LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Over the years, yoga has exploded in the U.S. with classes being offered all across central Arkansas. Yoga is often credited with helping people gain strength and reduce stress.

Now, a new class coming to one North Little Rock yoga studio is doing much more. It's helping people recover from traumatic brain injuries. 

For years, people of all backgrounds have sat in classes at Blue Yoga Nyla in North Little Rock. Now, the yoga studio is hoping new people will sit in on their classes; people who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). 

This particular condition is personal for Blue Yoga Nyla’s owner, Stacey Reynolds. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with a TBI and it changed her life.

“I ended up with post-concussion syndrome,” she said. “I have had struggles with not being able to regulate my intense emotions and needing to get a therapy dog for a lot of different things,” Reynolds said. “It made it so that people I’ve known for 20 years, I wouldn't know their name when they walked into the room.”

Reynolds said yoga has helped her heal.

“TBIs cause a lot of stress, anxiety, decreased cognitive function, pain, and confusion,” she said. “The yoga helps with many of those symptoms.”

National organizations like the Love Your Brain Foundation have been researching yoga as a form of healing for TBI patients. They have been working with Dartmouth College to see how it helps and why. Their research has been so promising, the foundation decided to launch a national yoga program for TBI patients. 

Now, their free six-week yoga program is coming to Blue Yoga Nyla. Reynolds and another instructor went through intensive training to bring it to Arkansas.

The class is intended to help people heal in a number of ways. One unique way is through connection. The class will foster relationships and conversation between people experiencing traumatic brain injuries.

“They’ll be able to talk to other people who are having similar experiences and similar symptoms,” Reynolds said. “I don't want people to suffer alone; I want them to know there is a community and support system here.”

Reynolds hopes TBI patients and those closest to them can now breathe a little better knowing additional help is coming soon.

“Because this is personal to me, I’m going to pour everything I’ve got into it,” Reynolds said.

The new program starts in January 2019 and runs for six weeks. The classes are free of charge for those with TBI’s and for their caretakers. The series will be offered four times a year. During times when the series is not in session, Reynolds said she will offer ongoing “Love Your Brain friendly” classes at a reduced rate of five dollars per class.

For more information on these classes and Blue Yoga Nyla visit their website.