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S05: Development of the EPYQ: An Important New Tool for Yoga Research

10:45 - 12:00, Monroe, Terrace Level

Crystal Park (1), A. Rani Elwy (2), Erik Groessl (3)

(1): University of Connecticut, United States                                         

(2): Boston University School of Medicine, United States

(3): University of California San Diego (UCSD), United States



Most research reports regarding the effects of yoga on health and well-being do not clearly describe “yoga”, but leave it as a black box. Thus, drawing comparisons across studies or understanding the relative effects of specific aspects of a yoga intervention are currently impossible.  To address this problem, we created the EPYQ Project, an NCCAM-funded set of studies to develop a translational tool for yoga researchers.  In this symposium, we will present information on this tool, which will allow yoga researchers to more clearly describe their interventions and thus advance the scientific study of yoga.  The symposium is comprised of three talks.  Crystal Park will present the overview of the project, emphasizing the impetus for this project as based in the limitations of current literature, including the lack of clarity and specificity in much of the yoga research. She will discuss the advantages of using this measure in describing yoga interventions. She will conclude with a discussion of the variety of new studies that will be possible once its development is complete. Rani Elwy will discuss the results of study Phases I and II. Phase I comprised nine focus groups of yoga students and teachers across the United States (in Boston, San Diego, northwestern Pennsylvania and southeastern Connecticut).  Results yielded a broad overview of the factors regarded as essential to yoga.  From a comprehensive literature review and focus group results, we developed the prototype measure and conducted cognitive interviews.  Dr. Erik Groessl will describe preliminary results of Phase III, in which we administered the measure to 450 yoga practitioners to describe a yoga session and analyzed the primary dimensions of yoga sessions (e.g., postures, breathwork, spirituality, meditation). Collectively, these studies will inform yoga researchers about an important new tool that will assist in their work.