Vidya Institute’s Integrative Yoga Research

Empirical Evaluations Of Yoga & The Vedic Sciences

Most of the following research projects were completed as part of Kathryn Curtis’s graduate work towards an MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology at York University. The last project, in progress, is part of her post-doctoral research at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network.

Project 3


Evaluation of a Modified Yoga Program for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury.

Objectives: Yoga is a promising mind-body intervention for improving health and wellbeing in a number of clinical populations. At this time, there is no evidence on the benefits of yoga for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methods: Twelve participants with SCI were recruited into a mixed-methods program evaluation of an eight-week modified yoga program. At baseline and exit, participants were evaluated on pain, fatigue, psychological factors, and mindfulness with self-report questionnaires and semistructured interviews. Five participants completed the baseline and exit assessments.

Results: Significant changes were not found on any of the outcome scores. Qualitative analysis revealed main themes regarding expectations, benefits along emotional, mental, and physical domains, program satisfaction and recommendations. Participants reported highly enjoying the yoga intervention and the qualitative data indicated a number of therapeutic benefits (i.e., decreased stress, pain relief).

Discussion: Yoga appears to be a promising therapeutic recreation intervention post-SCI and a larger clinical trial is recommended to conclusively investigate both its objectively and subjectively measured benefits.


NOTE: This project was conducted at the Lyndhurst Centre at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada, in May-June, 2012.



Peer Reviewed Journal Publication:

Curtis, K., Hitzig, S., Leong, N., Wicks, C., Ditor, D., & Katz, J. (2015). Evaluation of a Modified Yoga Program for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 2, 97-117.

Selected Poster Presentations at Canadian Conferences:

Curtis, K., Wicks, C., Leong, N., Saunders, N., Katz, J., & Hitzig, S. A yoga intervention for pain management and well-being in individuals with spinal cord injury: A descriptive pilot study. Canadian Pain Society, Winnipeg, MA. May, 2013. Published in: Pain Research and Management, 8 (2), 97-101.

Curtis, K., Wicks, C., Leong, N., Saunders, N., Katz, J., & Hitzig, S. An eight-week specialized yoga intervention for individuals with spinal cord injury: A qualitative descriptive pilot study. Current Concepts in Balance, Fitness and Mobility: Perspectives on Intensity in Rehabilitation. Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Toronto, ON. January, 2013.

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