Some of the comments made by respondents on survey forms:
- "I always sleep better after yoga which in turn leads to an improvement in my symptoms."
- "I'm not well enough to come every week but I value the classes enormously. The social contact at the class is as therapeutic as the actual yoga.."
- "I love coming to the group and find it highly beneficial both physically and socially."
- "I think that yoga, especially Iyengar yoga, is key in my recovery and helps me to adapt to my reduced energy levels. The sessions themselves are so restful and inspire me to practise at home, and integrate into my pacing routine. Yoga … has helped me to accept where I am at the moment and given me the confidence to believe that I can heal myself. Thank you."
- "I think the classes are excellent. I don't know what I'd do without them. The new Iyengar classes are fantastic. It's great to have 2 different styles of yoga available."
Feedback from non–attenders
Previous surveys have shown that even among those members who are not able to attend the classes, people appreciate that the classes exist, because they provide a goal to aim for when well enough and they also find the information useful. This survey did not include this group, but telephone feedback during 2006 from some non–attenders confirmed the yoga classes were a goal to aim for when they were well enough, and that the bulletin, website and library resources were useful. The provision of taxis makes yoga a realistic goal for non–attenders, understanding that they can easily reach the venues.
Comments included the following:
- "I find the bulletin very useful, especially the reviews. I use the library a lot, especially for yoga nidra CDs, and I practise these once or twice a day at home."
- "I've found the yoga books and audio tapes in the library very helpful and as a result I can practise yoga relaxation techniques at home. I find the reviews in the bulletin extremely useful."
Again, the findings of this survey have been very positive.
The Iyengar yoga classes which were developed this year are popular and the number of members attending has increased throughout the year. Comments reflect the therapeutic value of this style of yoga.
The social interaction for those members attending the classes has proved to be invaluable as many have been chronically ill for years and are socially isolated. Only one respondent placed no value on the support and interaction provided by the group.
All of those surveyed felt that yoga helped them to manage their illness better to some extent, by helping to achieve the right balance between rest and activity. 85% of people report that yoga helps to manage their illness "a great deal" or "quite a lot". None of those surveyed felt that it didn't help at all.
Although yoga is not a cure for ME/CFS, approximately 92% of respondents felt that there had been some improvement in their symptoms since attending the sessions. The importance of the health benefits of the yoga are hard to overstate, since there are few alternatives available which are either accessible or beneficial for many people with ME/CFS.
This year, we have monitored members' practice of yoga at home and 89% of people use yoga techniques at home. Resources made available through a postal library, which can help with practising yoga and deep relaxation at home, have also been appreciated by our members, including non–attenders.
We provide regular bulletins and information on our website for all members, including non–attenders, and the bulletins are proven to be invaluable by a majority of members. Respondents also find the website useful, but as expected the numbers are lower as not all members have access to a computer or, as a result of their illness, some are unable to use one.
Sheffield Yoga for ME/CFS provides an invaluable and unique service for people with a chronic, debilitating illness. The positive feedback from members reflects the important help and support that it provides.
Sheffield Yoga for ME/CFS, November 2006
Registered Charity No. 1117464