YCAT - Yoga for Cancer

Introduction to Sandra Gilbert and YCAT

2:00 Yoga taught in chemotherapy infusion suites,  bedsides, waiting rooms, and for their carers. Yoga is available during diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and end of life and for caregivers. Would like to have yoga available during diagnosis and prevention of cancer. Yoga is good for stress management and decreases stress hormones. Yoga teaches body awareness and promotes a healthy lifestyle, a person can take control thru mind-body practices.

4:17 Yoga for Cancer Research: working with the medical profession. Originally started with yoga for the special child. Became a caregiver for family members with cancer. Began practices with mother who was hospitalised. Then found YCAT training.

5:41 Not trained as a medical progession but mentor was a nurse. Sandra accompanied her mentor to conferences and research meetings. She made connections and started building relationships. Her mentor told her that no yogis were not medial professionals but we should stand in our own expertise. Through relationships and connections, became part of a medical team. Must respect all members of the team for their expertise.

7:35 Sandra is involved in current research of yoga for women with breast cancer with or without lymphodoema.  The research has not finished yet so no outcomes. They are measuring pain, psychosocial and emotional elements. Finding if yoga is helpful for those with lymphodoema. Will be finished in June.

8:33 No consistent response to cancer. Everyone’s journey is different. First evaluation very important to listens and meeting them where they are. Where they are with regard to their cancer treatment.

10:16 Foundation of work is building a relationship with person. Questioning/listening helps them clarify their thoughts. YCAT classes structure: awareness practice to begin to notice physical, emotional, thoughts, energy and breath. Very empowering to understand what the body and mind are feeling. They learn to check in with themselves. Learn tools to help them.

12:18 Provide yoga for the caregivers. – yoga empowers them to take care of themselves while caregiving. Educating caregivers to take a break; give them a yoga practice if they like. Learn what they need and how to give that to themselves. Creating relationship with someone so that each caregiver finds exactly what they need for self-care. Supporting someone in finding out what they need.

15:37 YCAT is based in Integral Yoga. Integral Yoga Class and YCAT class structure: awareness, asana, breathwork, yoga nidra, meditation. Dean Ornish based his work in Integral Yoga for improving heart disease and chronic conditions through a healthy lifestyle. Joy Devi did a lot of research in this area to show the benefits of yoga for heart disease and chronic conditions.

17:46 The YCAT founder died in 2017 and Sandra took over as director. YCAT as an organisation decided to include more grief training in their organisation and their training. YCAT curriculum helps with grief by recognizing and having people explore their own grief in there experiences.Someone who has received a cancer diagnosis feels grief over their old life. Their new life will be very different. People with the diagnosis need to be aware of how this affects them; it could be very different from person to person. Honoring each person’s  process of grieving. YCAT offers support; but must accept where each person is. Can have hard discussions about loss if person is ready  and wants to talk.

22:20 Future of YCAT: Sandra is starting to work with other providers of yoga for cancer training and IYAT to establish a set of guidelines for yoga for cancer training. YCAT is  positioned as continuing education after receiving 1000 hour yoga therapy training. YCAT is also promoting mentoring for teachers. YCAT supports new teachers as they find the area in yoga for cancer – they learn about themselves and self-care. Trainers model self-care. And also thinking how to provide support for health care workers.


Website: www.ycatyogaincancer.com