Regaining independence: Parkville yoga studio joins national program helping traumatic brain injury patients

Awareness about traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and their consequences has been on the rise over the last decade, with a Parkville yoga studio working to help local patients recover.

 Wendy Landry

Wendy Landry

Om Prana Yoga will offer a class starting late this month in cooperation with the non-profit Love Your Brain Foundation (LYB), based in Vermont. Om Prana joins a network of 35 studios across 19 US states and 3 Canadian provinces trained by LYB to offer this free program working to make yoga accessible to the TBI community.

TBIs are caused by an external blow to the head, resulting in disrupted brain function that can range from mild to severe. Every year, 2.8 million occur in the United States. LYB believes in the holistic and dynamic nature of yoga to meet the individual needs of people with TBI, from rebuilding strength and balance, to managing stress and finding comfort in a community of people with shared experiences.

Om Prana Yoga has been open in downtown Parkville since 2014. As one of the first Certified Yoga Therapists in the Kansas City area, owner Wendy Landry has extensive training and experience working with people who have had cardiac events, cancer, knee or hip replacements or other illnesses caused by stress, depression or aging.

“Our mission is to offer supplemental options to enhancing and empowering one’s health through stretching and breathing techniques, meditation and a sense of connection to a community,” Landry said. “Om Prana Yoga decided to partner with Love Your Brain because our missions aligned perfectly with one another. Working with the TBI community is a perfect fit for us.”

Since researchers have not extensively explored the benefits of yoga for TBI, LYB partnered with Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., to conduct a study evaluating a pilot yoga program, with results recently published in the journal Brain Injury. LYB used these results create the 6-week gentle yoga series for people with TBI and their caregivers. Each class integrates breathing exercises, yoga, guided meditation and facilitated group discussion designed to foster resilience.

The classes also adapt yoga poses to prevent dizziness and headaches, use soft lighting and soothing sound, incorporate strategies to focus attention and use TBI-related themes to guide group discussion.

Om Prana Yoga will launch its first fundamental LYB yoga series starting on Monday, Oct. 29. The programs will run from 2:30-4 p.m. every Monday through Monday, Dec. 3.

Registration is now open. More information is available at loveyourbrain.com and ompranayoga.com.