Curriculum & Upcoming Trainings

Students learn to adapt traditional Yoga practices to meet the physiological and psychological needs of that population and to communicate effectively as professionals at medical and community sites. For each level of training completed, participants receive certificates of attendance. Only at the completion of all three levels of training is a certificate in this specialty, Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness (YCat), awarded.

YCat Level 1

Level 1 provides a research-based, conceptual framework for adapting Yoga practices to the varied and specific needs of people at any level with cancer and stable chronic illness. The Level 1 curriculum includes:

  • Learning about cancer by studying the pathophysiology of cancer, the different types of cancer, cancer staging and grading, metastases, psychosocial issues, and cancer treatments – e.g., surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and targeted and hormonal therapy – and common side effects – e.g., lymphedema, fatigue, pain, nausea, neuropathy, menopause, osteoporosis, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and grief
  • Reviewing cell biology, body organs and systems for conceptual understanding
  • Discussing other common chronic illnesses with specific adaptation suggestions
  • Exploring adaptations in Yoga postures and movement, breathing practices, relaxation techniques, and imagery for people with cancer and chronic illness
  • Studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as they apply to illness and disease, while simultaneously examining one’s personal relationship with death, dying, and end-of-life issues
  • Reviewing and analyzing related research
  • Developing a professional voice and communications skills for working with medical personnel
  • Developing skills in a) researching and preparing professional presentations and b) giving and receiving evaluation and feedback.

YCat Level 2

Level 2 is a two year internship of extended supervision and mentoring by YCat faculty and staff over the phone and on the internet. The intern-teachers apply the principles learned in Level 1 with cancer patients in both individual and group settings. They conduct course classes, drop-in classes, and private Yoga therapy sessions for people in active cancer treatment and may also choose to work with people at the end of life. The intern-teachers interview, assess, plan, perform, document, evaluate, and report while remaining in contact with faculty and staff by phone and e-mail. While YCat teachers are seeing clients they are expected to maintain weekly contact with faculty by phone and e-mail. While intern teachers are working to establish classes they need to maintain monthly contact with faculty. These are the YCat Level 2 internship completion requirements:

  • Maintain monthly contact with mentor
  • Teach a minimum of two-eight week course classes to cancer patients in active treatment
  • Follow private clients in active treatment or at the end of life for 2-3 months for a minimum of four to six sessions
  • Submit timely curricula, case plans, student profiles, progress reports
  • Submit a presentation CD/DVD teaching the primary content of a YCat adaptive Yoga class with rationales for each aspect of the curriculum explained
  • Ensure that intern and faculty agree on readiness for completion. A highly motivated Level 2 intern may complete all assignments in six months or less. Most active interns, however, choose to take two or more years to complete this level.

YCat Level 3

Level 3 is a five-day residential symposium at which intern teachers expand their knowledge, share with peers who are also engaged in this work and conduct a residential retreat for people in cancer treatment. Level 3 teachers design and teach group and private Yoga sessions using the YCat curriculum. The close intimacy of sharing meals and the program with retreat participants provides the teachers a deeper way of working and can bring healing to self and other for all who attend the Level 3 Training and Retreat. To attend Level 3 an intern teacher must be enrolled in the Level 2 internship and have completed Level 1 program with a certificate of attendance. In addition the intern teacher must have past or current experience teaching Yoga to people with cancer.


Certified Yoga teachers (with 200-hour certification) of all traditions with a minimum of six months teaching experience qualify.

Licensed health professionals (possessing M.D., R.N., P.T., O.T., M.S.W., or comparable degrees) are allowed to attend without the above prerequisites and will be provided certificates of attendance.


Students will receive certification to teach Yoga to people with cancer after completing all three levels of this program. After completing Level 1, students will be ready to pursue their practicum, the YCat Level 2 intership, with people with cancer working independently with a member of the YCat faculty as mentor.

Yoga Alliance Hours

Part 1 – 70 Hours which includes 12 hours of pre-program assignments.  RYT-500