CE Workshop | Integrating Yoga for Modern Wellbeing, Part 2: Perspectives and Learnings from Yoga in the VA

April 17, 2023

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About This Event

Across the world, communities and individuals are struggling with health on every level—biological, emotional, social, and physical— and research shows yoga can, and should, be used as part of the solution. During this 4-part series, we’ll explore different ways of integrating yoga in healthcare systems and hear success stories from around the world. In Part 2 of this series, we explore findings from the Department of Veterans Affairs in the United States, who has adopted a “Whole Health” approach within their healthcare system and how the program can be applied in other settings. This model supports greater inclusion and implementation of Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) practices. Yoga is one of the evidence-based approaches the Veteran's Health Administration (VHA) makes available, whether on-site, via telehealth, or through community care.

In this session, Alison Whitehead and Marlysa Sullivan will discuss the impact yoga has had within VA’s Whole Health system. They’ll share insights on implementation and support strategies, as well as lessons learned from obstacles they met along the way.

Join us for this exciting conversation. You’ll learn:

  • What “Whole Health” means at the VHA and how this system supports a focus on overall well-being
  • Important research findings and therapeutic benefits that helped support the growth of yoga as a complementary and integrative health intervention, especially within the Veteran community
  • Support strategies for yoga program implementation and learnings from obstacles along the way that can support you, no matter what community you’d like to encourage yoga in

About the Presenters

Alison Whitehead has a master’s degree in public health and is trained as a yoga teacher and therapist, mindfulness facilitator, and personal trainer. Alison is the Program Lead for the VA Integrative Health Coordinating Center (IHCC) in the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation. In this role Ms. Whitehead leads development of programs, trainings, and policy for integrative health implementation across the VA system as a part of the VA’s Whole Health System transformation. Alison recently completed a 3-year term on the Board of Directors of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health (ACIMH). In her free time, Alison enjoys spending time outdoors and moving her body through hiking, biking, running, soccer and yoga.

Marlysa Sullivan is a physical therapist, yoga teacher and therapist. She is the author of two books: Understanding Yoga Therapy: Applied Philosophy and Science for Well-being and Yoga and Science for Pain Care. She has developed yoga therapy coursework in the areas of applied yoga philosophy as well as working with populations with chronic pain conditions and currently teaches in yoga therapy programs including Optimal State, Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy, and the Minded Institute. She has peer-reviewed research on topics of polyvagal theory, philosophical frameworks for yoga, and yoga for working with chronic pain populations. At the VA Marlysa works with Alison as a yoga subject matter expert as well as a mindfulness movement coordinator for the Empower Veterans Program which is a remotely delivered interdisciplinary program for chronic pain.

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