Research on Yoga as Therapy:
6 South In-Patient Psychiatric Pilot Yoga Program Evaluation:
What was your experience in yoga today?
This model program was designed for in-patient psychiatric patients at the George Washington University Hospital from August-December 2014. The program was designed by a 4th year student and therapeutic yoga instructor from the medical school. The initial purpose, was to bring therapeutic yoga and meditation into clinical settings as part of medical student training. The primary goals were to provide patients with (1) on-site services and (2) self-care skills they could use during hospital treatment and by themselves when discharged. Classes would be focused on one’s ability to (1) make constructive choices regarding personal comfort and safety; (2) practice compassion towards one’s self and others; (3) bring the mindful practice of compassion and loving-kindness into physical and meditative exercises to restore a sense of well-being and worthiness; (4) develop a relationship with breathing to create a relaxed body and mind.
Patients were offered 22 sessions of community oriented group therapeutics in physical yoga practice, breathing exercises, meditation and guided imagery. A range of 2-8 individuals attended sessions conducted in the Occupational Therapy or Community Room; most remained for the entire 60 minutes. Attendance varied according to visiting hours, televised sporting events and related episodes in other group processes over the course of the day. Some individuals were accompanied by “sitters” or foreign language interpreters.
Of the 36 responses, there was an extraordinarily positive acceptance of the practices, with nearly 100% agreement that in each session patients were able to experience some sense of comfort, safety, calmness and relaxation. Among the written comments, patients expressed a desire to continue practices when they left the hospital setting, surprise in their ability to deeply relax, appreciation for the experience.
“Where can I find classes like this when I leave?” was a common question at the end of sessions. Written comments:
calming & comforting 3
“I enjoyed this experience” 4
“brought me inner peace” 1
stress relieving 1
“would like to learn more” 1
acknowledged appreciation for the instructor 11
would love to try more 3
found this helpful 1
experienced physical & mental improvement (balance and sciatica) 2
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