Adapting Yoga for People Living with Cancer

This 90 hour specialist training offers an in-depth, heart led therapeutic training for those who wish to work with people living with cancer. We will explore how yoga can positively impact the physical effects of cancer and its treatment, and also how to address the energetic, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of a cancer diagnosis.

Yoga for Cancer

Course Description

Led by Yoga for Cancer specialist Jude Mills, this blended learning course will assist qualified yoga teachers and other suitably qualified professionals, in developing the skills, knowledge and qualities safely to offer yoga, meditation, relaxation and yoga nidra to people living with cancer. The content is also relevant to working with people with other long-term or life-limiting health conditions.

Course Structure

The course features a blended learning approach, with live online video sessions, online materials and reading, study groups, tutorials and peer support.

There will be eight Saturday sessions live online between February and March 2021, accompanied by high quality online content that will be released each Sunday for you to study before the following live session.

Each live Saturday classroom session will be led through Zoom from 10.00 until 16.00 (UK time) with a break for lunch and plenty of time to reflect, absorb and avoid Zoom fatigue. A lot of the factual and knowledge based content will be available on our Learning Management System for study outside the live sessions, to create plenty of time for experiential learning of how to adapt yoga, meditation and yoga nidra practices both for teaching others and also for self-care.


Sunday 31 January 2021 – online materials released. Pre-reading for the first session.

Saturday 6 February 2021 LIVE SESSION

  • introduction to the course, tutors and content
  • group agreements and ethics
  • philosophical overview – Yoga Sutras
  • engaging with compassionate presence
  • practising boundaries and self-care
  • practices: compassion meditation, breathing techniques, asana sequence for grounding and safety.

Sunday 7 February 2021 – online materials released.

Saturday 13 February 2021 LIVE SESSION

  • introduction to cancer biology
  • overview of the causes and risk factors for cancer
  • overview of the four most common cancers
  • practices: calming/balancing breathing techniques, meditation, asana practice for gently mobilising the spine and pelvis.

Sunday 14 February 2021 – online materials released.

Saturday 20 February 2021 LIVE SESSION

  • biology of stress
  • psychosocial impact of a cancer diagnosis
  • cancer treatments and side effects
  • practices: chair yoga, visualisation techniques, self-massage.

Sunday 21 February 2021 – online materials released.

Saturday 27 February 2021 LIVE SESSION

  • contraindications and cautions
  • considerations for adapting and modifying practices
  • the benefits of yoga for cancer
  • practices: pawanmuktasana, pranayama.

Sunday 28 February 2021 – online materials released.

Saturday 06 March 2021 LIVE SESSION

  • science, yoga and cancer - evidence based practice
  • cancer myths
  • ethics: scope of practice
  • practice - yoga nidra.

Sunday 07 March 2021 – online materials and assignment one released for review over holidays.

Saturday 13 March 2021 2021 LIVE SESSION

  • review of assignment and key learning points
  • ethics: consent
  • side effects – specific adaptations and therapeutic interventions
  • practice: mantra and mudra
  • introduction of practical assessment requirements.

Sunday 14 March 2021 – online materials released

Saturday 20 March 2021 - LIVE SESSION

  • medical histories, record keeping
  • ethics: confidentiality, referrals, signposting
  • working one to one
  • liaising with NHS and other agencies and key stakeholders
  • teaching practice.

Sunday 21 March 2021 - online materials released

Saturday 27 March 2021 LIVE SESSION

  • practical assessments
  • introduction to case study assignment
  • Q&A.

Group work and pairs work in breakout rooms: We will make ample use of the breakout facility on Zoom to work in pairs or in groups of 3-4 to reflect on course content, and to work on case studies and teaching practice.

Self-directed online learning: Each week, new online material will be released on the Yogacampus online platform, for you to study, read or research for the following Saturday’s session. The online content will feature video teaching sessions and lectures, written and downloadable content, and links to external resources for you to carry out research.

Peer study groups: You will be working with a study group for your teaching practice. This will require you to meet online with your study group at a time to suit you all, for a minimum of 8 hours (4 two hour sessions), over the duration of the course. You can meet on an appropriate online group meeting platform, e.g. Zoom, Facebook, Google or Skype. A tutor will arrange to join you on one of your sessions.

Tutorials.: You are required to have a one to one tutorial in December or January with a member of the teaching team. The tutor will arrange this with you.

The 90 hours are made up of 50 contact hours, including live sessions, study groups and tutorials, and 40 self–directed learning hours, including online study, reading, work on assignments and case studies.

Course Assessments

Teaching case study. In order to become a fully certified Yoga for Cancer teacher, you will need to write up a practical case study in which you have established a class, group or one to one session for people/a person living with cancer or their carers. The project will need to be submitted within 2 months of finishing the course. You should also provide a written reflection on how the course has impacted your teaching and personal practice, addressing key themes.

In addition, there will be two key assessments to submit and work towards:

  • a bullet point research paper on breast cancer – to include causes, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment options; and
  • an individual lesson plan for someone living with breast cancer (case study will be supplied) with reference to the medical and yogic views of cancer, to be submitted before the session on 9 January 2021.

You will also be part of a small study group in which you will be required to prepare a group lesson plan to be used for the final practical assessment on the final day of the course. In between sessions, you will need to set up your group calls to work on the overall lesson plan.

What Will I Learn?

We will explore:

  • creating an environment of safety and compassionate presence
  • ethics and boundaries.
  • understanding cancer – biology, treatments and side effects.
  • the benefits of yoga for cancer - including relevant science.
  • adapting the key practices of yoga for people living with cancer
  • running classes and one to one sessions and liaising with other agencies.

Who is the Course for?

If you are a yoga teacher, yoga therapist, healthcare professional working with life-limiting and advanced illness, a mental health, social or spiritual care provider, or a complementary therapist with a strong grounding in yoga who is eager to go into your local community to offer yoga in clinics, hospitals, cancer centres, studios and hospices, then this training is for you. This is your opportunity to serve your community in a very deep and rewarding way.


This course will not be recorded and participation in all live sessions is essential for certification


On completion of all the assignments and the case study, you will receive a certificate accredited by Yoga Alliance Professionals, qualifying you to teach yoga for cancer.

Should you decide not to complete the assessed work, you will be entitled to receive a certificate of attendance from Yogacampus, so long as you have attended 100% of the course. Full certification is dependent on completing the case study.

Meet the Teachers

The core tutor for this course is Jude Mills, who is a senior yoga teacher, healthcare chaplain, and ordained interfaith minister, with many years’ experience working in the field of cancer and pastoral care in the NHS and for cancer charities. She has specialised in teaching yoga teachers to work with people living with cancer since 2011. Her book on adapting yoga for people living with cancer will be published by Singing Dragon in early 2021. She will be joined by anatomy and biology tutor Richard Harding BSc and cancer nurse specialist Sue Skelton, who are both also experienced yoga teachers.

Jude Mills Yoga