Addressing the Psychological Effects of COVID-19 through Yoga and Relationality

with Damien Ridge, PhD, Tina Cartwright, PhD, CPsychol, and Nina Smyth, PhD

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About this talk

The COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures to reduce transmission have negatively impacted on mental health and wellbeing, with many of the most vulnerable feeling especially isolated. As well as improving psychological and social wellbeing, yoga offers a method to combat loneliness by increasing social connectedness, particularly when delivered through social prescribing pathways. In this panel, our speakers explore distinct yet complementary approaches to understanding the role of yoga to address the effects of social isolation and support self-management in Long COVID.

Dr Tina Cartwright will discuss research demonstrating the impact of both in-person and online yoga on social connectedness and its role in empowering patients to self-manage their health. Professor Damien Ridge will explore the importance of thinking relationally in responding to and living with Long COVID. Dr Nina Smyth draws on a psychophysiological approach to understanding the links between social isolation, physiological markers of stress and wellbeing.

About Damien Ridge, PhD

Damien is Professor of Health Studies, as well as Research Director in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Westminster. His research fleshed out for the first time what recovery from depression entailed for patients, and was subsequently adopted by the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on the treatment and management of depression in adults in the UK (2010). He is currently a co-investigator on a NIHR £2.4 million RCT designed to study the value of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in diverse populations following cancer treatment.

About Tina Cartwright, PhD, CPsychol

Dr Tina Cartwright is a Reader at the University of Westminster and a Chartered Health Psychologist. Her research focuses on understanding the patient experience and improving the management of long-term physical and mental health conditions. With a long-standing interest and publications in complementary medicine, her current research evaluates the impact of yoga and mind-body practices on health and wellbeing in educational, health and community settings. She conducted the first national survey of yoga practice in the UK and recently evaluated the first yoga social prescribing programme in the UK, commissioned by West London CCG.

About Nina Smyth, PhD

Nina Smyth is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Westminster. Her research focuses on the role of cortisol circadian patterns linking stress, mental/physical health. Nina is interested in designing and evaluating strategies to prevent and/or reverse the negative impact of stress on health. Some of her research examines the role of physical activity, contact with nature, green exercise (i.e. physical activity in green space) in restoring cortisol circadian patterns, which are essential for healthy functioning.

This presentation is eligible for Yoga Alliance Continuing Education (CE) credit.

If you are a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), you can log this time as CE hours in your Teacher Dashboard.

*Of note, symposium discussion topics may include information on Yoga Therapy as presented by individuals with credible expertise in that field. For more on Yoga Alliance’s unique policy on Yoga Therapy, please see their Code of Conduct and Scope of Practice.

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This presentation is part of Wellness After Covid: A Yoga and Healthcare Symposium. Click here to learn more and register for access to video content, slides, and other resources.