Yoga program aims to help people love their brains

Published: Jan. 1, 2020 at 2:27 PM EST
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Suffering a traumatic brain injury can be debilitating, leading to a wide variety of health issues. Our Avery Powell looks at a yoga program in our area that's working to help people heal.

"I don't care if you're laying in bed. There's yoga for you," Pete Daigle said.

Daigle suffered a severe traumatic brain injury years ago leading to a coma, weight loss and even paralyzation.

Through his healing, he discovered LoveYourBrain Yoga.

"We do a lot of modifications to support with improving balance, the pace of our classes is slow and consistent to prevent people from feeling confused or experiencing challenges following the instructions," said Kyla Pearce, the senior director of the LoveYourBrain Yoga program.

It's an evidence-based six-week series for people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

The LoveYourBrain Foundation was started by Pearce's husband, Adam, and his brother, former Olympic snowboarder Kevin Pearce, after Kevin's severe brain injury while training for the 2010 Olympics.

A study last year through the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth College found the program shows positive results.

"People are experiencing higher quality of life, more positivity, greater resilience, so greater ability to adapt to adversity and improvements in their cognition," Kyla Pearce said.

Daigle has seen those results at the classes taught at Sangha Studio in Burlington, the first studio to do LoveYourBrain Yoga.

"When you have a brain injury, certain things don't work a certain way. People say, 'Well, I can't do what she's doing.' Well, it's not about what another person's doing. It's about doing what works for you," Daigle said.

"I think it's just a part of what we wanted yoga to be. We wanted it to be a place where everybody wanted community and connected to one another," said Abi Maviricke of Sangha Studio.

The program is free and the next six-week series at Sangha studios starts Jan. 8. Mighty Yoga in New Hampshire is also hosting LoveYourBrain starting Jan. 20.