Offering yoga to children living with cancer is an exciting opportunity for registered nurses to learn about and to practice. Yoga can be helpful to children, and their families, as they receive treatment for cancers. The purpose of this descriptive, correlational study
was to learn if exposure to a yoga class could decrease anxiety in children and their families. The children and adolescents were in-patients on a pediatric oncology unit. In this study, 11 children (6-12 years of age), and 5 adolescents (13-18 years of age) and their parents were invited to participate in the one-time yoga class. Anxiety was measured with the Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) before and after the yoga class. The yoga class was 45 minutes in length and included a seated mediation, warm-up and centering poses, standing poses, balance poses, cooldown/spinal twists and final resting pose. Both active and restorative poses were included. Modifications to the poses were encouraged.
The results showed that adolescents and parents both reported decreased anxiety and improved sense of well-being after the yoga class. No change in anxiety was found in the children. Comments by the parent participants included feelings of stress relief, being calm and centered, realizing the yoga practice was easy and better than expected, and that the class enhanced their bonding with their child.
Offering yoga classes to hospitalized children, adolescents and their parents may be an invaluable nursing intervention to promote physical and psychosocial health. Numerous yoga certification programs offer training in teaching yoga to children; visit www.yogaalliance.com
to learn more.
Thygeson MV, Hooke MC, Clapsaddle J, Robbins A, Moquist K. Peaceful play yoga: Serenity and balance for children with cancer and their parents. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. 2010;27(5):276-284.