Case Studies

Flip-Chips in Military Study

Sponsored by Yogaflipchip, Professor Erin Phillips and five St. Ambrose University graduate students are conducting cutting-edge research into how yoga impacts military members' quality of life and occupational patterns -- especially those who are struggling to adjust and fulfill their potential in meaningful occupations.

"We, as occupational therapy students have chose to focus our research on yoga as a method to facilitate engagement in meaningful occupations," says Regan McLaughlin, graduate student. "Research on yoga has been shown to improve physical, emotional, and spiritual states of well-being, which goes hand-in-hand with the holistic approach that occupational therapy is centered on. Our hypothesis for this research is to add to the growing body of evidence that yoga can significantly improve quality of life and facilitate the development of healthy occupational patterns in military personnel." The flip-chip was an integral part of the study, whose findings will be published later in the year. 

"I loved teaching a class using the flip-chips! They allowed me peace of mind and not having to worry about remembering who wanted to be adjusted that day or not. The participants enjoyed the flip-chips as well! One participant stated she liked the flip-chips because each day she could decide if she wanted adjustments or not. She has been in yoga classes before where the yoga instructor made too aggressive of adjustments. This gave the participants the freedom of choice in their yoga practice. Yoga practice, especially trauma sensitive yoga classes, are all about the freedom of choice. Teaching a class of active duty military, it is almost guaranteed that someone in the class has experienced trauma. Trauma takes away the ability of choice for a certain time period. It can be someone has been sexually assaulted, and during the assault, they lost the ability to choose what happened to their body. For someone who has been deployed and has been shot at or involved in a blast, at that quick second of a moment, they lost all ability to choose. This is why yoga and the flip-chips allow a safe place for these military members to exercise their ability to choose. For an hour, they get to choose how they treat their body and how others treat their body. It provides a place of respite where, for just an hour, they don't have to worry about someone doing something to them that they don't want done. Now they get to be in charge, and it can be very empowering. This is one reason why yoga helps those who have experienced trauma, and the use of the yoga flip-chips aids in this healing process.

Some people love adjustments, while others don't. As yoga instructors we have to be mindful when making adjustments. When we give adjustments, we are transferring our energy into the practicing yogi. We want to make sure adjustments are helpful and not harmful. A harmful adjustment is not the same for everyone. The same adjustment to two people may be harmful to one and helpful to another. This is why instructors need to get to know their clients well. The flip-chip provides that outward cue of not wanting to be touched. The person doesn't have to explain their reasoning and it is a non-intimidating way of saying "no thank you." The person doesn't have to worry about raising their hand and having others see they don't want to be adjusted; it is discrete, yet empowering. I had yogis that would one day want adjustments and another day not want adjustments. Some would even change their flip-chip for different poses. The flip-chips give the yogis the power for more choice. When asking yogis if they want adjustments at the beginning of class, they only get to choose from two answers, "yes" or "no." With the flip-chip, they get to choose on each pose if they want adjustments or not. It gives yogis more choice in their adjustments.

I like to personally hand out the flip-chips at the beginning of each class. This ensures everyone gets one and doesn't make it awkward for people afraid to grab one off a desk when checking in. Then nobody knows who wants adjustments and who doesn't. It also gives me time to talk to each person if they have a desire to share any information with me.

I will always use the yoga flip-chips in every class I teach! Thank you Yogaflipchip for giving yogis the power to choose!"

Calista Crouthamel, graduate student

Flip-Chips in Social Work

Dr. Nicole Fava, an Assistant Professor in the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work at Florida International University, is currently using Flip-Chips in a bi-weekly yoga class she co-facilitates for women living in a residential treatment and recovery program who have been victims of sex trafficking. Fava’s program of research bridges the fields of healthy youth development, sexuality, and trauma with an emphasis on resilience and holistic approaches to wellness. Fava has a strong interdisciplinary background, including training in holistic evidence-based intervention models such as trauma-informed yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and meditation.

She is interested in the ways in which these interventions can help resolve traumatic memories and alleviate symptoms associated with trauma and adverse childhood experiences.

Florida has the 3rd largest number of human trafficking cases in the nation and one of the highest mortality rates associated with childhood maltreatment. In addition to traditional supplies needed for a yoga class, Fava knew the Flip-Chips were an essential tool in ensuring a safe and empowering yoga class. While taking yoga classes in Ann Arbor, MI, Fava experienced the dynamic and powerful voice that these chips provided.

They allow all students to explicitly provide consent for physical adjustments, and this consent can change multiple times throughout a class, without a student ever feeling coerced or singled out. Regardless of whether an individual has a trauma history, everyone deserves the right to feel safe, to be intimately connected to their yoga practice, and to maintain a sense of control over their yoga experience.

“I would not consider holding a yoga class or designing a trauma-informed yoga program that did not require the use of flip-chips. They deliver the message: you are welcomed, accepted, and respected just as you are—a message everyone deserves to hear, especially before stepping onto their mat” ~ Dr. Fava

Dr. Fava joined FIU Stempel College in 2015. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the School of Social Work, University at Buffalo, New York.