Yoga for Health

In 2016, certified yoga therapist and cancer survivor, Lee Majewski, C-IAYT, founded the Yoga for Health Institute (YHI), a non-profit offering holistic healthcare for cancer patients, based on traditional Yogic healing techniques. YHI strives to fill the gaps in conventional medical care, which can leave individuals with varying degrees of isolation, fear, and depression, as well as physical side-effects resulting from treatments.

According to Lee, YHI empowers clients by teaching them how to take their mental and physical health into their own hands. At YHI, clients participate in an intensive residential therapy program in an environment conducive to healing, self-study, and community building. The experience-based program includes the Yogic tools of the Yamas and Niyamas, Pranayama, Meditation, Asana, and an Ayurvedic vegetarian diet. The three-week programs fosters sustainable transformation as they work with clients to create a new lifestyle plan going forward.

Lee Majewski, M.A., DYEd, C-IAYTLee Majewski is an IAYT-certified yoga therapist and cancer survivor. She has turned her own cancer diagnosis into an opportunity for other cancer patients to benefit from her experience by creating intensive three-week retreats to support healing after conventional treatment ends.

She is the founder of the non-profit Yoga for Health Institute based in Toronto, Canada.

“We are committed to helping individuals find their own inner intelligence,” says Lee. “We help them learn to reduce stress and suffering without having to change their external environment. Healing requires a complete lifestyle shift, and at YHI we create positive space and sufficient time for clients to observe old patterns, internalize new habits, and develop their own healthy future practices. The duration and intensity of our residential programs is the key to the client’s success in recognizing a change within themselves.”

Lee continues her explanation of the program with this comment: “Yoga therapy is a complementary discipline not yet fully recognized by the medical world nor by the general public. Although it is not a panacea for every condition, it offers an evidence-informed science to fill in the gaps in conventional medical care, such as cancer care.”

After conventional cancer treatments, Lee states, patients often experience mental and physical fatigue, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog), depression, mental confusion and/or loss of short-term memory.

“Such was my case,” says Lee. “At the end of my treatment in 2008, my body was completely exhausted and my mind was shut down. I couldn’t focus enough to read a paragraph in the book. I was severely depressed and I had no awareness of it. I was fatigued, and strangely, had no short-term memory. I was wondering – how am I going to live the rest of my life?  When my oncologist said to me “this is the end of the treatment – we did everything we could for you. Now it is time for you to live your life again!” I looked at him and wondered – WHAT LIFE?”

“My presence at the Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute in India opened an opportunity to fill this gap by creating a comprehensive program based on yoga principles Beyond Cancer – Healing the Whole Being ( in 2013. We have been running these retreats for four years now–with wonderful effects. My mission now is to take these retreats out of India and make them available in other countries (see”

Lee shared a case study of one of her clients, demonstrating how much yoga has to offer to cancer patient:

J., a 35-year-old homemaker from Delhi, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33 and had 32 chemotherapy sessions. She joined the retreat with no experience with yoga or meditation. Her initial test scores for anger, tension, depression, fatigue and confusion were fairly high. She participated in the YHI program diligently, but being shy very rarely shared anything during the classes.

After three weeks, she showed the greatest improvements in all test values in the group. She reported feeling renewed and rejuvenated with new lease on life. After the program ended, I had not heard from her and I knew that she went for another round of chemo and I worried how she was taking it. She already endured so much! After three months went by, I resent our questionnaire. Her results left me speechless.

J’s Results: POMS Profile of Mood States Day 1 Day 20 Day 90
Tension  14 5 3
Depression 27 3 1
Anger 22 4 8
Vigor 23 23 30
Fatigue 13 6 2
Confusion 14 3 3
Total score:  57 -2 -13

Despite doing yet another round of chemo therapy, she managed to improve upon her Day 20 result! I wrote to her to see how she was doing and here is her beautiful response:

Hi Lee,

I am glad that I am showing improved results, despite being on chemo again. I will have my second last chemo on 20th of this month. The retreat has propelled me on path of self-discovery. I understand my body, my feelings, and my needs in a much better way now.  I am more aware of my emotions – lethargy, thirst, anxiousness, anger, jealousy–and best part is that I am accepting my feelings now. In a nutshell, I understand myself now. 

My relationship with my husband has reached a new level. I am able to say things to him I would have never said before. I am often astonished by my own replies…that I can even say these things.  I have let down most of my guard and I feel so much at ease with myself. It has really improved my relationship with him.  I also I enjoy time spent with my son more.

I do meditate regularly. There are days when I can’t even close my eyes because I am scared. There are days when I cry. I started a diary where I write everyday… it has enabled me look at myself and accept all my emotions with love and appreciation.

Lee states, “Her response speaks to effectiveness of yoga in improving the quality of life for someone under extreme emotional, physical and psychological stress.  I feel privileged to have been able to witness this transformation.”

To find out more about the YHI “Beyond Cancer” program, see or download the flyer for the July, 2018 program in Toronto, Canada.