Day One

COVID-19 and its impact

Deepak Chopra will open our symposium, making a strong case for yoga as a critically important catalyst for health and well-being. Follow-up keynotes include a presentation from the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists on how the pandemic has affected mental health and talks from researchers on COVID-19’s long term consequences. A panel discussion on health inequalities will explore racial and intersectional equity and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. We’ll close our first day with an overview of Long-COVID from a global perspective and a review of current research pointing to yoga’s efficacy in addressing many stress-related symptoms.
About Heather Mason, MA, RYT-500, C-IAYT
Heather Mason is the Founder of the Minded Institute, a leading yoga therapy training school in the UK, and the Yoga in Health Care Alliance. Committed to bringing yoga into health systems, she has also taught in medical schools, educating future doctors in integrating yoga into treatment, and continues to lecture at various universities on this topic. Heather is the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga in Society in the UK. She is an RYT-500 and C-IAYT; holds MAs in psychotherapy and Buddhist Studies and an MS in Medical Physiology; and has done extensive study in neuroscience. www.themindedinstitute.com
About Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT
Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT, is the Founder and Director of Eat Breathe Thrive, a nonprofit organization that helps people overcome eating disorders. A yoga therapist, educator, and research collaborator, she has spent the better part of a decade working to make integrative health programmes available to people with mental illness. Prior to her work in the charitable sector, Chelsea worked as a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology, with a focus on yoga as a complementary treatment for breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. She is currently overseeing a research initiative, which includes two randomized controlled trials, on a manualized yoga program for eating disorder recovery.
Join New York Times bestselling author Deepak Chopra for an exploration of how yoga can transform health and well-being, especially for those affected by COVID-19. Discover how these practices can boost immunity, prevent chronic illness, and improve mental health challenges.
  • Are we in the midst of a major paradigm shift in science and healthcare?
  • How can yoga enhance our capacity for total well being (physical, emotional, spiritual, social, community, financial and ecological)?
  • How can the eight limbs of the yogic tradition inform and support healing and help you uncover who you really are?
Chopra will address these questions as well as offer a short meditation practice to directly experience transformation and healing.
About Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP
DEEPAK CHOPRA MD, FACP, is the founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. He is the author of 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. His latest book, Total Meditation: Practises in Living the Enlightened Life, published September 22, 2020, explores and reinterprets the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual benefits that this practice can bring. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com
Research has shown that prolonged periods of isolation and economic uncertainty has a devastating impact on mental health. While scientists are still learning about the societal impact of lockdowns, job loss, and pandemic-related grief, there is no doubt that the mental health consequences of the pandemic will affect individuals, families, and society for years to come. In this presentation, Dr. Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, will discuss current evidence on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected mental health, as well as the most effective treatment options available to support those experiencing depression, anxiety, and addiction. Learn about the College’s new position statement on social prescribing in the U.K., and how yoga can be used to bolster mental healthcare in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
About Adrian James, MD
Adrian was elected President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2020. He holds this role until 2023 and leads the RCPsych on behalf of its members and associates. Adrian is Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at Langdon Hospital in Dawlish, Devon. His priorities as President are establishing a pathway to parity for mental health services, equality and diversity, sustainability, and workforce wellbeing. Adrian is a keen cyclist.
About Charlotte Watts, 500RYT SYT
Charlotte Watts has been teaching yoga since 2009, with a focus on embodiment in her mindful and somatic classes, workshops and retreats. She runs courses specifically for yoga teachers to bring therapeutic somatic practices into their resources and teaching, as well as specialised courses for digestive health, immune and respiratory health, and stress, burnout and fatigue. Charlotte has published many books, including Yoga Therapy for Digestive Health (Singing Dragon, 2018), Good Mood Food (Nourish, 2018) and The De-Stress Effect (2015). She is also an award-winning nutritionist, practising since 2000 and specialising in stress-related and fatigue conditions, burnout, and digestive issues.  www.charlottewattshealth.com
In this presentation, you’ll learn from Dr. Melissa Wickremasinghe, Respiratory Physician at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, about the health consequences of COVID-19 and the potential role of yoga in supporting the recovery process. Dr. Wickremasinghe will discuss her experience as a physician treating patients with COVID-19 — including common symptoms, respiratory complications, effective treatment modalities, and the impact of health inequalities on individuals and communities at large. Learn how one physician understands the potential role of yoga as an adjunct treatment for those affected by COVID-19, including practical ways it can be delivered to those who might benefit through digital platforms, social prescribing initiatives, and staff well-being programmes.
About Melissa Wickremasinghe, MD
Dr. Wickremasinghe is a Consultant Respiratory Physician specialising in Interstitial lung disease (ILD), also known as lung fibrosis, at St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHNT). She trained in respiratory medicine at the Royal Brompton Hospital and completed her PhD on respiratory immunology at the Hammersmith Hospital. She is a personalised care lead for London and a British Thoracic Society ILD committee member, and as well as the Transformation Chief Clinical information officer at ICHNT. Her interests are in supporting self-care management using digital platforms, social prescribing, yoga for lung fibrosis, remote monitoring for ILD, and staff wellbeing through music.
Dr. Stacie CC Graham, an expert on racial and intersectional equity, will chair this panel of experts who will explore how Covid-19 has exposed health inequalities and highlighted existing barriers to people of color accessing yoga. Topics will include a case study of Covid-19’s unequal impact in Toronto with Dr Kate Mulligan, and the impact on the black community documented by Rhonda Smith from the California Black Health Network. We’ll also learn the difference between health inequalities, health disparities and health inequities from Priya Verma, a Physician Assistant working with Covid patients and a lead for the International Association of Yoga Therapists on diversity, equity and inclusion. The panel will leave ample time for questions from the audience to fully round out this important topic.
About the Panel Chair, Stacie CC Graham, PhD, E-RYT 500
Dr Stacie CC Graham, certified mindfulness teacher and E-RYT 500, is the founder of OYA: Body-Mind-Spirit Retreats, the first holistic wellness brand serving Black women and women of color communities in the UK. She is also the co-founder of Radical Darshan, a Yoga Alliance accredited 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training school focused on racial and intersectional equity in yoga. She has an MS in economics and a doctorate in psychology, where she focused on neuro-affective cognitive science and leadership behavior. In her primary profession, she works as the Global Racial Equity Program Director at WPP. www.stacieccgraham.com
About Rhonda Smith, MBA
Rhonda M. Smith currently serves as the Executive Director of the California Black Health Network. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Life Serve Youth Foundation and the Interim Executive Director for Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US). Rhonda also has been the Consultant/Project Director for the LiveHealthy OC Initiative and the Susan G. Komen Circle of Promise California Initiative. Rhonda earned her MBA in Marketing and Operations Management from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and her BS Degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech. www.cablackhealthnetwork.org
About Priya Verma, C-IAYT, PA-C
Priya Verma has been a Certified Yoga Therapist and Physician Assistant for over 20 years, and a care provider for COVID patients on the frontline. She has pioneered integration of trauma-informed Yoga Therapy into a traditional medical model of care, specializing in non-pharmacologic pain management. She has taught yoga in corporate, studio, hospital, and school- settings. She offers a Clinical Resiliency Program providing self-care practices for clinicians and healthcare workers across the spectrum. Priya lectures globally on the incorporation of the indigenous wisdom practices of Yoga and Ayurveda into healthcare. She is a member of the DEI Task Force for IAYT.  www.sandalwoodyoga.com
About Kate Mulligan, PhD
Dr. Kate Mulligan is a status Assistant Professor in Social and Behavioural Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and a public member of the Toronto Board of Health. She is a globally recognized advocate, policymaker and researcher on health equity and community wellbeing. Kate is currently leading a commissioned report on the future of community resilience in public health for the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.
In this presentation, Dr. Amit Bhargava, of the College of Medicine, will explore the efficacy of yoga and other mind-body practices in supporting individuals with Long Covid. . Drawing on his years of experience as a physician and leader in the U.K.’s National Healthcare Service, he will share his insights and observations on how the pandemic has affected population health and how Long Covid in particular has disrupted the physical, emotional, and economic well-being of so many individuals across the globe. Learn how yoga and mindfulness can support those with Long Covid and why Dr. Bhargava believes that these practices can play a critical role in addressing the needs of those with lingering symptoms related to COVID-19.
About Amit Bhargava, MD
Dr Amit Bhargava is a GP Senior Partner at Southgate Medical Group in Crawley and Member of the Council of College of Medicine. He has had many clinical leadership roles since 1999, which include positions at national, regional, and local levels. His purpose has been to transform individual and community health and wellness through the development of health policies, championing salutogenesis, and supporting self-care. Amit passionately creates partnerships that will improve health and social capital, as well as increase resilience of individuals within vulnerable and dispossessed communities. He feels strongly that the solutions for sustainable health-care systems lies in integrated community based delivery with strong supported primary care. He actively works towards creating self-healing communities where individuals have a strong voice and input in their health and wellness.
About Heather Mason, MA, RYT-500, C-IAYT
Heather Mason is the Founder of the Minded Institute, a leading yoga therapy training school in the UK, and the Yoga in Health Care Alliance. Committed to bringing yoga into health systems, she has also taught in medical schools, educating future doctors in integrating yoga into treatment, and continues to lecture at various universities on this topic. Heather is the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga in Society in the UK. She is an RYT-500 and C-IAYT; holds MAs in psychotherapy and Buddhist Studies and an MS in Medical Physiology; and has done extensive study in neuroscience. www.themindedinstitute.com
About Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT
Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT, is the Founder and Director of Eat Breathe Thrive, a nonprofit organization that helps people overcome eating disorders. A yoga therapist, educator, and research collaborator, she has spent the better part of a decade working to make integrative health programmes available to people with mental illness. Prior to her work in the charitable sector, Chelsea worked as a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology, with a focus on yoga as a complementary treatment for breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. She is currently overseeing a research initiative, which includes two randomized controlled trials, on a manualized yoga program for eating disorder recovery.
 

Day Two

Yoga's Mechanisms of Change

On our second day, we’ll explore research on the mechanisms through which yoga counters the impact of COVID-19, as both a preventative modality and as an adjunct treatment. Our keynote presenters will discuss the unique mental health challenges of social isolation, grief, and mourning, as well as pioneering work to offer therapeutic yoga to clients in need via tele-health. Later in the day, we’ll hear directly from those living with Long-COVID on our Patient Experience Panel, and how they are utilizing the tools of yoga to support their healing process.
In this presentation, a scientific researcher and prolific New York yoga teacher present findings from an innovative collaboration to develop an evidence-informed yoga regimen for COVID-19. Dr. William Bushell and Eddie Stern will discuss their developing theoretical model, which is presented in an ongoing series of scientific papers on the potential benefits of yoga in the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll learn about the virus’s mechanisms of action and how countering mechanisms activated by yogic practices, particularly at the portals of viral entry, may possess powerfully preventive and adjunctive treatment effects. They will also present a yogic regimen developed from this evidence, which includes practices for the head, nose, mouth, neck, and body. The regimen derives from an unprecedented body of scientific research that suggests that specific yogic practices could potentially play a critical role in the COVID-19 pandemic.
About Eddie Stern
Eddie Stern is a yoga instructor, author, and researcher from NYC. He has written yoga protocols for published scientific research studies, and public education health and wellness curriculums that have been used in over 150 schools across the United States for both students and educators. He serves on the boards of several non-profits including LIFE Camp, Urban Yogis, and Black Yoga Teachers Alliance, and is the co-creator of the International Yoga and Science Conference with Dr. Marshall Hagins. www.eddiestern.com
About William Bushell, PhD
William Bushell, PhD, is a biophysical/medical anthropologist and has been researching the health enhancing effects of yoga, meditation, and behavioral health practices for decades. His research has explored how these practices enhance the immune system, with a particular focus on infectious disease. During this time he has collaborated with leading figures in immunology, psychoneuroimmunology, and nonwestern cultures, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Nobel Prize winning scientists. He was an affiliate researcher at MIT for 26 years, and presently serves as a research director at the Whole Health Institute. He recently co-authored a paper with a team from Harvard, UCSD, and several other leading universities, which sets forth a groundbreaking framework based on decades of cross-disciplinary research for yoga as an adjunct treatment for COVID-19. He and his collaborators are continuing to further develop this model.
The pandemic has magnified stress, anxiety and burnout in nearly every sector of society, but perhaps most significantly for frontline medical providers. Healthcare workers have faced challenges above and beyond their day-to-day job stress in the pandemic — from long hours, to the care of severely ill patients, to the support of grieving loved ones. A substantial body of research suggests that yoga may be particularly beneficial for healthcare providers in the pandemic. Yoga has been shown to support the development of mind body skills which lead to improved physical health and emotional regulation, and even enhanced life purpose and meaning. Increasingly, yoga is being used as an adjunct therapy for psychological conditions, from depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder. In this presentation, Dr. Sat Bir Khalsa will present a scientific rationale for yoga in the prevention and treatment of mental health conditions, with a focus on its application to frontline medical workers. You’ll come away with an understanding of the current body of clinical research on the efficacy of yoga for chronic stress, anxiety and burnout.
About Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD
Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, PhD is the Director of Yoga Research for Yoga Alliance and the Kundalini Research Institute, a Research Associate at the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, a Research Affiliate at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has conducted research on yoga and yoga therapy since 2001 and has been a practitioner/instructor of Kundalini Yoga since 1973. His research has evaluated yoga for insomnia, chronic stress, and anxiety-related disorders, and in workplace and public school settings. He works with the International Association of Yoga Therapists promoting yoga research as scientific director for the annual Symposium on Yoga Research, and as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. He is medical editor of the Harvard Medical School Special Report, Introduction to Yoga, and chief editor of the medical textbook, The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care.
About Stephen Porges, PhD,
Stephen W. Porges, PhD, is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute. He is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is the originator of the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that emphasizes the importance of physiological states in the expression of behavioral, mental, and physical health problems related to traumatic experiences. www.stephenporges.com
About Josefin Wikström, E-RYT 500
Josefin Wikström (TCTSY-F, Yoga Therapy for The Mind, E-RYT 500, YACEP, RCYS) has been bringing yoga and dance into the Swedish prisons since 2008. She has been working as a full-time teacher focusing on yoga for trauma-exposed populations since 2003. In 2015, she began working with Prison Yoga Project to coordinate European training and has been teaching Prison Yoga Project training in Mumbai, India, and Mexico. Josefin has been the primary teacher and co-developer of Swedish Probation services- Krimyoga program, the Swedish forensic psychiatry, the Juvenile justice system.
Yoga teachers and yoga therapists have faced many challenges to teach yoga in the COVID-19 pandemic. But often what first looks like a challenge can become a great opportunity. In this presentation, Dr. B.N. Gandahar, professor of Psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, will share exciting insights and findings on the effects of teaching therapeutic yoga in a virtual space. He will discuss an ongoing research initiative to explore the impact of tele-yoga, as well as the work of a team developing guidelines for teaching therapeutic yoga online space. Learn what this work reveals about the benefits and pitfalls of teaching yoga virtually and how to apply this knowledge to your own teaching and practice.
About B.N. Gangadhar, MD
B.N. Gangadhar, MD, is a professor of psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and NeuroSciences (NIMHANS), where he heads the Advanced Center for Yoga. He has served with NIMHANS since 1981, and has special interest in somatic therapies, yoga, schizophrenia, and community mental health. He has published more than 200 scientific articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals, and serves as co-editor of Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica and the Asian Journal of Psychiatry. A fellow in the National Academy of Medical Sciences in India, he has received the CV Raman award and the BC Roy award from the government of Karnataka.
At a time when so many around the world are grappling with the fallout of COVID-19 — from job loss, to social isolation, to grief and mourning — it is both timely and critical to expand access to yoga and ensure all people have an opportunity to benefit from the practice. This is particularly true for individuals of diverse minority backgrounds, whose lives and communities have been hit hardest by the pandemic. However, despite yoga’s potential for benefits, many individuals of diverse backgrounds do not feel welcome in traditional yoga spaces. In this presentation, Dr. Jennifer Webb, a researcher and clinical health psychologist at the University of North Carolina, will discuss her research on the factors that promote (and hinder!) yoga space that feel welcoming for all, ,, especially those of diverse identities. Discover how these findings can inform your teaching and practice and deepen your understanding of health inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19. However, individuals of diverse social identities may find themselves excluded from the opportunity to engage with the practice of yoga. In light of this challenge, this presentation will provide the audience with a window into exploring the multiple evidence-based factors that both hinder and promote realizing a yoga for all.
About Jennifer WEbb, PhD
Jennifer B. Webb is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Science and the Health Psychology Ph.D. Program at UNC Charlotte. She is a clinical health psychologist whose research program is informed by a non-dieting, weight-neutral philosophy on health promotion in culturally- and body-diverse groups. Her work emphasizes enhancing the integration, dissemination, and accessibility of evidence-based mind-body approaches (e.g., yoga, self-compassion, mindful and intuitive eating, mindful self-care, etc.). Through these initiatives, she helps strengthen embodied self-regulation, positive body image, and well-being among women during the developmental transitions of young adulthood, pregnancy, and postpartum.
About Heather Mason, MA, RYT-500, C-IAYT
Heather Mason is the Founder of the Minded Institute, a leading yoga therapy training school in the UK, and the Yoga in Health Care Alliance. Committed to bringing yoga into health systems, she has also taught in medical schools, educating future doctors in integrating yoga into treatment, and continues to lecture at various universities on this topic. Heather is the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga in Society in the UK. She is an RYT-500 and C-IAYT; holds MAs in psychotherapy and Buddhist Studies and an MS in Medical Physiology; and has done extensive study in neuroscience. www.themindedinstitute.com
About Victoria Santos, MA
Victoria Santos, MA, is the Director of the Center for Healing and Liberation, a home for transformative work dedicated to cultivating individual and collective liberation through a range of initiatives, events, practices, actions and community networks. Additionally, she is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and External Relations at Young Women Empowered, an organization focused on cultivating the power of diverse young women* to be creative leaders and courageous changemakers.
About Starr Sanborn, C-IAYT
Starr Sanborn is a C-IAYT, Buteyko Breathing Instructor, and Restore Your Prana Mentor. She offers an approach to Yoga Therapy which adapts individual and group practices to support healing on the physical and psycho-emotional levels. Starr has personal experience with managing chronic pain, with a complicated diagnosis of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. She is committed to helping others find their way back to health through yoga therapy, and is experienced working with many conditions including musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurological, and respiratory. Starr contracted COVID last spring and continues to deal with related symptoms, which she mitigates through her various yoga practices. www.guidingstarryoga.com
About Suzy Bolt, BA, BKSIYT
Suzy Bolt is an Iyengar-trained yoga teacher, teaching since 1997. Additionally, she is an NLP Master Practitioner, trained in CPCAB-counseling studies, and also works as a Leadership Team Coach, mainly in the higher education sector. With over two-decades of experience, Suzy specialises in the mind-body connection, combining NLP with her Yoga teaching. Based on her own experience post-COVID, Suzy’s work now focuses on helping others recover from Long-Covid through the Rest.Repair.Recover classes on her online platform, 360mindbodysoul. www.360mindbodysoul.co.uk
About Nikki Jackson
Nikki Jackson is the director of Yoga Focus 550hr professional training in yoga therapy, approved by the British Wheel of Yoga. She runs a Yoga Therapy foundation module and regular CPD days for BWY. She has taught yoga and yoga therapy in the NHS and private sector since 1991 and for NHS occupational health departments as a yoga therapist helping support staff back to work. Her professional background includes lead Occupational Therapist in NHS forensic psychiatric services and in general mental health, elderly, neurology and adult social services. Nikki’s teachings are influenced by the Dharma and focus on self compassion practises. www.yogafocus.co.uk
About Heather Mason, MA, RYT-500, C-IAYT
Heather Mason is the Founder of the Minded Institute, a leading yoga therapy training school in the UK, and the Yoga in Health Care Alliance. Committed to bringing yoga into health systems, she has also taught in medical schools, educating future doctors in integrating yoga into treatment, and continues to lecture at various universities on this topic. Heather is the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga in Society in the UK. She is an RYT-500 and C-IAYT; holds MAs in psychotherapy and Buddhist Studies and an MS in Medical Physiology; and has done extensive study in neuroscience. www.themindedinstitute.com
About Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT
Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT, is the Founder and Director of Eat Breathe Thrive, a nonprofit organization that helps people overcome eating disorders. A yoga therapist, educator, and research collaborator, she has spent the better part of a decade working to make integrative health programmes available to people with mental illness. Prior to her work in the charitable sector, Chelsea worked as a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology, with a focus on yoga as a complementary treatment for breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. She is currently overseeing a research initiative, which includes two randomized controlled trials, on a manualized yoga program for eating disorder recovery.

Day Three

Application and Implementation

On the final day, our presenters will discuss and demonstrate yoga practices that are currently being used to serve those affected by COVID-19. You’ll have the opportunity to choose from a diverse array of parallel sessions in which experts showcase pioneering approaches already being used on the frontlines. The focus of this day is on experiential yoga, breathing, and mind-body practices that target the unique symptoms of COVID-19. We’ll close with a forward-thinking panel on Health Policy and Economics, which will explore how yoga can be integrated into national healthcare systems around the globe.
About Heather Mason, MA, RYT-500, C-IAYT
Heather Mason is the Founder of the Minded Institute, a leading yoga therapy training school in the UK, and the Yoga in Health Care Alliance. Committed to bringing yoga into health systems, she has also taught in medical schools, educating future doctors in integrating yoga into treatment, and continues to lecture at various universities on this topic. Heather is the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga in Society in the UK. She is an RYT-500 and C-IAYT; holds MAs in psychotherapy and Buddhist Studies and an MS in Medical Physiology; and has done extensive study in neuroscience. www.themindedinstitute.com
About Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT
Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT, is the Founder and Director of Eat Breathe Thrive, a nonprofit organization that helps people overcome eating disorders. A yoga therapist, educator, and research collaborator, she has spent the better part of a decade working to make integrative health programmes available to people with mental illness. Prior to her work in the charitable sector, Chelsea worked as a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology, with a focus on yoga as a complementary treatment for breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. She is currently overseeing a research initiative, which includes two randomized controlled trials, on a manualized yoga program for eating disorder recovery.
In this presentation, Dr. Richard Brown and Dr. Patricia Gerbarg — two leading professors in the field of integrative psychiatry —will present the evidence base for a number of different integrative and complementary therapies for Long Covid.s Learn about current evidence on the efficacy of phytomedicinals, nutraceuticals, breathing practices, and off-label pharmaceuticals, as well as clinically effective combinations that may support prevention and symptom reduction. Discover the mechanisms through which these modalities affect the body’s physiology, and how they can be integrated into standard medical treatment to support those experiencing adverse effects related to COVID-19. This presentation also includes a short Breath-Body-Mind movement practice, to allow you an opportunity to directly experience the benefits of these practices. a short practice of Breath-Body-Mind movement, a breath-centered meditation you can integrate into your teaching and practice.
About Richard Brown, MD
Dr. Richard P. Brown, associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, gives over 100 lectures each year and has co-authored over 100 scientific publications. A certified teacher of Aikido, Yoga, Qigong, and meditation, and a pioneer of Integrative Psychiatry, Dr. Brown researches the effects of breathing practices on mental and physical health. In collaboration with Dr. Gerbarg, he developed a neurophysiological theory about how mind-body practices can be optimized to quickly and safely reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, insomnia, and trauma. They have completed numerous studies, co-authored several books, and teach programs for stress resilience and recovery in healthcare providers, first responders, and disaster survivors worldwide. www.breath-body-mind.com
About Patricia Gerbarg, MD
Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, assistant clinical professor in psychiatry at NY Medical College, graduated Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Psychiatry Residency, and the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. Dr. Gerbarg is Vice-Chair of the APA Caucus on CAIM in Psychiatry. She and Dr. Brown created Breath-Body-Mind programs, starting with First Responders and others affected by the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. Their award-winning books include: The Healing Power of the Breath, Non-Drug Treatments for ADHD, and (with Dr. Phillip Muskin) How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health and Complementary and Integrative Treatments in Psychiatric Practice (American Psychiatric Association Publishing, 2017). www.breath-body-mind.com
COVID-19 infections can result in significant changes in the human body, particularly in the respiratory, immune and neuromuscular systems. In this lecture, Dr. Ingrid Yang, an internal medicine physician whose work bridges yoga and medicine, will examine how COVID-19 affects each organ system and explain the etiology of chronic manifestations of this disease. Discover specific ways in which yoga can assist individuals in COVID-19 recovery and learn about new protocols Dr. Yang is developing for COVID-19 rehabilitation.
About Ingrid Yang, MD, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT
Ingrid Yang is an internal medicine physician, yoga therapist, and published author. She has been teaching yoga for over 20 years and is the author of the books Adaptive Yoga and Hatha Yoga Asanas. Dr. Yang leads trainings and retreats all over the world, with a special focus on kinesthetic physiology and healing through breathwork, meditation, and mind-body connection. www.ingridyang.com
Pranayama has been touted as the elixir of vitality. However, in the aftermath of respiratory trauma like Long-COVID, the autonomic nervous system often becomes dysregulated. Disordered breathing follows, making the breath effortful and erratic. Common pranayama techniques can exacerbate this, leading to further depletion. In this presentation, Robin will guide you through a series of nuanced processes that help re-establish functional breathing and improve vagal-tone.These include: Reconditioning the diaphragm; mobilizing the rib-cage to increase perfusion; and calibrated practices that balance of the blood gasses to support better oxygenation. Robin’s natural warmth invites curiosity, playfulness, and compassionate self-care. Her expertise in addressing breathing pattern disorders offer potent healing tools and have been specifically adapted for those living with the symptoms of Long-COVID.
About Robin Rothenberg, C-IAYT
Robin Rothenberg is the author of Restoring Prana: A Therapeutic Guide for Yoga Teachers, Therapists and Healthcare Practitioners and The Svadhyaya Breath Journal. Deeply involved in yoga therapy and research since 2000, Robin runs an IAYT Accredited Yoga Therapy Training, and thriving practice outside Seattle, Washington. Her practical orientation to yoga therapy is created through a unique weave of traditional Vedic teachings combined with Western science. Restoring Prana has received wide acclaim globally for grounding the esoteric teachings of pranayama in a scientific framework that allows practitioners to experience the healing power of the breath and reclaim their vital energy.  www.essentialyogatherapy.com
Even before COVID-19, mental health issues were an international problem. However, the current pandemic has amplified this, leading to an unprecedented crisis. Specifically, the influence of social distancing and isolation have led to unique mental health complications that are likely to have long-reaching effects. During this international presentation, Heather Mason will discuss the current mental health crisis, why yoga is efficacious in mental health management, and discuss particular ways that yoga can support personal and public mental health recovery resulting from the pandemic.
About Heather Mason, MA, RYT-500, C-IAYT
Heather Mason is the Founder of the Minded Institute, a leading yoga therapy training school in the UK, and the Yoga in Health Care Alliance. Committed to bringing yoga into health systems, she has also taught in medical schools, educating future doctors in integrating yoga into treatment, and continues to lecture at various universities on this topic. Heather is the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Yoga in Society in the UK. She is an RYT-500 and C-IAYT; holds MAs in psychotherapy and Buddhist Studies and an MS in Medical Physiology; and has done extensive study in neuroscience. www.themindedinstitute.com
More than 150 million people around the world have been infected with COVID-19, and for many people symptoms can linger for months after the initial infection. cThe condition commonly known as ‘Long Covid’ is a rapidly evolving situation, manifesting as fatigue, brain fog, and in certain cases psychiatric conditions such as severe anxiety and depression. With so much unknown and few guidelines to manage this array of symptoms, people are looking outside traditional medical approaches for relief. In this presentation, Jayagopal Parla — Professor of Ayurvedic Medicine at Bangalore University — will explore how Ayurveda can support those with lingering symptoms after COVID-19 infection. Learn about specific herbs, nutritional spices, dietary protocols, and detoxification procedures that may support the reduction of common symptoms associated with Long Covid and lead to increased quality of life. Professor Parla will also share insights from recent case studies of patients with Long-COVID who have used Ayurveda in their recovery.
About Jayagopal Parla, MD(Ayu)
Professor Jayagopal Parla is an internationally known speaker, educator, and practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine and yoga with extensive clinical, and teaching experience. Professor Parla holds a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Bangalore University, India, and a master’s degree in Ayurvedic medicine from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, India. He is a certified yoga therapist and Founder and Director of Athreya Ayurvedic Integrative Health Center, in Long Beach, California. He also teaches at Southern California University of Health Sciences, Mount Madonna College of Ayurveda, and serves as a visiting faculty member at the Japan School of Ayurvedic Medicine.  www.athreyaayurveda.com
While the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone's mental health, it's no exaggeration to say that social isolation and disrupted care services has been at times life threatening for those with severe mental illness. In this presentation, Chelsea Roff — Founder of the eating disorder nonprofit Eat Breathe Thrive — will share how her organization moved rapidly to respond to a nearly ten-fold increase in requests for yoga programmes from clients reporting suicidality and self-harming behaviors. She'll discuss the organisation's work to develop a suicide and mental health emergency response plan, plus train a team of yoga teachers to help clients in crisis access professional mental health treatment. Learn how one organisation is navigating the intersection of yoga, healthcare, and community support, as well as best practices to support clients you may be concerned about. This presentation will cover: (1) scope of practice, (2) best practices for assessment, (3) professional referral networks, (4) ethics and safeguarding responsibilities for yoga professionals, (5) a tested framework to connect with a client you're concerned about.
About Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT
Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT, is the Founder and Director of Eat Breathe Thrive, a nonprofit organization that helps people overcome eating disorders. A yoga therapist, educator, and research collaborator, she has spent the better part of a decade working to make integrative health programmes available to people with mental illness. Prior to her work in the charitable sector, Chelsea worked as a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology, with a focus on yoga as a complementary treatment for breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. She is currently overseeing a research initiative, which includes two randomized controlled trials, on a manualized yoga program for eating disorder recovery.
Research into the efficacy of integrative interventions to treat systemic inflammation could have major implications for the acute and long-term effects of COVID-19. Reviews and analyses suggest mind-body practices and supplements may have effect sizes similar or superior to leading COVID-19 medications on the inflammatory markers most affected by the disease. Ryan Castle — Director of the Chopra Research Library — will discuss the ramifications of this evidence and how it could influence global strategies to curtail the current and lasting impact of the pandemic, including the expected long-term spike in chronic inflammatory diseases.
About Ryan Castle
Ryan Castle is Director of the Chopra Research Library which he co-founded with Deepak Chopra, MD. The library is an integrative sciences archive and data analysis resource operating under the Whole Health Institute. Ryan manages research projects and analyzes information to improve public health via integrative medicine. He has published interdisciplinary research in consciousness theory, meditation’s medical efficacy, and the bio-behavioral effects of chronic inflammation. Ryan has presented at Harvard, Berkeley, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Kingdom of Bhutan, Foundations of Mind, Sages, and Scientists, Parliament of World Religions, as well as many conferences.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this year uniquely challenging for families with school-aged children. Lock-down and social isolation is hard on adults, but even harder on children who are wired for physical, interactive play. Anxiety and depression rates among young children and teens has significantly risen this year, layering additional stress on parents already juggling work upheavals, financial strains, and zoom-schooling. Parents and kids need a way to remember how to play, how to reset their nervous systems and shake-free of all that accrued tension. In this workshop, Julie will draw from her decades of study in movement therapy for children and families. She’ll integrate yoga, breathing and meditation, QiGong, and Brain Dance to create a family experience of shared joy, interlaced with coping strategies appropriate for children and grown-ups of all ages!
About Julie Gayer Kris
Julie Gayer Kris is certified yoga instructor and trained yoga therapist through the American Viniyoga Institute. She has an extensive background in modern dance and community based and healing dance practices for all ages. She is certified in Anna Halprin’s Planetary Dance, trained in Anne Green Gilbert’s Brain Dance, and has also studied with Liz Lerman’s Dance Exchange. Julie has taught mindfulness and movement with children (from infants, toddlers and preschool ages) and families for many years incorporating yoga, dance, mindfulness and joyful play. She is currently finishing up her Master of Social Work at New York University.
This class will demonstrate a sequence of yoga postures, breathing practices, and mudras that address the specific pathways that the COVID-19 virus attacks. The focus is on mechanisms of the head, nose, mouth, face, eyes, neck, and important structures in these organs that are designed to prevent and protect from invading pathogens and strengthen the release of endogenous, protective substances and other closely related factors. The sequence is an accessible, simple, but unique protocol that Dr. William Bushell and Eddie Stern have been developing in a series of research papers since the pandemic began. This is an experiential class in which you can explore a set of yogic practices that may be relevant for Long Covid recovery.
About Eddie Stern
Eddie Stern is a yoga instructor, author, and researcher from NYC. He has written yoga protocols for published scientific research studies, and public education health and wellness curriculums that have been used in over 150 schools across the United States for both students and educators. He serves on the boards of several non-profits including LIFE Camp, Urban Yogis, and Black Yoga Teachers Alliance, and is the co-creator of the International Yoga and Science Conference with Dr. Marshall Hagins. www.eddiestern.com
In this presentation, yoga therapist Fiona Agombar will share insights from her experience offering yoga to clients experiencing chronic fatigue and what their experience can teach us about effective yoga practices for those with Long Covid. While many modern yoga teachers encourage students to “push through” in order to grow in their yoga practice, this approach may be detrimental to students experiencing chronic fatigue and inflammation. Instead of the traditional asana-only approach, Fiona emphasizes the importance of pacing, mantra, mindfulness, acceptance, and self compassion. Learn what emerging research teaches us about the impact of inflammation on mitochondria and the critical need for balance between activity and rest for this population. Come away with practical ideas to integrate this information into your teaching and a diverse set of yogic practices to support students with Long Covid.
About Fiona Agombar
Fiona is a yoga therapist in the Krishnamacharya Tradition and is accredited as an advanced teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga. She specialises in yoga for fatigue conditions, including CFS/ME, burnout and Long COVID. Fiona set up teaching modules on fatigue for Yoga Campus and the BWY. She contributed to the British Council of Yoga Therapy guidelines for teaching those with Long COVID. She runs classes for those with fatigue and has referrals for long-Covid from a major hospital in the UK. Fiona is the author of Beat Fatigue with Yoga and Yoga Therapy for Stress, Burnout and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. www.fionaagombar.co.uk
In this presentation, Dr. Baxter Bell — a physician, medical acupuncturist, and yoga therapist — will discuss the case-report of a long-time yoga practitioner who developed Long Covid after an acute COVID-19 infection. Learn about the various symptoms and bodily systems affected by this condition, and explore how yoga practices can both help and hinder the healing process. Discover what yoga therapists and healthcare providers need to know about the opportunities and pitfalls of yoga for Long Covid and how you can apply this knowledge to your teaching and practice.
About Baxter Bell, MD, C-IAYT
Baxter Bell, MD, is a yoga therapist, yoga educator, yoga teacher, and medical acupuncturist. Baxter is co-author of the book, Yoga for Healthy Aging, as well as co-founder and past contributing writer for the blog, Yoga for Healthy Aging, as well as his new blog, What’s On Your (Yoga) Mind?. He is also on faculty for several Teacher Training and Yoga Therapy programs around the country. Baxter is a Certified Yoga Therapist, C-IAYT, as well as a board member for the International Association of Yoga Therapists. www.baxterbell.com
Results from a recent study conducted at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on patients with Long-COVID found that all had low levels of CO2. After doing specific breathwork exercises, the patients’ symptoms began to abate. Join Patrick McKeown, Clinical Director of Buteyko Clinic International, for an in-depth exploration of these findings and a practical demonstration of breathing exercises that may be beneficial for those with Long-COVID. Discover how breathing practices can help to help normalize carbon dioxide levels and stimulate the vagus nerve, dilate airways, improve blood circulation, and oxygen delivery.
About Patrick McKeown, MA
Patrick McKeown is founder and Clinical Director of Buteyko Clinic International and author of The Oxygen Advantage. He is a world renowned authority on the breath, offering training courses across the globe. Over the past two decades, he has worked with thousands of clients, including elite military special forces (SWAT), Olympic coaches, and athletes. Patrick’s research appears in international medical journals and he has published over seven books specifically on the breath. The Breathing Cure (2021), his latest, features functional breathing exercises for women’s health, sleep, anxiety, Long COVID, epilepsy, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and exercise. www.buteykoclinic.com
The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging for children with special needs and their caregivers. Social distancing and restrictions have greatly reduced the availability of therapeutic care services, and as a result many children are experiencing increased anxiety and in some cases a significant decrease in physical well-being. In this presentation, Jyoti Jo Manuel — Founder of Special Yoga — will demonstrate yoga tools designed specifically for children with special needs. She will explore how therapeutic yoga can help these children increase motor coordination, improve physical strength, and gain the sensory tools they need to function and thrive. Discover how these practices can increase children’s immunity, foster emotional stability and soothing, and bring balance to their often fragile energetic systems.
About Jyoti Jo Manuel
Jyoti is recognised as one of the world’s leading authorities on therapeutic yoga for children with special needs. Her yoga journey began in 1974 and started teaching in 1989. In 2003, Jyoti founded Special Yoga, a global organisation established to provide sustainable and accessible therapeutic yoga programmes for children with special and additional needs. Special Yoga’s work reaches across education, therapeutic settings and within the home; the COVID-19 pandemic brought Special Yoga’s trainings online in 2020 . Jyoti has also worked for the UK’s National Health Service, education authorities and local councils. www.specialyoga.co.uk
Join Dr. Ian Baker — world-renowned author and cultural historian of Tibetan Buddhism — for an exploration of the lesser-known yoga practices of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism and their application to COVID-19. Explore how these tantric yoga practices were understood in their original cultural and historical context, as well as their potential applications in contemporary biomedicine. In particular, Dr. Baker will focus on the practice of Tummo, or inner-fire, as a mind-body intervention supportive of robust health, heightened immune response, and psychological well being.
About Ian Baker, PhD
Ian Baker holds a PhD in History, a MSc in Medical Anthropology, and a MA in Literature from the University of Oxford. His published books in the field of Asian medicine, yoga, and meditation include Tibetan Yoga: Principles and Practices, The Tibetan Art of Healing, The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple, and The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet’s Lost Paradise. Recognised by National Geographic Society as one of seven ‘explorers for the millennium,’ Ian has conducted extensive fieldwork through the Himalayas in the context of documenting traditional practices of tantric yoga and their contemporary transcultural adaptations. www.ianbaker.com
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.
AboutDamien Ridge, PhD
IDamien 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. twitter.com/damienridge
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.
The pandemic has placed unprecedented strain on governments and healthcare systems around the world. In this presentation, Dr. Shirley Telles will discuss India’s efforts to integrate yoga practice and philosophy into its COVID-19 healthcare plan. She will discuss the research on yoga’s potential to optimize immune and respiratory function, reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and increase physical activity even when practitioners have minimal space and resources. Discover how experts in healthcare and government are working together in India to translate evidence on the benefits of yoga into the country’s COVID-19 response.
About Shirley Telles, PhD
Shirley Telles has a degree in conventional medicine (MBBS) and a MPhil and PhD in Neurophysiology. Both MPhil and PhD theses were on the effects of yoga practice. Dr Telles received a Fulbright fellowship in 1998 and in 2001 an award from the Templeton Foundation for creative ideas in neurobiology. In 2007, she received an Indian Council of Medical Research Center for Advanced Research to study meditation’s effects through autonomic variables, evoked and event related potentials, polysomnography and fMRI. Dr Telles has been the director of Patanjali Research Foundation since 2007. Dr Telles has over two-hundred research papers cited in bibliographic databases, and she has edited seven books. She is an enthusiastic practitioner of yoga. www.patanjaliresearchfoundation.com
About Michael Dixon, MD
Dr. Michael Dixon is a GP and Chairs the Institute for Social Prescription as well as being Chairman of the College of Medicine. Michael was previously Chair of NHSAlliance and government advisor on GP commissioning. Michael is a strong advocate of preventative medicine, healthy living and integrated care. Its philosophy is to help patients keep well instead of waiting until they are sick before helping them. It is demonstrated by his Devon GP practice with its low referral rates and high scores on all performance indicators. He is visiting Professor at University College London and at the University of Westminster.
About James Marzolf, MD
Dr James Marzolf currently serves as the Senior Director for Health Sector Finance & Policy for the Whole Health Institute. He is responsible for strategic development of economic and policy aspects of the national healthcare reform platform, encompassing the public private insurance, large self-insuring corporations, employer, provider network, and pharmaceutical sectors. His background includes work with USAID, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, PAHO, and ILO as well as the commercial insurance sector and private hospital development.
About Rani Elwy, PhD
Dr. A. Rani Elwy is the Director of Brown University’s Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior’s Implementation Science Core, and is Acting Associate Director of the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research at the VA Bedford Healthcare System in Massachusetts. Dr. Elwy leads dissemination efforts for the Complementary and Integrative Health Evaluation Center (CIH), funded since 2016 by the VA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation and the VA QUERI program. She recently guest edited two journal special issues on CIH effectiveness and implementation research, and she founded and directs the bi-monthly VA CIH Cyberseminar series.
About Lord Clive Brooke
Lord Clive Brooke is a Labour Peer Member of the House of Lords: the UK’s second parliamentary chamber. He was appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997. Prior to that, he spent most of his working life as a Civil Service trade unionist. His focus in the Lords is on public health and well-being. Lord Brooke specialises in health, concerns related to alcohol, drugs, sugar, and obesity. A deep interest in well-being has led him to explore yoga, mindfulness, spirituality. He is a supporter of the 12-Steps Recovery Programme from Addictions and interested in mind-body solutions for treating addictions.
About James Marzolf, MD
Dr James Marzolf currently serves as the Senior Director for Health Sector Finance & Policy for the Whole Health Institute. He is responsible for strategic development of economic and policy aspects of the national healthcare reform platform, encompassing the public private insurance, large self-insuring corporations, employer, provider network, and pharmaceutical sectors. His background includes work with USAID, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, PAHO, and ILO as well as the commercial insurance sector and private hospital development.
About Michael Dixon, MD
Dr. Michael Dixon is a GP and Chairs the Institute for Social Prescription as well as being Chairman of the College of Medicine. Michael was previously Chair of NHSAlliance and government advisor on GP commissioning. Michael is a strong advocate of preventative medicine, healthy living and integrated care. Its philosophy is to help patients keep well instead of waiting until they are sick before helping them. It is demonstrated by his Devon GP practice with its low referral rates and high scores on all performance indicators. He is visiting Professor at University College London and at the University of Westminster.

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