The Gentle Yoga Support Group was started in February 2007 by the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic’s Department of Radiation Therapy under the sponsorship of Dr. Geraldine Jacobson and Dr. George Weiner. The group was formed initially as part of a grant to support a research study focused on determining if adjunct therapies like yoga might benefit the overall well-being of women who are completing treatment for breast cancer. Those who were long-term survivors could not be part of the study, but were allowed to participate in the classes. At the conclusion of the study, the Radiation Therapy Department thought there was sufficient treatment gain to justify maintaining the program.
In April 2011, the Holden Cancer Center, with assistance from Dr. Karwal and Social Worker Cynthia West, facilitated funding to support the instructor and facility costs for yoga participation, expanding this benefit to all cancer survivors. Those who have been participating in the yoga practice see it as a way to connect with other survivors in a positive and supportive manner. (Read testimonials from yoga group members here.)