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Piedmont Yoga Community caters to a wide variety of students, some whom arrive in wheelchairs, using walkers, canes, or crutches as well as those with invisible special needs. Some of their current students are paraplegics, many with esoteric autoimmune diseases, others who have post polio syndrome, cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, osteogenesis imperfecta, scleroderma, hip or knee replacements, cancer, traumatic brain injury, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, and other side effects from diabetes.
No one is ever turned away for lack of funds, and so teachers and assistants are mostly volunteering their time.
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Cheryl Fenner Brown is seen here as a presenter at Kripalu's Symposium on Yoga Research. Cheryl's research project was an 8-week community-based study including 23 cancer patients (86% women, 13% men, mean age=54 years, mean time post-treatment=39 months). The Healing Yoga for Cancer Survivorship (HYCS) intervention included intention setting, chanting, mudra, reclining, seated, kneeling, standing and restorative yoga, pranayama, body scan, and relaxation in a once weekly 90-minute session over 8 consecutive weeks taught by a Professional Yoga Therapist. The intended benefit of HYCS protocols was to increase body awareness and lymphatic drainage; facilitate deep breathing; reduce anxiety, edema and muscle tension; and induce relaxation. A DVD and booklet of the protocol was provided for voluntary home use. Yoga participants were asked to report daily on which HYCS protocols were practiced, medication changes, and well-being factors (physical, functional, emotional, spiritual) using an onlineassessment form based on validated FACT-G and FACT-Sp questionnaires. The primary outcome was to correlate change in well-being factors based on which HYCS protocols used as measured by the questionnaires. Control group reported weekly on medication changes and well-being factors. To see the banner showing the results click here.
"As someone with a low level spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia, I appreciate the knowledge and sensitivity of my teachers at PYS. Also, I'm grateful for their trust to allow me to be able to get up into a head stand independently, where as I need their assistance in most any other yoga pose. The interdependence between teacher, aid and student is one to be recognized and emulated."
"The relaxation and restorative asanas. Your great teaching skills, especially introducing yoga in simple steps and teaching simple and very effective techniques helped to remove the general fear that Yoga is too complex to practice. Overall it motivated us to include yoga in our daily lives."