2016 SYR Special Interest Groups
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There will be an opportunity for you to connect with a Special Interest Group on Tuesday afternoon during SYR.

Two groups have currently requested space for interested attendees to gather.  Click on the group title to see details.


Yoga-based Assessment in Yoga Therapy

In this Special Interest Group, we will discuss yoga-based assessment of clients (as opposed to relying on medical diagnoses).  In light of conventional medicine’s emphasis on the physical body, yoga therapy has much to offer the world by identifying the causes of disease in the deeper layers of human existence.

Generations of gurus have been assessing the mental weaknesses in their disciples prior to “prescribing” practices to guide them to ultimate health. How should this be done in a modern yoga-therapy context?

In Japan, the medical establishment has challenged us to systematically articulate our yoga therapy assessment theory.  We have taken up this challenge by developing assessment tools using the Yoga Sutras and Baghavad Gita, basing our assessment theory on the pancha koshas and the 10-horse chariot model of human mind-body-soul. At the Maryland University of Integrative Health, they are also teaching assessment utilizing the 5 sheath model.  We believe that for yoga therapy to establish itself as a viable healing modality, we need to ground our assessment methods in traditional yoga. In regard to research, this could also be significant for developing yoga protocol in yoga research. We will have three short presentations followed by discussion.

Kimura Keishin is the founder of Japan Yoga Niketan and the Japan Yoga Therapy Society (JYTS). He began teaching Raja Yoga in Japan after being given the holy name, Jnana Yogi and initiated as a Raja Yoga Acharya by his guru Swami Yogeshwarananda in 1981. In cooperation with the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation, Kimura has established yoga instructor and yoga therapist courses throughout Japan. He is president of JYTS, Executive Director of the Japan Integrated Medical Society, one of the founders of the Asia Yoga Therapy Congress, and a board member of the Japan Ayurveda Society.


Dr. Minoru Kamata is a clinical psychologist and certified yoga therapist (Japan Yoga Therapy Society). His main area of research and practice is psychotherapy in psychosomatic and integrative medicine. He is an Adlerian Psychotherapist and is developing yoga therapy as psychotherapy. He is active in the Japan Yoga Therapy Society’s research committee and is working closely with President Kimura to develop a new system for yoga therapy assessment. He also trains yoga therapists in counseling and psychotherapy skills.


Marlysa Sullivan is an Assistant Professor at Maryland University of Integrative Health in the Integrative Health sciences department where she teaches anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, yoga therapy for chronic pain, orthopedic and neurological conditions and yoga perspectives on health and disease. She was also the founding director of the yoga therapy clinic in the Masters of Science in Yoga Therapy program where she developed the processes for assessment and evaluation of clients and supervision. She also teaches at Emory University in the Physical Therapy department on the integration of yoga into PT practice. She is a co-founder of the Center for integrative yoga studies where she leads trainings for yoga teachers. www.integrativeyogastudies.com

Yoga Research Reporting Guidelines Working Group

Transparent reporting guidelines (with a checklist) for interventions using yoga that are widely disseminated and used by researchers to be followed by an Effectiveness Guidance Document (EGD) for comparative effectiveness research.

This meeting will build on the Essential Properties of Yoga Questionnaire (EPYQ) to create a related health research reporting guideline (HRRG) extension using the TIDieR process and support the development of an effectiveness Guidance Document (EGD) for comparative effectiveness research. To this end, we will (1) review the current status of EPYQ implementation and validation with the EPYQ development group, (2) present the results of one round of questions to yoga and yoga research experts regarding EPYQ, HRRGs and EGDs, (3) create a first draft of a HRRG for clinical trials using yoga as an intervention following the TIDieR format.  Reporting guidelines are designed to improve the transparency and accuracy of published medical literature to enhance reproducibility of research and support the development of Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs).  The Equator Network library contains an up-to-date collection of HRRGs and provides a searchable database available for authors, editors, peer reviewers, guideline developer, libraries and educators.

Steffany Moonaz, PhD, RYT-500 is a yoga therapist and researcher in Baltimore, MD. After several years in academic medical research, she now serves as the Associate Academic Director of Integrative Health Sciences at the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH), and is on the faculty of their Masters of Science in Yoga Therapy. Dr. Moonaz is passionate about the integration, collaboration, and communication between yoga therapists and medical providers. She leads continuing education programs for yoga teachers/therapists in the application and adaptation of yoga for arthritis and rheumatic conditions and consultants to NIH Nursing on yoga research programs for arthritis.

David Riley, MD, has been a medical editor since 1995 and is presently an editor with The Permanente Journal and the AIHM Journal Club. He has been the Editor in Chief of three medical journals and an author or editor for several medical textbooks. In 2000 he was a member of the CONSORT group that developed health research reporting guidelines for randomized controlled trials. In 2011 he led the development of the CARE guidelines—guidelines for case reports that were published in seven medical journals, presented at a Congress for Peer Review and Biomedical Publication in 2013, and have been translated into seven languages. The guidelines are available on The Equator Network—the scientific library for health research reporting guidelines. He is a member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), the Council of Science Editors (CSE), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME).

Dr. Riley is board-certified in Internal Medicine and has training in a variety of integrative medicine disciplines. He lectures and consults on healthcare issues in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, ranging from healthcare policy and regulation to education and research. Dr. Riley is on the board of directors of the Academy for Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) as well as the international advisory boards of academic centers, healthcare agencies, and corporations. He lives in Portland, Oregon.