This was a randomized, controlled, prospective study in normal adults comparing the efficacy of yoga with a control group practicing physical exercises. This study has demonstrated that an eight weeks-long intervention of an integrated yoga module improved and self esteem.
McNemar’s test, a nonparametric test, is used to determine if the changes of yoga group (predominance of a guna
, or its absence) noticed are significant. shows that there is a significant reduction in the manifestation of the Tamas
= 0.023)  and a marginally significant increase in the manifestation of the Sattva
= 0.064) in the Yoga group. The Rajas
type people however, did not change significantly. In the PE group, no significant changes are seen for any of the transition . Thus, in the Y group, there were a significant number (14) of subjects who shifted from nonSattva
type, and from Tamas
to non Tamas
(18). The upward trend in the central tendency of the scores on the GIN seems to be quite consistent with the Gita concept. This concept proposes that the Gunas
initially vary in their dominance in determining the personality of an individual (canto 14),[16
] but that gradually the individual’s personality mostly settles on one of the Gunas
] and ultimately, though very slowly, through a sort of moral evolution, moves from Tamas
, and finally goes beyond the Gunas
and attains liberation (cantos 7 and 14).[17
] This trend of shift towards an increase in Sattva
and a decrease in Tamas
after eight weeks of integrated yoga practices, but not after PE, is clearly demonstrated in this study.
Cross-tabulation of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas before and after in the PE group
Effect size for Self esteem domains
Furthermore, in the famous scriptural text, the Gita
indicates a specific behavioral style. Sattva
indicates purity, wisdom, bliss, serenity, love of knowledge, spiritual excellence, and such other noble and sublime qualities. Rajas
indicates egoism, activity, restlessness, and hankering after mundane things such as wealth, power, valor, and comforts. Tamas
implies qualities such as bias, heedlessness, and inertia, besides perversion in taste, thought and action.[14
are said to be the manifestations of a violent state of mind in which a person lacks mastery over upsurges of emotions and impulsive behavior. Yoga is known to be useful in promoting positive health at the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual domains, which results in becoming energetic, confident, masterful over the sense organs, possessing harmony and coordination between right and left brain functions, as well as becoming stress-free. These are attributed to the calmness of the mind leading to forbearance and stability of the nervous system,[24
] which are the qualities of a Sattva
A similar study by Dasa[25
] was conducted by the use of mahamantra
(chanting of a specific pious chant) and the Vedic Personality Inventory in a three-armed, randomized, prospective, controlled study on 62 volunteers. They showed that the mahamantra
group had increased Sattva
and decreased Tamas
with no significant change in Rajas
scores, which is also a measure of the three Gunas
. In their study, they also showed a significant reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression after a month of chanting mahamantra
, 20 minutes daily for four weeks. The present study has also demonstrated a significant improvement in Sattva
scores and a reduction in Rajas
in females and seniors, which was not found in the earlier study conducted by Dasa. This difference would be because of the inclusion of Asanas
in addition to the meditation technique in the present study, whereas the mahamantra
study was mainly a form of meditation.
In the self esteem components, the Yoga group showed significant increases in GSE, MSE, and BPA whereas the physical exercises group showed significant increases in only one subscale of self esteem—COM . Although there is a statistically significant difference in the mean scores of these parameters before and after intervention for both groups, it is the measure of the effect size that is relevant. The concept of effect size in populations for a parameter is a concept that was first introduced by the sociologist, Cohen.[26
] The effect size is an absolute measure of the difference that exists between populations for a parameter. shows that the effect sizes are clearly larger for the group that practised yoga.
Descriptive statistics for self esteem
An analysis based on gender showed significant changes in Y group females for GSE, MSE, SSE, and FSE and for PE group females for COM. In males, significant changes were observed in BPA in the PE Group. Age analysis showed differences within the two age groups (≤ 24 and > 24 years). The older group showed better changes than the younger group within the Yoga group. In the younger age group, most significant changes observed in the PE group were for COM and BPA. In the older group, significant changes observed in the Yoga group were for GSE, MSE, SSE, and FSE .
Descriptive statistics for self esteem: Age and gender distributions
Relatively better changes in the Y group (compared to PE) can be noted in the GSC (general appraisal of the self based on the evolution of all parts of one’s self) and MSC (which is the reflection of feeling good, as in being honest, sincere, adhering to social values etc.) domains . The practice of breathing exercises, pranayama
, and the systematic breathing during asanas
regularizes the breathing mechanism, trains the proper use of abdominal and chest muscles, and also improves the vital capacity and stamina, which in turn can influence better self esteem.[27
] Yogic breathing exercises positively affect the mood and they have clinical potential as self-control techniques for improving and stabilizing affective states.[28
COM (the ability to evaluate and understand one’s personal resources), BPA (body image as a contribution of physical appearance and capabilities) in younger groups and BPA in males were significantly improved in the PE group. Atlantis et al
. studied the efficacy of exercise-based intervention of eight weeks’ duration in a population of Australian employees and showed that the intervention significantly improved the QoL in comparison to a waiting list control group (measured by SF-20). They showed an improvement of 12.8% in physical functioning, 9.90% in general health, 44.50% in vitality, and 15.90% in mental health scores.[22
Thus, Yoga helps in the improvement in Gunas (personality) and self esteem. These findings reveal that Yoga has greater influence on holistic personality growth (Gunas) when compared to routine physical exercise. Hence, it can be considered independently to promote quality of life and health, prevent chronic diseases, and to promote socio-economic development.
Finally, the fact that there were no significant correlations between the Gita Inventory and the parameters of the Self Esteem questionnaire is noteworthy. This lack of correlation between the two instruments shows that they measure orthogonal qualities.
Furthermore, we can observe that, like physical exercise, Yoga is traditionally acceptable in India, is easy and cost-effective to perform, and has become popular around the globe. Yet another point of this design is a matched intervention in the form of exercises. However, a third group with no intervention would have given greater insights to the comparisons.
In summary, this randomized interventional study has shown that the improvement in the Yoga group is more when compared to the physical exercises’ group for all the Gunas, with accompanying promotion of positive health and self esteem. This study thus provides scientific evidence to consider yoga as an independent practice that can be beneficial in improving one’s quality of life.