World Spine Care Yoga Project – Spring 2018 Update

Unique in the both the yoga and the NGO communities, the World Spine Care Yoga Project brings the practices of posture, breath work, and mindfulness as tools for pain management and active self-care to patients in World Spine Care clinics.

Launched in the Shoshong and Mahalapye clinics in 2016, the Yoga Project trains local people, in many cases former clinic patients, to become teachers. Graduates of our training offer free, weekly yoga classes to patients of World Spine Care.

The Yoga Project empowers patients with simple and effective tools to manage pain, increase mobility and lessen the chance of reoccurrence. By training teachers in the local communities the Yoga Project is not only sustainable and low-cost, it also builds local capacity and provides the ongoing psychosocial support that is so essential in the management of spinal pain.

Erin Moon & Barrie Risman, Co-creators of the World Spine Care Yoga Project

This year, Co-directors Erin Moon and Barrie Risman have been hard at work expanding and sharing the work of the Yoga Project.

Here are some highlights of their busy and fruitful year:


In line with our vision that everyone, everywhere has access to the practices of yoga as a tool for active self-care and pain management, we’ve been sharing the protocol we’ve developed for World Spine with yoga teachers in New York, Ottawa, and Montreal. Our trainings in Yoga for Limited Mobility and Pain Management have been met with great interest and support! Teachers are inspired to share these practices with their own local communities. Proceeds from these trainings go to support the work of the Yoga Project.


We’re also excited to be expanding the work of the Yoga Project to serve a more general population of patients. Our teachers are ready to offer more classes for higher mobility patients. Responding to their needs, we’ll be offering a new Level 2 training for existing teachers in Shoshong later this month. This training will train our teachers to offer classes to serve a more general population in their local communities. The manuals we’ve created for our trainings are simple and highly visual, and can be adapted for use cross-culturally.


We’re thrilled to welcome two new volunteer teachers to our team of trainers. Letizzia Wastavino of Austria and Jesal Parikh of New York, both seasoned teachers with years of experience in the therapeutic applications of yoga, will be joining us in Botswana next month. They’ll be assisting Erin in training a new team of teachers in the Mahalapye clinic.


As a volunteer-run project, we’re always on the lookout for new avenues to share what we do and the great success we’ve had in implementing the Yoga Project.

We’re thrilled that once again this year, Erin will be presenting the research and evidence supporting yoga as an effective tool for pain management at the upcoming Botswana Spine Care Conference in Gabarone, Botswana.

This May, we’ll both be serving on the faculty of the upcoming Yoga Service Council Conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, where we’ll have the opportunity to share the successes and effectiveness of the Yoga Project with other organizations involved in Yoga Service.

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