Emerging benefits of yoga for traumatic brain injury (TBI) suggest that broader accessibility to community-based yoga programming is important. This cross-sectional, mixed methods study sought to identify best practices for adapting and delivering community-based yoga to people with TBI. An online survey was sent to 175 yoga teachers trained to teach LoveYourBrain Yoga, a community-based, 6-week, manualized program for people with TBI and their caregivers. The survey instrument included open- and closedtext questions assessing teachers’ perspectives on the most and least helpful adaptions for asana, meditation, pranayama, and group discussion, and on the LoveYourBrain Yoga training and support. Responses we re analyzed using descriptive statistics and qualitative content analysis. Eighty-six teachers (50%) responded. Best practices for adapting yoga for TBI revealed six themes: (1) simple, slow, and repeated; (2) creating a safe space; (3) position of the head and neck; (4) demonstration; (5) importance of props; and (6) special considerations for yoga studios. Three themes emerged for yoga program delivery: (1) structured yet flexible; (2) acceptability of compensation; and (3) time management. Eighty-nine percent of teachers reported that the program manual was very/extremely helpful, yet nearly half (49%) adapted the manual content often/always. To deliver community-based yoga services for TBI, we recommend an environment with props, low light and noise, and sufficient space, along with the facilitation of consistent instruction with a manual that allows for flexibility. We recommend that yoga teachers have skills in physical modifications for the head and neck; slow, simple, and repeated cueing to facilitate cognitive processing; managing challenging behaviors through redirection techniques; and promoting safety through inclusivity, compassion, and personal agency.
About The Expert
Kyla Z Donnelly