How can yoga help anyone with a cancer diagnosis?

Hello everyone, my name is Sue Skelton I am a Registered Nurse and have worked for the past 15+ years in Oncology and then latterly in Palliative Care to a Clinical Nurse Specialist level. I have more recently trained as a Yoga Teacher and then undertaken further studies to give me the knowledge to teach yoga safely to anyone who has been given a cancer diagnosis who is either still undergoing treatment or post treatment. I chose this path while still training to become a Yoga Teacher partly because of my background, my ‘day job’ and partly because I truly believe the therapeutic benefits are huge and can be life changing and want to share this with as many people as possible.

So here is the question, ‘How can Yoga help anyone with a cancer diagnosis’?

Everyone who attends a regular yoga class knows that they feel better – more flexible – more chilled out after class. This is true, but there is more and more research coming through which is telling us of the benefits Yoga can have on anyone with a cancer diagnosis. It can help balance mind, body and spirit to help them feel and function better during and after their treatment by:

  • Helping to calm the mind so that people cope better with their diagnosis and treatment
  • Alleviates the effects of stress on the body
  • Can help to reduce symptoms and side effects such as, tiredness, pain, nausea, sleep problems, anxiety
  • Can be a gentle way to help people stay physically active (exercise has been shown to be one of the most significant indicators of long-term cancer survival)
  • Can help people keep calm and centred
  • Strengthens the body
  • Increases flexibility
  • Keeps the spine strong
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Can help people who have experienced cancer treatment to reconnect with their bodies in a gentle way
  • Enhancing empowerment and well-being

Class will include:

  • Breathing techniques and breath awareness
  • Relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Visualisation
  • Asana (postures)
  • Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping)


Most cancer treatments focus on a particular point in the body or particular type of cells in the body and these treatments can disturb system functions throughout the body and the effects are not just localised to where the tumour might be. Yoga is a holistic path to wellness focusing on the interconnection of all the body systems, it helps people heal in a way that supports wholeness, seeking to strengthen all the systems of the body.

Yoga has a spiritual purpose that brings increased peacefulness, which in turn has a positive impact on the physical body. By reducing anxiety and stress, this leads to a greater sense of calmness that in turn helps to quiet and strengthen the nervous system. These are the qualities that are tangible and measurable and are the main focus of research which has been done both in America and India. Additionally, being able to move and improve your body provides people with a strong sense of empowerment and personal control, so important when there is generally a feeling of powerlessness.

I am delighted to be able to offer my services to the ladies who are in receipt of help from Victoria’s Promise. I am running 2 VP only classes per week at the Yoga Studio Hartley Witney, Monday at 8pm and Wednesday at 1pm.