Gary Kraftsow, MA, E-RYT 500, Founder and Director of the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI) and Mary Hilliker, RD, E-RYT 500, CYT, AVI Director of Administration, presented at the International Association of Yoga Therapists Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research on September 3, 2011 in Monterey, CA.
Gary discussed an overview of the Aetna, Inc Mind-Body Pilot that included the Viniyoga Stress Reduction Program as an intervention for chronic and high stress. The 12-week worksite program was conducted between March and May 2010 at Aetna worksites in Hartford, CT and Walnut Creek, CA.
The intervention resulted in statistically significant changes in perceived stress, sleep, blood pressure and autonomic balance over controls.
Gary discussed the Viniyoga tools used in the intervention as well as the rationale for use of specific asana and breath adaptation approaches for impacting symptoms of stress and the autonomic nervous system.
Mary discussed the logistics of the Viniyoga arm of the study and the qualitative evaluation of the Viniyoga Stress Reduction Program. Gary and Mary discussed lessons learned based on feedback from participants and classroom teachers.
Gary led participants in a practice that demonstrated intervention strategies used in the pilot to impact stress and symptoms of stress.
The Viniyoga Stress Reduction Program is currently taught by AVI-trained Viniyoga teachers at Aetna locations in Hartford, CT, Walnut Creek, CA, Portland, ME, New Albany, OH, Highpoint, NC, Fresno, CA, Plantation, FL and Phoenix, AZ. Aetna, Inc. continues to collect data for additional study.