The purpose of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of a specialized yoga program for individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI) on pain, psychological, and mindfulness variables.
Participants with SCI (n=23) were outpatients or community members affiliated with a rehabilitation hospital. Participants were randomized to an Iyengar yoga (IY; n=11) group or to a 6-week wait-list control (WLC; n=12) group. The IY group participated in a twice-weekly 6-week seated IY program; the WLC group participated in the same yoga program, after the IY group’s yoga program had ended. Pain, psychological, and mindfulness measures were collected at two time points for both groups (within 1–2 weeks before and after program 1 and at a third time point for the WLC group (within 1 week after program 2).
Linear mixed-effect growth models were conducted to evaluate the main effects of group at T2 (postintervention), controlling for T1 (preintervention) scores. T2 depression scores were lower ( F 1,18=6.1, P<0.05) and T2 self-compassion scores higher ( F 1,18=6.57, P< 0.05) in the IY group compared to the WLC group. To increase sample size and power, the two groups were combined and analyzed across time by comparing pre- and postintervention scores. Main effects of time were found for depression scores, ( F 1,14.83=6.62, P<0.05), self-compassion, ( F 1,16.6=4.49, P<0.05), mindfulness ( F 1,16.79=5.42, P<0.05), mindful observing ( F 1,19.82=5.06, P<0.05), and mindful nonreactivity, ( F 1,16.53=4.92, P<0.05), all showing improvement after the intervention.