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Mindful Yoga for Cancer

Professional Training for Yoga Teachersdukeintegrative


Duke Integrative Medicine
Duke University Health Systems


Durham, NC

June 22 – 28, 2017

For more information or to register, follow this link.

Mindful Yoga for Cancer is a seven-day professional training program offered to registered yoga instructors at the state-of-the-art integrative medicine center at Duke University Medical Center. Mindful Yoga, as applied in clinical trials of the “Yoga of Awareness” intervention (see Research for details), has been shown to be helpful for various stages of the breast cancer experience (see Research for details), resulting in lower pain, fatigue and emotional distress while increasing vigor, acceptance, and relaxation.

Mindful Yoga elegantly and systematically integrates the deep essence of yoga with contemporary wisdom and research. In the ancient yogic texts it is stated: “Physical sensations – cold and heat, pleasure and pain – are transient: they come and go; so bear them patiently.” How does one really live this teaching? And how can we convey this wisdom in a practical, accessible way so that people living with cancer can discover authentic relief? We believe that the deeper yogic teachings, including how to relate to difficult sensations, thoughts and emotions, are essential for yoga to be optimally effective for helping people with cancer-related symptoms to lead fulfilling lives. See our recent featured article in Yoga Therapy Today (linked here) for a further description of our perspective on this topic.

Mindful Yoga as we teach it is distinct from many current hatha yoga styles in that 1) it intensively emphasizes moment-to-moment mind/body awareness during asana practice, rather than the precise execution of postural alignments; and 2) substantial practice of meditation, breathing exercises, key principles of yoga philosophy, and community with other yoga practitioners are highlighted along with posture practice. Mindful Yoga is thus consistent with how the discipline of yoga has been traditionally practiced in India. Traditional topics are explored in Mindful Yoga, such as the principles of simple being (sat), awareness (chit), love (ananda), acceptance (tapas), and skill in action (karmasu kaushalam). Also modern concerns are addressed, such as the physiological underpinnings of mind/body stress reactivity, and how yoga may have beneficial effects on stress-related problems.

This powerful and transformative training is a blend of instruction, practice and discussion. The training will focus on tailoring the program for people living with breast as well as other types of cancer. Duke faculty will also provide expert presentations on important aspects of the cancer experience, such as cancer-related pain, psychosocial aspects of cancer, exercise physiology of cancer, physical therapy for cancer patients, and palliative care.

During this training, we will explore

  • Evidence-based modules for cancer-related symptoms
  • Tailoring asana and pranayama to specific symptoms
  • Principles of Mindful Yoga
  • Contexting yogic principles for people from various faith traditions
  • Effective and clear ways of presenting models of stress
  • Appropriate guidance for working with the mind
  • Partnering with the medical community
  • Group facilitation skills

Upon completion of the training, participants will receive a certificate of completion from Duke Integrative Medicine. This certificate is a step in the process of becoming a certified Yoga of Awareness teacher. Further steps for becoming a certified Mindful Yoga teacher are outlined here.



Mindfulness-Based Symptom Management

Continuing Education for Oncology Professionals


Knight Cancer Institute
Oregon Health & Science University


Portland, Oregon

September 17-18, 2016

Registration: Contact Us


Join OHSU clinical research team, Dr. Jim Carson and Kimberly Carson, developers of several mindfulness-based programs – including Mindfulness Breath-by-Breath, Mindful Pain Management, Yoga of Awareness, Mindfulness-Based Relationship Enhancement, and the Loving-kindness Meditation Intervention – for an in-depth study of safe and effective ways to teach mindfulness-based skills to individuals going through cancer treatment and recovery.

This transformative intra-professional course is an innovative integrative medicine program designed for all practitioners helping people cope with cancer and its treatment, including physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, naturopaths, palliative care specialists and others working with cancer patients.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has recently called for increased efforts to integrate Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) evidence-based therapies into the conventional practice of medicine. The IOM has noted that cancer centers in particular are leading the way in offering mindfulness and other CAM modalities in combination with conventional treatments.

This two-day course will provide attendees with a comprehensive overview of the conceptual and research-supported basis for mindfulness-based supportive care applications for cancer patients, along with a review of guidelines regarding when mindfulness may be potentially helpful versus contra-indicated. Attendees will also explore a variety of simple and safe breathing techniques, meditation strategies and other mindfulness-based symptom management tools that can be applied to patients’ needs, and will learn how to integrate the use of these tools into their care of cancer patients, without the need for thorough mindfulness teacher training. Course materials will include a professionally produced DVD suitable for clients to engage in gentle, safe yoga posture work when appropriate.

Course Objectives

Upon conclusion of this program, participants should be able to:

  • Discuss current use of mindfulness-based applications in leading cancer centers.
  • Synthesize scientific evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of mindfulness-based applications for managing symptoms such as cancer-related pain, fatigue, and emotional distress.
  • Implement a range of simple and safe breathing techniques, meditation strategies, and other mindfulness-based tools in clinical practice.

This course is being offered to all oncology care specialities: physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, naturopaths, palliative care specialists and others working with cancer patients.

Credit:  OHSU School of Medicine, Division of CME, designates this live activity for a maximum of 11 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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