“Working with a Client with Breast Cancer: A Yoga Therapy Case Study”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re sharing an in-depth look into how one yoga therapist worked with a client undergoing treatment for breast cancer. 

In this interview, Lisa Alexander, C-IAYT, shares how she used yoga therapy to support a client during and after aggressive cancer treatment.

Alexander saw this client weekly on days before chemotherapy sessions. They practiced gentle physical movements to maintain mobility and help inhibit the buildup of scar tissue. The two also settled on an at-home yoga therapy program for days between sessions. “My work was about giving her certain things she could do at home: mantras, breathwork, chanting,” Alexander explains. “She felt breathwork was really important.”

Yoga therapy involves meeting clients where they are and using techniques that work well for a particular individual. Alexander shares that she and the client found pathways forward for practice through consistent communication and respect of shifting energy levels. In addition to the physical work they did together in one-to-one sessions and the home practice, this client incorporated yoga therapy tools during chemotherapy treatment sessions. “When they put the intravenous [drip] into her arm and she’d have to stay there three, four hours, she would meditate and she would chant silently, and she said it was just a way of her having control and settling and grounding.”

Lisa Alexander is a graduate of the Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy training program; in this video she is interviewed by Breathing Deeply founder Brandt Passalacqua, LMT, C-IAYT.

Find an IAYT-certified yoga therapist to help you or a loved one through cancer treatment and recovery.