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Background: While there is a growing interest in the therapeutic benefits of yoga, minority populations with arthritis tend to be under-represented in the research. Additionally, there is an absence of guidance in the literature regarding the use of multicultural teams and sociocultural health beliefs, when designing yoga studies for a racially diverse population with arthritis. This pilot study examined the feasibility of offering yoga as a self-care modality to an urban, bilingual, minority population with osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in the Washington, DC area. Methods: The primary objective of the study was to assess the feasibility of offering an 8-week, bilingual yoga intervention adapted for arthritis to a convenience sample of primarily Hispanic and Black/African-American adults. A racially diverse interdisciplinary research team was assembled to design a study to facilitate recruitment and retention. The second objective identified outcome measures to operationalize potential facilitators and barriers to self-care and self-efficacy. The third objective determined the feasibility of using computer-assisted self-interview (CASI) for data collection. Results: Enrolled participants (n = 30) were mostly female (93%), Spanish speaking (69%), and diagnosed with RA (88.5%). Feasibility was evaluated using practicality, acceptability, adaptation, and expansion of an arthritis-adapted yoga intervention, modified for this population. Recruitment (51%) and participation (60%) rates were similar to previous research and clinical experience with the study population. Of those enrolled, 18 started the intervention. For adherence, 12 out of 18 (67%) participants completed the intervention. All (100%), who completed the intervention, continued to practice yoga 3 months after completing the study. Using nonparametric tests, selected outcome measures showed a measurable change post-intervention suggesting appropriate use in future studies. An in-person computerized questionnaire was determined to be a feasible method of data collection. Conclusions: Findings from this pilot study confirm the feasibility of offering yoga to this racially/ethnically diverse population with arthritis. This article provides recruitment/retention rates, outcome measures with error rates, and data collection recommendations for a previously under-represented population. Suggestions include allocating resources for translation and using a multicultural design to facilitate recruitment and retention. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01617421.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the personal, professional, practice, service and consumer characteristics of the North American yoga therapy workforce. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, descriptive survey developed and informed by the contemporary workforce literature. A link to the e-survey was distributed to members of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. RESULTS: 367 members responded ( approximately 20% of eligible participants). Most were aged 40-69 years (88%) and female (91%). Almost half (42%) identified as a "seasoned yoga therapist" and few (9%) graduated from an accredited 800-h yoga therapy program. An average of 8h/week was spent in clinical practice with many (41%) earning an annual income of <US$10,000 from yoga therapy. Practice was informed by twenty different styles of yoga. Urban (39%) and suburban (38.1%) regions were the most common locations of practice. Most therapists conducted therapeutic yoga classes (91%) and 1:1 sessions (94%), with more than half delivering 1-10 therapeutic classes/month (53%) and 1-10 1:1 sessions/month (52%). Conditions seen most frequently were anxiety (77%), back/neck pain (77%) and joint pain/stiffness (67%). CONCLUSION: While yoga therapists shared demographic characteristics with other complementary and integrative health (CIH) providers, they tended to work less and earn less than their CIH counterparts. Yoga therapists were less likely to work in rural settings, possibly contributing to the underutilization of yoga in underserved populations. Improving access to yoga therapy services, identifying common core components across the various styles of yoga, and building a stronger evidence-base for key health indications may increase acceptance of, and demand for, yoga therapy.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the acceptability of yoga research tailored to recruit and retain a minority population (both English and Spanish speaking) with arthritis. Yoga research for arthritis often underrepresents minorities and acceptability for this population has not previously been investigated. DESIGN: Acceptability was evaluated using retention, adherence, journals, and semi-structured exit interviews from twelve participants with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis undergoing an 8-week yoga intervention. Journal quotes were analyzed using content analysis techniques. NVivo software was used to organize transcripts and assemble themes. Two methods of triangulation (data and investigator) were used to overcome potential bias from a single-perspective interpretation. Exit interview comments were content analyzed using a card sort method. The study was designed with a cultural infrastructure including a multicultural research team, translators, and bilingual materials and classes, to facilitate trust and acceptability for primarily Hispanic and Black/African-American adults. SETTING: Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, USA. RESULTS: On average participants attended 10 of 16 classes, with home practice 2-3days a week. All who completed were still practicing yoga three-months later. Qualitative narrative analysis identified major themes related to facilitating factors and barriers for yoga practice, self-efficacy, and support. Participant comments indicated that offering an arthritis-based yoga intervention and using a culturally congruent research design was found to be acceptable. CONCLUSIONS: As yoga research grows, there is a need to understand and promote acceptability for typically under-represented populations. This study attempts to inform the expansion of multicultural research designed to recruit and retain those from diverse backgrounds.
INTRODUCTION: Little is known about the adoption of evidence-based practice (EBP) by yoga therapists (YTs). OBJECTIVE: To determine the attitudes, skills, training, use, barriers and facilitators to the use of EBP amongst North American YTs DESIGN: Cross-sectional, descriptive survey METHODS: Self-identified YTs practicing in North America were invited to participate in an online survey. YT attitudes, skills, training, utilisation, barriers to use, and facilitators of EBP use were measured using the 84-item Evidence-Based practice Attitude and utilization SurvEy (EBASE). RESULTS: 367 members responded ( approximately 20% of eligible participants). Attitudes towards EBP were generally positive with 88% agreeing that professional literature and research findings were useful for the practice of yoga therapy. Most (80%) were interested in improving their skills and the majority agreed that EBP improves the quality of care (68%), assists in making decisions (74%) and takes into account the YTs clinical experience when making clinical decisions (59%). Moderate to moderately-high levels of perceived skill in EBP were reported mostly utilizing online search engines (51%). Lack of clinical evidence was the only notable barrier to uptake reported by YTs (48%). Facilitators to EBP included access to online EBP education materials (70.6%), ability to download full-text journal articles and access to free online databases in the workplace (67.3%). CONCLUSION: North American YTs report positive attitudes, moderate to moderately-high levels of perceived skill and moderate uptake of EBP. This aligns them with other complementary and integrative health practitioners. Initiatives to support the adoption of EBP are proposed as a means of improving best practice in yoga therapy.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of Integral-based hatha yoga in sedentary people with arthritis. METHODS: There were 75 sedentary adults aged 18+ years with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or knee osteoarthritis randomly assigned to 8 weeks of yoga (two 60-min classes and 1 home practice/wk) or waitlist. Poses were modified for individual needs. The primary endpoint was physical health [Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) physical component summary (PCS)] adjusted for baseline; exploratory adjusted outcomes included fitness, mood, stress, self-efficacy, SF-36 health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and RA disease activity. In everyone completing yoga, we explored longterm effects at 9 months. RESULTS: Participants were mostly female (96%), white (55%), and college-educated (51%), with a mean (SD) age of 52 years (12 yrs). Average disease duration was 9 years and 49% had RA. At 8 weeks, yoga was associated with significantly higher PCS (6.5, 95% CI 2.0-10.7), walking capacity (125 m, 95% CI 15-235), positive affect (5.2, 95% CI 1.4-8.9), and lower Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (-3.0, 95% CI -4.8 - -1.3). Significant improvements (p < 0.05) were evident in SF-36 role physical, pain, general health, vitality, and mental health scales. Balance, grip strength, and flexibility were similar between groups. Twenty-two out of 28 in the waitlist group completed yoga. Among all yoga participants, significant (p < 0.05) improvements were observed in mean PCS, flexibility, 6-min walk, and all psychological and most HRQOL domains at 8 weeks with most still evident 9 months later. Of 7 adverse events, none were associated with yoga. CONCLUSION: Preliminary evidence suggests yoga may help sedentary individuals with arthritis safely increase physical activity, and improve physical and psychological health and HRQOL. Clinical Trials NCT00349869.
Yoga therapy is a newly emerging, self-regulating complementary and integrative healthcare (CIH) practice. It is growing in its professionalization, recognition and utilization with a demonstrated commitment to setting practice standards, educational and accreditation standards, and promoting research to support its efficacy for various populations and conditions. However, heterogeneity of practice, poor reporting standards, and lack of a broadly accepted understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in yoga therapy limits the structuring of testable hypotheses and clinical applications. Current proposed frameworks of yoga-based practices focus on the integration of bottom-up neurophysiological and top-down neurocognitive mechanisms. In addition, it has been proposed that phenomenology and first person ethical inquiry can provide a lens through which yoga therapy is viewed as a process that contributes towards eudaimonic well-being in the experience of pain, illness or disability. In this article we build on these frameworks, and propose a model of yoga therapy that converges with Polyvagal Theory (PVT). PVT links the evolution of the autonomic nervous system to the emergence of prosocial behaviors and posits that the neural platforms supporting social behavior are involved in maintaining health, growth and restoration. This explanatory model which connects neurophysiological patterns of autonomic regulation and expression of emotional and social behavior, is increasingly utilized as a framework for understanding human behavior, stress and illness. Specifically, we describe how PVT can be conceptualized as a neurophysiological counterpart to the yogic concept of the gunas, or qualities of nature. Similar to the neural platforms described in PVT, the gunas provide the foundation from which behavioral, emotional and physical attributes emerge. We describe how these two different yet analogous frameworks-one based in neurophysiology and the other in an ancient wisdom tradition-highlight yoga therapy's promotion of physical, mental and social wellbeing for self-regulation and resilience. This parallel between the neural platforms of PVT and the gunas of yoga is instrumental in creating a translational framework for yoga therapy to align with its philosophical foundations. Consequently, yoga therapy can operate as a distinct practice rather than fitting into an outside model for its utilization in research and clinical contexts.