Research Article| Volume 106, 107041, May 2020

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Exploring perceived benefits, motives, barriers, and recommendations for prescribing yoga exercises as a nonpharmacological intervention for patients with epilepsy: A qualitative study from Palestine

  • Ramzi Shawahna
    Corresponding author at: Department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, New Campus, Building: 19, Office: 1340, P.O. Box 7, Nablus, Palestine.
    Department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine

    An-Najah BioSciences Unit, Centre for Poisons Control, Chemical and Biological Analyses, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
    Search for articles by this author
  • Imad Abdelhaq
    Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Teachers' Training, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
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      • Yoga might play a role in stabilizing the electroencephalogram and the autonomic nervous system in people with epilepsy.
      • Experiences of patients with regard to benefits, motives, barriers, and recommendations of yoga were explored.
      • Perceived benefits of yoga included improvements in management of seizures, psychological, physical, and social well-being.
      • The interviewees recommended tailoring yoga sessions to the needs of people with epilepsy.



      Yoga is believed to play a role in stabilizing the electroencephalogram and the autonomic nervous system, thus might help control seizures in people with epilepsy (PWE). This qualitative study was conducted to explore experiences of Palestinian PWE with regard to benefits, motives, barriers, and recommendations of prescribing yoga exercises as a nonpharmacological intervention.


      Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used to recruit PWE who practiced yoga. Semi-structured in-depth interviews (n = 18) were conducted with the study participants. The interpretive description method was used to qualitatively analyze the data collected during the interviews.


      Following the thematic analysis adopted for this study, four major themes emerged. These themes were as follows: perceived benefits of yoga, motives to practice yoga, barriers to practice yoga, and recommendations on effective yoga practice for PWE. The perceived benefits included improvements in management of seizures, psychological, physical, and social well-being. People with epilepsy were motivated by the health benefits of yoga. Barriers of adherence to practice included personal and logistic factors. The interviewees recommended tailoring yoga sessions to the needs of PWE.


      This explorative qualitative study reported perceived benefits, motives, barriers, and recommendations of yoga as a nonpharmacological intervention for PWE. People with epilepsy used yoga as a beneficial nonpharmacological intervention to improve their health and reduce the negative effects of epilepsy on their physical and psychosocial well-being. Future studies are needed to investigate the health benefits of yoga when sessions are tailored to the needs of PWE.


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