? YOGA JOURNAL: What makes Y4C unique?
KATHRYN THOMAS: Through our programs, we collect both quantitative and qualitative data used for research at Boston University. This includes measuring self-compassion, anxiety, post-traumatic growth, sleep, wellness, and mental health before and after our programming. The impact shown through the data has led to our programs being used in court sentencing. Fourth Circuit judges are now sentencing individuals to Yoga 4 Change programming, like the way they sentence individuals to anger management or domestic violence prevention programs. ? YJ: How did this partnership with Boston University get started?
KT: I met researcher Danielle Rousseau through work with the Yoga Service Council. We enjoyed working together and hoped to one day do a research evaluation of Yoga 4 Change. Once we formed a partnership, we were able to secure funding for the study. ? YJ: What does healing look like at Y4C?
KT: There was a woman who came into one of our classes with scars from her wrists to her elbows. She breathed with us and did one Upward-Facing Dog, and she stood up and said, “Oh, my God. I feel my hips. I’ve never felt my hips.” I came to learn she was involved in human trafficking. She had so much trauma in her life, and she’d blocked off sensation as a coping technique. Through yoga, she was able to feel her body in a new and positive way—that’s why we do this.