Y4C Functional Assessments


It is feasible to establish a Hospital-based Y4C program. Recruitment is ongoing with goals of 150 cancer patients. Active assessments include: Retention, QOL, Y4C performance and participant satisfaction. Future plans include assessing benefit by gender, cancer type, continuum (newly diagnosed, active treatment, survivor ship) and system wide (to over 6 hospitals) expansion of Y4C.


Research was supported by grants from Tutu Project and Y4C. Lululemon provided grants for our “Y4C” Yoga therapist training. Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute & the Bone and Joint Institute provided staffing, administrative resources and studio space for our Yoga sessions.


  1. Y4C was established as the “gold Standard” yoga program for Hartford Healthcare Cancer Institute
  2. Y4C certified Instructors were successfully included in our IRB approved protocol
  3. QOL and Y4C specific performance outcomes will be prospectively evaluated in 150 participants
  4. Subjectively participants have been very satisfied with the Y4C yoga experience

The Pilot research continues in 2019 with additional cohorts.  Results to be published in 2019.