Category: Brain Injury; Cross-Cutting
Objective : To evaluate the benefits of a yoga intervention in a pilot sample of adults with chronic brain injury and functional mobility impairments.
Design : This was a pilot non-randomized crossover trial. Participants served as their own controls and data were collected 3 times: 1) Baseline, 2) Pre-Yoga (after an 8-week no-contact period, 3) Post-Yoga (after the 8-week yoga intervention).
Data collection and the 8-week yoga intervention were conducted at a university-based research laboratory.
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) :
A volunteer sample of 9 participants with chronic (i.e. ≥ 6 months post-injury) brain injury was recruited from the local community, and 7 (4 female) of 9 participants completed all 3 time-points. No participants withdrew due to adverse effects from yoga.
Interventions : Intervention was 8-weeks of group yoga. Yoga sessions lasted 1 hour and occurred twice a week; sessions were led by a yoga instructor who is also an occupational therapist.
Main Outcome Measure(s) : Given yoga’s emphasis on balance and functional movements, primary outcome measures included: balance, balance confidence, lower extremity strength, and mobility. Secondary outcome measures included: emotional regulation, pain, and occupational performance and satisfaction.
Results : As expected, there were no significant differences in any outcome measure between Baseline and Pre-Yoga, all p values >. 05. Significant differences were observed between Baseline and Post-Yoga in balance, p = .01, lower extremity strength, p = .04, and mobility, p = .04. No significant differences were observed in balance confidence or any secondary outcome measure, all p values >. 05.
Yoga improved functional mobility in a pilot cohort of adults with chronic brain injury. Replication studies with larger sample sizes should continue to examine the benefit of yoga in post-acute settings.