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Psychological and Spiritual Well-Being of Women with Breast Cancer Participating in the Art of Living Program (pp.63-108) $0.00
Authors:  (Arielle Warner, Kathleen Wall, Harjus Birk, Cheryl Koopman, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA)
Abstract:
This study examined the psychological and spiritual well-being of women diagnosed
with breast cancer who participated in the Art of Living Program--a yoga-based stressreduction
program. An 8-day yoga-based stress reduction course that includes yogic
breathing techniques known as Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) was offered to women who
had been diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 5 years. In-depth semi-structured
interviews were conducted with 12 participating women following a 5-week maintenance
period. These interviews were transcribed and coded using thematic analysis to identify
themes and grounded theory was further used to examine relationships among the
themes. The results suggested that the breast cancer experience was associated with
growth and transformation as well as distress and challenges. Among the themes
associated with distress related to the diagnosis and treatment phase were thoughts about
death, shock, anxiety, depression, guilt and blame, sense of isolation, negative body
image and more. Among the themes associated with growth were finding benefits from
the breast cancer experience, developing more positive thinking and gratitude, enhanced
relationships and receiving support, developing coping behaviors and resources such as
spirituality, meditation and faith, learning to let go, slow down, and care for self,
developing greater appreciation for life, and reaching out to the community. Participation
in the Art of Living program was associated with a deepening of psycho-spiritual
experiences that were initiated by having breast cancer. Themes associated with
participating in the SKY program were (1) enhanced well being such as experiences of
peace, love, joy, release and letting go, healing of body image, reduced fear of death and
fear of recurrence, and increased self care; (2) enhanced self-exploration and realization
such as greater appreciation for life, enhanced sense of meaning, purpose and aspiration,
acceptance, greater transcendence of "breast cancer identity," and an increased sense of
empowerment and self esteem, as well as, accepting people and situations relating to precancer
life issues; and (3) enhanced spirituality, self-transcendence, and psycho-spiritual
transformation such as experiences of divine love, internalization and personalization of
spirituality, renewed relationship with God or religious practices, and using the breathing
practices as prayer. These findings suggest the potential of a yoga-based practice such as
SKY to enhance the psycho-spiritual well-being of women who have been diagnosed
with breast cancer, highlighting the need for further controlled studies in this area. 


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Psychological and Spiritual Well-Being of Women with Breast Cancer Participating in the Art of Living Program (pp.63-108)