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Becoming connected: the lived experience of yoga participation after stroke.

ABSTRACT

To investigate the personal experiences and perceived outcomes of a yoga programme for stroke survivors.This article reports on a preliminary study using qualitative methods to investigate the personal experiences and perceived outcomes of a yoga programme. Nine individuals who had experienced stroke were interviewed following a 10-week yoga programme involving movement, breathing and meditation practices. An interpretative phenomenological approach was used to determine meanings attached to yoga participation as well as perceptions of outcomes.Interpretative themes evolving from the data were organised around a bio-psychosocial model of health benefits from yoga. Emergent themes from the analysis included: greater sensation; feeling calmer and becoming connected. These themes respectively revealed perceived physical improvements in terms of strength, range of movement or walking ability, an improved sense of calmness and the possibility for reconnecting and accepting a different body.The study has generated original findings that suggest that from the perspective of people who have had a stroke yoga participation can provide a number of meaningful physical, psychological and social benefits and support the rationale for incorporating yoga and meditation-based practices into rehabilitation programmes.