Yoga for Cancer Patients Teacher Training I, II, III: The Art & Science of Teaching Yoga to Cancer Patients and Survivors

Yoga for Cancer Patients Teacher Training I, II, III : The Art & Science of Teaching Yoga to Cancer Patients

The Art & Science of Teaching Yoga to Cancer Patients and Survivors
by Jean Di Carlo-Wagner, M.A.,
survivor, advocate,
E-RYT200, E-RYT500, Certified Yoga Therapist,
Ericksonian Certified Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, Yoga Alliance 200hour School, YACEP provider

Yoga teachers who are drawn to work with cancer patients, and those in long-term treatment, are very special yoga teachers, indeed! Teaching yoga for cancer patients requires specialized skills. It requires an in depth yoga instruction and ongoing learning in the areas of: 1) research on cancer &  yoga,  2) advanced understanding of  anatomy, 3) physiology, 4)  psychology, and  5)yogic principles and philosophy. In order to support survivors, you need to be guided in developing skills in all these areas. This is the science of teaching yoga to cancer survivors.   The art of taking information and putting it into skillful use is the goal of this training.

The online course, The Art  & Science of Teaching Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors teacher training course has three sections.

 Part I:  The Introduction: The Cancer Dilemma
   Part II: Diving Into Solutions: Gaining Knowledge with Practical Application  
    Part III: Putting It Altogether.  

Course Options

Each section builds on the next section.  All three sections have ongoing enrollment and are supported by me with email, phone calls and chat group forums. I respond to every homework assignment.

Part I: “The Cancer Dilemma“. It is an intensive introduction and overview, it is emotionally evocative and challenging. Anyone may take this section who wants to learn how yoga can benefit cancer survivors.  Only approved yoga teachers may take the last two sections, after completing Part I successfully.  When you completes the first section, we will have a conversation about your reflections and do a Post Test.   The first is a 30 hour/CEU’s from Yoga Alliance . You will find the course on the YA site and can rate the course.

 Part II: “Diving Into Solutions”  It is an  in depth review of researched-based literature, breathing anatomy and safe teaching practices, resources for dealing with death and dying, yogic philosophy, anatomy and physiology, and learning how to take the theoretical into the practical. You will gain more skills in using the 3 Part Teaching Construct I designed to make safe and effective classes. You will learn to use research paired with yogic philosophy to make your classes empowering for your students and for you! You will make a breathing section and a meditation section using my templates and put them up on Youtube to create FREE content for survivors.The second section is a 35 hour/CEU’s from Yoga Alliance.

Part III.  .It is called “Putting It Altogether”. The focus of this section is making a safe ‘asana’ section, the middle section of the 3 Part Yoga Class. The ultimate goal is that you have the skills and confidence to create a private program for a survivor or for a group class. Your final class project is a 15-20 minute audio class which is meant to be uploaded on a social media site, like YouTube, and shared. You will learn to create totally safe classes, based on both research and yogic philosophy. You will build on Part I and Part II with deeper background knowledge of cancer, its treatments, meditation and breathing practices. You will receive a Certificate in the mail, signed by me, for CEU’s from Yoga Alliance. The third section is a 35 hour/ CEU’s from Yoga Alliance

*****Each student has 3 months from the enrollment date to complete the section they are in. I limit my total student population to 10. It’s important you stick to the time guidelines, to allow others to enter the program, as you finish.

Successful completion of PART I  is necessary to move onto other parts. You may enroll for the entire program, after a conference call with me. Write to me at

The material is graphic, emotionally evocative,  and is meant to elicit strong reactions.  If you aren’t sure you have what it takes to teach survivors, this introduction will make it clearer for you to decide. Not everyone is able to deal with cancer and its side effects, including death.

Introduction, Part I:  The Cancer Dilemma ( 30 hours CEU’s/Yoga Alliance). On-going enrollment.  Start anytime. You do not need pre-approval for PART I. You may get approval for the whole course, based on experience, by writing to me.

A thorough introduction to the emotional impact of cancer and its side effects, including a powerful emotional experience and high impact activities to create an empathy for cancer survivors through direct experience.  Using national cancer resources and research articles, you will  learn how to use information within your class design to shape safe and effective classes . Your information during class will empower your students with knowledge of how to assist their bodies in healing.

My 3 Part YCS  Class Construct for developing a safe and effective ”yoga for cancer survivors” class is explained in detail. A practical framework for planning a 3 Part YCS class will be taught.  The combination of the 3 Part YCS Construct and the YCS Format will give you the basics for designing a class. You will learn about credible research and sites to continue learning about yoga research. You will start to learn how to take useful information and present it using  non-violent communication techniques. You will have a class experience.Then we will have an hour phone call to go over what you learned in Part I.

Diving Into Solutions Part II:  Gaining knowledge with practical applications for cancer patients (35 hours CEU’s/Yoga Alliance)

Extending your knowledge of yogic breathing which is safe for cancer patients is the heart of  Part II.  You will receive a Breathing Template on how to create a safe breathing section for your cancer survivor class. You will record a 10 minute breathing section. We will cover the anatomy and physiology of breathing as you have never been taught before in a yoga training. Developing a body of  researched based  yoga benefits for cancer patients to use in your lesson is taught. You will  learn about death and dying,  yogic philosophy, non-violent communication, and a meditation toolbox .  Looking at yoga as a healing tool, we will use the YCS Class Construct  and class outline to develop thematic lessons.  Direct experiential learning will aid students in thinking through how the physical effects of treatments  and how they may impact an individual. Advanced discussions of the anatomy of breathing, postures and meditation techniques will be shared. Teachers will experience a full hour class and have time to deconstruct the class and its deeper underpinnings.  You will also make a meditation section for cancer survivors using a Meditation Template . Your class work will be approved, and then you will put it on Youtube.

Putting it Altogether, Part III:  Designing a YCS class   (35 hours CEU’s/Yoga Alliance)  $250.00  Following the YCS Class Construct  students will develop an asana section (either audio or visual  YCS  class).  You will be given examples and shown postures to follow and instructed in how to use reference tools and books, articles and research based teaching techniques.  Each part of the class and its construction will be analyzed using yogic principles and precepts. Students will complete  a class and have a chance to practice with supportive feedback.  The final project will be the develop of a class for a specific person or for a small group class and make a YouTube audio or video of the class.  Section II completion helps you make the total class with ease. The final project is one hour long.  The resources and references in this section are meant to allow you to continue learning and growing. I have put my favorite books, lectures, online resources and articles together in a resource library that is worth the cost of the course itself.


Objectives Skills Part I:  An  Intensive Introduction:  The Cancer Dilemma


Objective Skills Part II:   Practical Application: Diving Into Solutions



Objective Skills Part III :  Putting It All Together :  Designing a YCS Class


Background Knowledge for Yoga Teachers

Teachers and  Interested Students:  The Part I  is opened to interested participants outside of yoga  (i.e., partners, parents, siblings, caregivers, cancer researchers , medical personal, personal trainers ).

Teachers who have completed 200 hour training, and have been teaching three years, or have completed their E-RYT training, or are in the process of getting their 500 hour training may take the complete training. Students who are in the process of a 200 hour training may take the class with permission from the instructor. If you live outside of the United States, you may take the training after a discussion with me of your yoga background.


To receive a certificate in training Yoga for Cancer Survivors, students must provide your  identification number from Yoga Alliance (approved certification). At the successful completion the 3 Sections of the course,  students will receive a printed certificate in the mail and 100 hour CEU’s from Yoga Alliance.  Other participants will receive certificate of completion by email only.



Common Questions:

Write to the instructor

Anyone may start Part I:  The Dilemma, not just yoga instructors, though a yoga background does help.

This is a one person business,  just me, and I keep it simple.  One of my graduates, Caitlin Parsons, assists me in training Part I.

I am a Certified Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (2016)

*****Ability to use a computer, make videos, post videos, and navigate links and work independently are critical to success





Yoga for Cancer Patients Teacher Training

About Jean:  Before cancer, I was a student of yoga practices for twenty years.  I loved more physical forms of yoga asana in my twenties, and developed a taste for all types of yoga into my forties.  I was a Resource Specialist for San Diego City Schools and have a master’s degree in education. My work spanned all grades and subjects, as my responsibility was to find children who needed special services, evaluate them and design programs to benefit the student’s needs. This experience directly relates to my work with cancer patients and my passion for finding a way to make yoga accessible for even the most fragile student.

At age 46, I was diagnosed with late stage colon cancer and retired early from 25 years as aspecial education teaching career. After six months of weekly chemotherapy, I had a 50/50% chance of living five years. What would I do with my life? Short or long, what did I want to do? I had a deep faith and used meditation and relaxation, but my body and the future felt uncertain and fragile. I used the beginning of yoga tape at home. You know, the first few minutes where you breathe and set an intention, and stretch a little.  And slowly, I developed more strength. I longed to share what I learned about gently returning to a ‘new normal’ with other survivors. I wanted to share that they could find healing in yoga; and that’s what I do everyday, now.

Yoga became a calling. I started the first community YCS yoga class, opened to all cancer patients, at Hazard Center YMCA in 2006; and then started another class at Ginseng Yoga Studio, where I continue to teach. I told my story in Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist.  I’ve traveled around the country teaching yoga at Liver Cancer Symposium where doctors and nurses learn state-of-the-art cancer treatments. And  I have taught and talked about yoga at these conferences. I am a yoga activist in many online communities for survivors. Cure Magazine, Women and Cancer and the Colon Cancer Coalition have interviewed me on yoga and survivorship.  In 2007, I produced a Yoga for Cancer Survivors cd and donated  3,800 to non-profits, hospitals, clinics and individuals. The cd is now a FREE downloadable and the Spanish version, and one in Slovene by Lidija (one of my amazing students who is multi-lingual!)  work on Slovene! There is also 3 hours of meditations made for survivors for free on under Yoga Being. Like my page, “Yoga Being”, on Facebook and get daily yoga tips for cancer survivors!

I continue to work one-to-one with patients, family members and friends who have cancer. I am online, as a yoga resource, at COLONTOWN on Facebook,, as well serving several non-profits as a support person.  I also have a monthly “Yoga Phone Class” for homebound patients. To reach survivors, we have to think outside of the regular formats and create new venues for yoga. I’m so glad to have you join me reaching out to 12.6 million cancer survivors, and even more around the world.

Survivors come to us, as all students,  for hope of a better life.  We can empower their ” healers within ” and bring hope through yoga.


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