A yoga classroom with yoga mats on the floor.

UK Integrative Medicine & Health offers yoga to reduce stress and pain

Integrative Medicine and Health, Karen DiGirolamo, yoga

Yoga effectively blends together gentle movements, deep breathing and relaxation techniques to reduce stress, pain and fatigue and promote positive physical, mental and emotional well-being.

The UK Integrative Medicine & Health program hosts the Yoga for Cancer and Chronic Illness class weekly for outpatients, survivors and caregivers. A separate class is available for UK HealthCare employees.

Karen DiGirolamo, the mind-body movement coordinator for UK HealthCare and a registered yoga instructor, oversees the yoga program and teaches the Yoga for Cancer and Chronic Illness class. She has advanced training through the YCat: Yoga Therapy in Cancer and Chronic Illness program, a professional certification program that teaches health professionals and experienced yoga teachers to work safely with people with cancer or stable chronic illness.

She teaches gentle movement, breathing and deep relaxation techniques to reduce stress, pain and fatigue.

“We focus on attaching awareness, breath and movement together in our class,” said DiGirolamo. “When we move with the breath and the awareness, it’s a powerful tool for change. People always feel better leaving class than when they came in.”

For DiGirolamo, yoga is not about who can do the most challenging pose.

“I don’t care about big poses,” DiGirolamo said. “I care about making yoga accessible.”

For students in her class who may be undergoing treatment, subtle, focused movements can have a big impact.

“Yoga works with all aspects of a human being,” DiGirolamo said. “It’s not just a physical exercise. It’s good for quieting the mind, calming the nervous system, soothing the spirit. It works with the entire individual and can teach us how to live a better, balanced life.”

The Yoga for Cancer and Chronic Illness class costs $10 and is held Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on the third floor of the Whitney-Hendrickson Building. Beginners are welcome, and equipment is provided.


Follow along with DiGirolamo as she demonstrates a gentle yoga flow sequence that stretches the low back and hips. 

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