In current years, I have found yoga to be a source of health, inspiration and peace. I began practicing, not to get in better shape, but because my doctor told me meditation might be helpful to my health. Even though I am unable to sit still for longer than a few minutes at a time, the practice of yoga is part physical and part meditative. As a result, it provided me with the perfect grouping of healing and stress relief.

I was therefore not surprised to learn that current studies have found cancer survivors who participated in a regular program of yoga recovered more easily, both physically and emotionally than those who did not.

The American Yoga Association (AYA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing yoga education, explain that yoga practices are based upon exercise, breathing and meditation which help the body heal from physical and emotional stressors.

"Regular every day practice of all three parts of this structure of Yoga produce a clear, bright mind and a strong, capable body," the American Yoga Association stated.

In honor of breast cancer awareness week, I researched a number of studies focusing particularly on breast cancer survivors and yoga. Participants practiced restorative yoga poses on a weekly basis.

Restorative poses are gentle stretches that use blankets and pillows to prop the practitioner comfortably for a few minutes or extra. Other studies combined restorative yoga poses with gentle hatha yoga poses.

Women who participated in the yoga program routinely felt improvement in sleep, fatigue and emotional well being. Those who did not participate in yoga felt no significant improvement.

Local yoga instructor Audrey Brigliadoro would agree that yoga is extremely beneficial for anyone – especially those recovering from cancer.

However, she also stresses that low key classes are important – becoming overheated may not be beneficial, especially if you are still battling cancer, she warned.

"Yoga recharges the healing process," Brigliadoro said. "It removes stress and it just gives people a chance to go in and do inner body healing."

Brigliadoro also believes that Ujjayi breathing, a popular yogic exercise, creates vibration in the body which can help build bone density lost during chemotherapy. Gongs or singing bowls, traditionally struck at the end of a class, can also help build bone density, she said.

There are many programs and classes available for cancer patients and survivors who are interested in improving energy levels, sleep and quality of life. For example, the University of Rochester runs a program called YOCAS, "Yoga for Cancer Survivors."

For those who would rather practice at home, "Library Journal" reviewed two videos: "Gentle Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors," And "Yoga and the Gentle Art of Healing." The review states that both videos are geared specifically to breast cancer survivors.