Project Yoga MOV was founded in 2017 by the owners of Full Circle Yoga, Cheryl and Patrick McHugh with the mission of bringing the therapeutic benefits of yoga to the Parkersburg area for individuals who are underserved. The all-volunteer organization consists of a Board of Directors, Executive Director, Program Manager, and trained yoga instructors.
"Our clients are those who would not traditionally seek-out yoga," said Cheryl McHugh, Project Yoga MOV's Board Chair. "There are so many benefits of yoga, both mentally and physically, and we want to expose individuals to those benefits."
Currently, with the help certified and trained yoga instructors, Project Yoga MOV provides service to citizens in Wood, Pleasants, and Washington counties in the Mid-Ohio Valley region. Through their work, the Mid-Ohio Fellowship Home, Wood County Senior Center, St. Mary's Correctional Center, Parkersburg Correctional Center, Boys & Girls Club of Parkersburg, and area elementary, middle, and high schools have introduced yoga to their clients/students. In addition to these sessions, Project Yoga MOV, with the help of the VET Center, has also introduced yoga to local Vietnam veterans.
"Our yoga instructors have completed 200+ hours of yoga training, in addition to a Trauma Sensitive training," said Cheryl McHugh. "We are not here to say what level is your trauma - trauma is trauma. We are here to provide the benefits of yoga, to help with thought and emotional processing and to teach individuals to breath consciously and feel. All of these elements together can make a positive difference for an individual."
Steve Barnhart, Project Yoga MOV's Veterans Project Manager, can personally speak to the therapeutic benefits of yoga. A U.S. Army veteran, Barnhart said "I started yoga because my wife's doctors wanted her to try yoga as part of her chronic illness therapy. We started at a small studio where there were never more than three or four people in class. Much to my surprise, yoga was helping me more than it was my wife. Wanting to expand my practice, I found Full Circle Yoga online. At first, I was intimidated because I didn't look like anyone in the pictures online, but once I finally went to a class at Full Circle Yoga, I discovered the peaceful and non-judgmental people inside. Yoga and Cheryl and Patrick helped me deal with long-standing PTSD/Moral Injury and have truly made a difference in my life. Now I am advocating for others to attend sessions and helping other veterans experience the positive release that comes with yoga."
Every Monday at 6:00 p.m. Combat Vietnam veterans are invited to the VET Center in Parkersburg for a private group yoga session. Additional veteran group sessions are being arranged. To learn more, contact Project Yoga MOV.
To solidify their commitment to the Mid-Ohio Valley region, Project Yoga MOV established an endowment fund with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation that will forever provide operating support for the organization.
"The Foundation has a respected reputation in our community and this new endowment fund will help ensure that our organization has annual funding to help us continue our mission," said Patrick McHugh, Project Yoga MOV's Executive Director. "We encourage individuals who are interested in helping Project Yoga MOV with our mission to contact us to learn how they can get involved and make a difference in someone's life."
Individuals who would like to learn more about Project Yoga MOV are encouraged to email Patrick McHugh. Individuals wishing to donate to support the new Project Yoga MOV Endowment Fund can make their donation by sending a check (payable to PACF with the fund name in the memo line) to: PACF, PO Box 1762, Parkersburg, WV 26102 or click donate below.