Although high levels of subjective well-being (SWB) are common in old age, a subset of older individuals is disproportionately vulnerable to negative affect. Yoga has been shown to have many short-term benefits, but researchers have not determined whether a long-term or frequent yoga practice increasingly protects older women from low levels of psychological well-being.
The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which psychological attitudes, transcendence, mental mastery, and subjective vitality in a sample of female yoga practitioners over 45 years varied according to the length and frequency of yoga practice.
Materials and Methods:
We administered online surveys to a non-probability sample of 211 female yoga practitioners 45 to 80. We used weighted least squares regression analyses to evaluate the relationship of extent of yoga experience to the outcome variables after accounting for age and lifestyle factors.
Participants had practiced yoga for as long as 50 years and for up to 28 h per week. There were significant positive relationships between yoga experience and all outcome variables. These significant relationships remained after accounting for age and lifestyle factors. When we computed yoga experience in terms of total calendar years, without accounting for hours of practice, significant relationships did not remain. Transcendence of the ordinary was the most strongly associated with current yoga practice frequency, and positive psychological attitudes were the most strongly associated with total lifetime hours of practice.
Among a non-probability sample of female yoga practitioners between 45 and 80 years, increased yoga experience predicted increased levels of psychological well-being. Results showed a dose-response effect, with yoga experience exercising an increasingly protective effect against low levels of SWB and vitality.
Aging; vitality; well-being; women; yoga
Yoga has been shown to have many short-term health benefits, but little is known about the extent to which these benefits accrue over a long time frame or with frequent practice.
The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which body mass index (BMI) and medication use in a sample of female yoga practitioners over 45 years varied according to the length and frequency of yoga practice.
Materials and Methods:
We administered online surveys to 211 female yoga practitioners aged 45 to 80 years. We used regression analyses to evaluate the relationship of extent of yoga experience to both BMI and medication use after accounting for age and lifestyle factors. We also conducted comparisons with 182 matched controls.
Participants had practiced yoga for as long as 50 years and for up to 28 hours per week. There were significant inverse relationships between yoga experience and both BMI and medication load. These significant relationships remained after accounting for age and lifestyle factors. When we computed yoga experience in terms of total calendar years, without accounting for hours of practice, significant relationships did not remain. However, there was no obesity in the 49 participants with more than 25 years of yoga practice. Yoga practitioners were less likely than non-practitioners to use medication for metabolic syndrome, mood disorders, inflammation, and pain.
A long-term yoga practice was associated with little or no obesity in a non-probability sample of women over 45 years. Relationships showed a dose-response effect, with increased yoga experience predicting lower BMI and reduced medication use.
Yoga; medication use; aging; healthy aging; women; body mass index
The metabolic rate is an indicator of autonomic activity. Reduced sympathetic arousal probably resulting in hypometabolic states has been reported in several yogic studies.
The main objective of this study was to assess the effect of yoga training on diurnal metabolic rates in yoga practitioners at two different times of the day (at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.).
Materials and Methods:
Eighty eight healthy volunteers were selected and their metabolic rates assessed at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. using an indirect calorimeter at a yoga school in Bangalore, India. Results and conclusions: The results show that the average metabolic rate of the yoga group was 12% lower than that of the non-yoga group (P < 0.001) measured at 9 p.m. and 16% lower at 6 a.m. (P < 0.001). The 9 p.m. metabolic rates of the yoga group were almost equal to their predicted basal metabolic rates (BMRs) whereas the metabolic rate was significantly higher than the predicted BMR for the non-yoga group. The 6 a.m. metabolic rate was comparable to their predicted BMR in the non-yoga group whereas it was much lower in the yoga group (P < 0.001). The lower metabolic rates in the yoga group at 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. may be due to coping strategies for day-to-day stress, decreased sympathetic nervous system activity and probably, a stable autonomic nervous system response (to different stressors) achieved due to training in yoga.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR); decreased arousal response; yoga; yoga training
Stress is often associated with an increased occurrence of autonomic, cardiovascular, and immune system pathology. This study was done to evaluate the impact of stress on psychological, physiological parameters, and immune system during medical term -academic examination and the effect of yoga practices on the same.
Materials and Methods:
The study was carried out on sixty first-year MBBS students randomly assigned to yoga group and control group (30 each). The yoga group underwent integrated yoga practices for 35 minutes daily in the presence of trained yoga teacher for 12 weeks. Control group did not undergo any kind of yoga practice or stress management. Physiological parameters like heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure were measured. Global Assessment of Recent Stress Scale and Spielbergers State Anxiety score were assessed at baseline and during the examination. Serum cortisol levels, IL-4, and IFN-γ levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique.
In the yoga group, no significant difference was observed in physiological parameters during the examination stress, whereas in the control group, a significant increase was observed. Likewise, the indicators of psychological stress showed highly significant difference in control group compared with significant difference in yoga group. During the examination, the increase in serum cortical and decrease in serum IFN-γ in yoga group was less significant (P<0.01) than in the control group (P<0.001). Both the groups demonstrated an increase in serum IL-4 levels, the changes being insignificant for the duration of the study.
Yoga resists the autonomic changes and impairment of cellular immunity seen in examination stress.
Cell-mediated immune responses; IL-4; IFN-γ; state anxiety score; stress; yoga
The objective of the current study was to find out whether yoga practice was beneficial to the spine by comparing degenerative disc disease in the spines of long-time yoga practitioners and non-yoga practicing controls, using an objective measurement tool, magnetic resonance imaging. This matched case–control study comprised 18 yoga instructors with teaching experience of more than 10 years and 18 non-yoga practicing asymptomatic individuals randomly selected from a health checkup database. A validated grading scale was used to grade the condition of cervical and lumbar discs seen in magnetic resonance imaging of the spine, and the resulting data analyzed statistically. The mean number of years of yoga practice for the yoga group was 12.9 ± 7.5. The overall (cervical + lumbar) disc scores of the yoga group were significantly lower (indicating less degenerative disc disease) than those of the control group (P < 0.001). The scores for the cervical vertebral discs of the yoga group were also significantly lower than those of the control group (P < 0.001), while the lower scores for the yoga group in the lumbar group approached, but did not reach, statistical significance (P = 0.055). The scores for individual discs of yoga practitioners showed significantly less degenerative disease at three disc levels, C3/C4, L2/L3 and L3/L4 (P < 0.05). Magnetic resonance imaging showed that the group of long-term practitioners of yoga studied had significantly less degenerative disc disease than a matched control group.
Yoga; Disc degenerative disease (DDD); Neck pain; Low back pain; MRI
To assess the body, mind and spirit differences between yoga students compared with college students.
Materials and Methods:
Mind, body and spirit survey instruments administered to the two groups.
Five indicators to measure mental wellness were significantly different between yoga practitioners and college students. On three of these five measures, college students reported more mental wellness than yoga practitioners – in other words, the relationship was the inverse of what was expected. College students reported maintaining stability in their life more often than yoga practitioners as well as more often experiencing satisfying interpersonal relationships. College students were also more likely than yoga practitioners to report being tolerant of others, whether or not they approved of their behavior or beliefs. Yoga practitioners were more likely than college students to report having strong morals and healthy values as well as the ability to express their feelings and consider the feelings of others. We found differences between yoga practitioners and college students on more than half of our spirit items (five of nine). Yoga practitioners were more likely than college students to report expressing their spirituality appropriately and in healthy ways, recognizing the positive contribution faith could make to the quality of life (significant at the 0.07 level), routinely undertaking new experiences to enhance spiritual health and having a positive outlook on life. Further, we found support for the proposition that yoga practitioners were more likely to report experiencing happiness within.
Significant differences between yoga and college students were found on the body, mind and spirit measurement instrument. Further work needs to address the complexities of these relationships.
College students; wellness; yoga students
High level of stress, anxiety and depression is seen among medical students.
To assess the impact of brief structured yoga intervention on mental well being of MBBS students.
Materials and Methods:
The participants consisted of 82 MBBS students of 3rd semester in the age group of 18-23 years. The students were assessed at baseline and at the end of one month of specific yoga intervention by using General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28).
The students reported improvement in general and mental well being following the intervention and difference was found to be highly significant.
A short term specific yoga intervention may be effective in improving general and mental well being in MBBS students. It is feasible and practical to include yoga practice in block postings of community medicine.
Asana; General Health Questionnaire-28; mental well being; pranayama; yoga
Beneficial effects of Yoga have been postulated to be due to modulation of the autonomic nervous system.
To assess the effect of Isha Yoga practices on cardiovascular autonomic nervous system through short-term heart rate variability (HRV).
Design of the Study:
Short-term HRV of long-term regular healthy 14 (12 males and 2 females) Isha Yoga practitioners was compared with that of age- and gender-matched 14 (12 males and 2 females) non-Yoga practitioners.
Methods and Materials:
ECG Lead II and respiratory movements were recorded in both groups using Polyrite during supine rest for 5 min and controlled deep breathing for 1 minute. Frequency domain analysis [RR interval is the mean of distance between subsequent R wave peaks in ECG], low frequency (LF) power, high frequency (HF) power, LF normalized units (nu), HF nu, LF/HF ratio] and time domain analysis [Standard Deviation of normal to normal interval (SDNN), square of mean squared difference of successive normal to normal intervals (RMSSD), normal to normal intervals which are differing by 50 ms (NN50), and percentage of NN50 (pNN50)] of HRV variables were analyzed for supine rest. Time domain analysis was recorded for deep breathing.
Results showed statistically significant differences between Isha Yoga practitioners and controls in both frequency and time domain analyses of HRV indices, with no difference in resting heart rate between the groups.
Practitioners of Isha Yoga showed well-balanced beneficial activity of vagal efferents, an overall increased HRV, and sympathovagal balance, compared to non-Yoga practitioners during supine rest and deep breathing.
Cardiovascular ANS; heart rate variability; Isha Yoga
This article provides a review of literature both to identify the effects of yoga-based therapy on the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus and to examine the social context of physical activity. Findings from the review indicate that yoga has a positive short-term effect on multiple diabetes-related outcomes; however, long-term effects of yoga therapy on diabetes management remain unclear. The context of the social environment, including interpersonal relationships, community characteristics, and discrimination, influences the adoption and maintenance of health behaviors such as physical activity, including yoga practice. Further research is necessary to determine the extent of this influence.
discrimination; physical activity; social environment; type 2 diabetes mellitus; yoga
The concerns of caregivers of patients with neurological disorders have been a felt need for a long time, with many of them experiencing significant psychiatric morbidity.
This study aimed to find the effect of yoga in reducing anxiety and depression, as well as improving quality-of-life in caregivers of patients with neurological disorders.
Settings and Design:
The study was conducted using a randomized controlled design, with yoga intervention and waitlisted controls.
Sixty consenting caregivers of inpatients in neurology wards were randomized into two groups: Yoga and control. Demographic variables except years of education and length of caretaking were comparable in the two groups, as also baseline scores of anxiety, depression and quality-of-life. A specific yoga module comprising yogāsanas, prāṇāyāma, and chanting was taught to the participants in the yoga group by the researcher. At follow-up 43 patients (yoga n=20 and control group n=23) were available. Two-way repeated measures analysis of variance was used to test the change from pre-test to post-test scores within and between groups. Analysis of covariance was performed to compare the post-test scores between the groups adjusting for education and length of caretaking.
Following one month intervention of yoga therapy, there was a significant (P<0.001) decrease in anxiety and depression scores, as well as improved quality-of-life among the participants in the yoga group as compared with the control group.
This study highlights the usefulness of a yoga intervention for caregivers of inpatients with neurological problems. The small sample size and lack of blinding were some of the limitations of this study.
Anxiety; caregivers; depression; neurological illness; yoga
An earlier study showed that a week of yoga practice was useful in stress management after a natural calamity. Due to heavy rain and a rift on the banks of the Kosi river, in the state of Bihar in north India, there were floods with loss of life and property. A week of yoga practice was given to the survivors a month after the event and the effect was assessed.
Twenty-two volunteers (group average age ± S.D, 31.5 ± 7.5 years; all of them were males) were randomly assigned to two groups, yoga and a non-yoga wait-list control group. The yoga group practiced yoga for an hour daily while the control group continued with their routine activities. Both groups' heart rate variability, breath rate, and four symptoms of emotional distress using visual analog scales, were assessed on the first and eighth day of the program.
There was a significant decrease in sadness in the yoga group (p < 0.05, paired t-test, post data compared to pre) and an increase in anxiety in the control group (p < 0.05, paired t-test, post data compared to pre).
A week of yoga can reduce feelings of sadness and possibly prevent an increase in anxiety in flood survivors a month after the calamity.
Clinical Trials Registry of India: CTRI/2009/091/000285
Little attention has been paid to the psychological determinants by which benefits are accrued via yoga practice in cancer-related clinical settings. Using a longitudinal multilevel modeling approach, associations between affect, mindfulness, and patient-reported mental health outcomes, including mood disturbance, stress symptoms, and health-related quality of life (HRQL), were examined in an existing seven-week yoga program for cancer survivors. Participants (N = 66) were assessed before and after the yoga program and at three- and six-month follow-ups. Decreases in mood disturbance and stress symptoms and improvements in HRQL were observed upon program completion. Improvements in mood disturbance and stress symptoms were maintained at the three- and six-month follow-ups. HRQL exhibited further improvement at the three-month follow-up, which was maintained at the six-month follow-up. Improvements in measures of well-being were predicted by initial positive yoga beliefs and concurrently assessed affective and mindfulness predictor variables. Previous yoga experience, affect, mindfulness, and HRQL were related to yoga practice maintenance over the course of the study.
This randomised trial compared the effects of Brain Wave Vibration (BWV) training, which involves rhythmic yoga-like meditative exercises, with Iyengar yoga and Mindfulness. Iyengar provided a contrast for the physical components and mindfulness for the “mental” components of BWV. 35 healthy adults completed 10 75-minute classes of BWV, Iyengar, or Mindfulness over five weeks. Participants were assessed at pre- and postintervention for mood, sleep, mindfulness, absorption, health, memory, and salivary cortisol. Better overall mood and vitality followed both BWV and Iyengar training, while the BWV group alone had improved depression and sleep latency. Mindfulness produced a comparatively greater increase in absorption. All interventions improved stress and mindfulness, while no changes occurred in health, memory, or salivary cortisol. In conclusion, increased well-being followed training in all three practices, increased absorption was specific to Mindfulness, while BWV was unique in its benefits to depression and sleep latency, warranting further research.
Individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) have an increased risk of obesity and are significantly less likely to engage in physical activity compared to their nondisabled peers. A growing body of research supports the physical and mental health benefits of yoga. While the benefits of yoga have been studied across a host of populations with varying ages and physical disabilities, no studies could be identified investigating the benefits of yoga for young adults with ID.
This study investigated the impact of participating in yoga classes on the amount of exercise behavior and perception of physical exertion when compared to non-structured exercise sessions between two young adults with ID in a post-secondary education setting.
Materials and Methods:
A single subject multiple baseline research design was implemented across two young adults with mild ID to determine the effects of a yoga exercise class on frequency of exercise behavior and perception of physical exertion when compared to non-structured exercise sessions. Partial interval recording, the Eston-Parfitt curvilinear rating of perceived exertion scale, and the physical activity enjoyment scale were implemented to collect data on dependent variables and consumer satisfaction during each non-structured exercise session and each yoga class.
indicated that percentage of exercise behavior and perceived exertion levels during yoga group exercise sharply increased with large effect sizes when compared to non-structured exercise sessions.
Exercise; intellectual disabilities; post-secondary education; yoga
Hatha yoga techniques, including physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation, involve the practice of mindfulness. In turn, yoga meditation practices may induce the state of mindfulness, which, when evoked recurrently through repeated practice, may accrue into trait or dispositional mindfulness. Putatively, these changes may be mediated by experience-dependent neuroplastic changes. Though prior studies have identified differences in gray matter volume (GMV) between long-term mindfulness practitioners and controls, no studies to date have reported on whether yoga meditation is associated with GMV differences. The present study investigated GMV differences between yoga meditation practitioners (YMP) and a matched control group (CG). The YMP group exhibited greater GM volume in frontal, limbic, temporal, occipital, and cerebellar regions; whereas the CG had no greater regional greater GMV. In addition, the YMP group reported significantly fewer cognitive failures on the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), the magnitude of which was positively correlated with GMV in numerous regions identified in the primary analysis. Lastly, GMV was positively correlated with the duration of yoga practice. Results from this preliminary study suggest that hatha yoga practice may be associated with the promotion of neuroplastic changes in executive brain systems, which may confer therapeutic benefits that accrue with repeated practice.
Objective. To examine the effects of yoga versus an educational film program on sleep, mood, perceived stress, and sympathetic activation in older women with RLS. Methods. Participants were drawn from a larger trial regarding the effects of yoga on cardiovascular disease risk profiles in overweight, sedentary postmenopausal women. Seventy-five women were randomized to receive either an 8-week yoga (n = 38) or educational film (n = 37) program. All 75 participants completed an RLS screening questionnaire. The 20 women who met all four diagnostic criteria for RLS (n = 10 yoga, 10 film group) comprised the population for this nested study. Main outcomes assessed pre- and post-treatment included: sleep (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), stress (Perceived Stress Scale), mood (Profile of Mood States, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), blood pressure, and heart rate. Results. The yoga group demonstrated significantly greater improvements than controls in multiple domains of sleep quality and mood, and significantly greater reductions in insomnia prevalence, anxiety, perceived stress, and blood pressure (all P's≤0.05). Adjusted intergroup effect sizes for psychosocial variables were large, ranging from 1.9 for state anxiety to 2.6 for sleep quality. Conclusions. These preliminary findings suggest yoga may offer an effective intervention for improving sleep, mood, perceived stress, and blood pressure in older women with RLS.
Beliefs about yoga may influence participation in yoga and outcomes of yoga interventions. There is currently no scale appropriate for assessing these beliefs in the general U.S. population. This study took the first steps in developing and validating a Beliefs About Yoga Scale (BAYS) to assess beliefs about yoga that may influence people’s engagement in yoga interventions. Items were generated based on previously published research about perceptions of yoga and reviewed by experts within the psychology and yoga communities. 426 adult participants were recruited from an urban medical center to respond to these items. The mean age was 40.7 (SD = 13.5) years. Participants completed the BAYS and seven additional indicators of criterion-related validity. The BAYS demonstrated internal consistency (11 items; α = 0.76) and three factors emerged: expected health benefits, expected discomfort, and expected social norms. The factor structure was confirmed: χ2 (41, n = 213) = 72.06, p < .001; RMSEA =.06, p = .23. Criterion-related validity was supported by positive associations of the BAYS with past experiences and future intentions related to yoga. This initial analysis of the BAYS demonstrated that it is an adequately reliable and valid measure of beliefs about yoga with a three-factor structure. However, the scale may need to be modified based on the population to which it is applied.
yoga; mind-body therapies; health; self-efficacy; behavior change; social norms
To address the mechanisms underlying hatha yoga's potential stress-reduction benefits, we compared inflammatory and endocrine responses of novice and expert yoga practitioners before, during, and after a restorative hatha yoga session, as well as in two control conditions. Stressors before each of the three conditions provided data on the extent to which yoga speeded an individual's physiological recovery.
50 healthy women (mean age=41.32, range=30–65), 25 novices and 25 experts, were exposed to each of the conditions (yoga, movement control, and passive-video control) during three separate visits.
The yoga session boosted participants’ positive affect compared to the control conditions, but no overall differences in inflammatory or endocrine responses were unique to the yoga session. Importantly, even though novices and experts did not differ on key dimensions including age, abdominal adiposity, and cardiorespiratory fitness, novices’ serum IL-6 levels were 41% higher than those of experts across sessions, and the odds of a novice having detectable CRP were 4.75 times as high as that of an expert. Differences in stress responses between experts and novices provided one plausible mechanism for their divergent serum IL-6 data; experts produced less LPS-stimulated IL-6 in response to the stressor than novices, and IL-6 promotes CRP production.
The ability to minimize inflammatory responses to stressful encounters influences the burden that stressors place on an individual. If yoga dampens or limits stress-related changes, then regular practice could have substantial health benefits.
yoga; inflammation; psychoneuroimmunology; complementary medicine; IL-6; CRP
In two of the earlier Randomized Control Trials on yoga for chronic lower back pain (CLBP), 12 to 16 weeks of intervention were found effective in reducing pain and disability.
To study the efficacy of a residential short term intensive yoga program on quality of life in CLBP.
Materials and Methods:
About 80 patients with CLBP (females 37) registered for a week long treatment at SVYASA Holistic Health Centre in Bengaluru, India. They were randomized into two groups (40 each). The yoga group practiced a specific module for CLBP comprising of asanas (physical postures), pranayama (breathing practices), meditation and lectures on yoga philosophy. The control group practiced physical therapy exercises for back pain.
Perceived stress scale (PSS) was used to measure baseline stress levels. Outcome measures were WHOQOL Bref for quality of life and straight leg raising test (SLR) using a Goniometer.
There were significant negative correlations (Pearson’s, P<0.005, r>0.30) between baseline PSS with all four domains and the total score of WHOQOLBref. All the four domains’ WHOQOLBref improved in the yoga group (repeated measures ANOVA P=0.001) with significant group*time interaction (P<0.05) and differences between groups (P<0.01). SLR increased in both groups (P=0.001) with higher increase in yoga (31.1 % right, 28.4 % left) than control (18.7% right, 21.5 % left) group with significant group*time interaction (SLR right leg P=0.044).
In CLBP, a negative correlation exists between stress and quality of life. Yoga increases quality of life and spinal flexibility better than physical therapy exercises.
Chronic low back pain; flexibility; quality of life; stress; yoga
Objectives. Yoga is used for a variety of immunological, neuromuscular, psychological, and pain conditions. Recent studies indicate that it may be effective in improving pregnancy, labour, and birth outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the existing literature on yoga for pregnancy. Methods. Six databases were searched using the terms “yoga AND pregnancy” and “yoga AND [post-natal OR post-partum]”. Trials were considered if they were controlled and evaluated a yoga intervention. All studies were evaluated for methodological quality according to the Jadad scale and the Delphi List. Results. Six trials were identified: three were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and three were controlled trials (CTs). The methodological quality and reporting ranged from 0–5 on the Jadad scale and from 3–6 on the Delphi List. Findings from the RCT studies indicate that yoga may produce improvements in stress levels, quality of life, aspects of interpersonal relating, autonomic nervous system functioning, and labour parameters such as comfort, pain, and duration. Conclusions. The findings suggest that yoga is well indicated for pregnant women and leads to improvements on a variety of pregnancy, labour, and birth outcomes. However, RCTs are needed to provide more information regarding the utility of yoga interventions for pregnancy.
Yoga and exercise have beneficial effects on mood and anxiety. γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA)-ergic activity is reduced in mood and anxiety disorders. The practice of yoga postures is associated with increased brain GABA levels. This study addresses the question of whether changes in mood, anxiety, and GABA levels are specific to yoga or related to physical activity.
Healthy subjects with no significant medical/psychiatric disorders were randomized to yoga or a metabolically matched walking intervention for 60 minutes 3 times a week for 12 weeks. Mood and anxiety scales were taken at weeks 0, 4, 8, 12, and before each magnetic resonance spectroscopy scan. Scan 1 was at baseline. Scan 2, obtained after the 12-week intervention, was followed by a 60-minute yoga or walking intervention, which was immediately followed by Scan 3.
The yoga subjects (n = 19) reported greater improvement in mood and greater decreases in anxiety than the walking group (n = 15). There were positive correlations between improved mood and decreased anxiety and thalamic GABA levels. The yoga group had positive correlations between changes in mood scales and changes in GABA levels.
The 12-week yoga intervention was associated with greater improvements in mood and anxiety than a metabolically matched walking exercise. This is the first study to demonstrate that increased thalamic GABA levels are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. It is also the first time that a behavioral intervention (i.e., yoga postures) has been associated with a positive correlation between acute increases in thalamic GABA levels and improvements in mood and anxiety scales. Given that pharmacologic agents that increase the activity of the GABA system are prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety, the reported correlations are in the expected direction. The possible role of GABA in mediating the beneficial effects of yoga on mood and anxiety warrants further study.
There are many and varied types of trauma. The extent to which trauma influences the mental health of an individual depends on the nature of trauma, as well as on the individual's coping capabilities. Often trauma is followed by depression, anxiety, and PTSD. As the pharmacological remedies for these conditions often have undesirable side-effects, nonpharmacological remedies are thought of as a possible add-on treatment. Yoga is one such mind-body intervention. This paper covers eleven studies indexed in PubMed, in which mental health disorders resulting from trauma were managed through yoga including meditation. The aim was to evaluate the use of yoga in managing trauma-related depression, anxiety, PTSD and physiological stress following exposure to natural calamities, war, interpersonal violence, and incarceration in a correctional facility. An attempt has also been made to explore possible mechanisms underlying benefits seen. As most of these studies were not done on persons exposed to trauma that had practiced yoga, this is a definite area for further research.
Yoga has been shown to be a simple and economical therapeutic modality that may be considered as a beneficial adjuvant for type 2 diabetes mellitus. This study investigated the impact of Hatha yoga and conventional physical training (PT) exercise regimens on biochemical, oxidative stress indicators and oxidant status in patients with type 2 diabetes.
This prospective randomized study consisted of 77 type 2 diabetic patients in the Hatha yoga exercise group that were matched with a similar number of type 2 diabetic patients in the conventional PT exercise and control groups. Biochemical parameters such as fasting blood glucose (FBG), serum total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) were determined at baseline and at two consecutive three monthly intervals. The oxidative stress indicators (malondialdehyde – MDA, protein oxidation – POX, phospholipase A2 – PLA2 activity) and oxidative status [superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase activities] were measured.
The concentrations of FBG in the Hatha yoga and conventional PT exercise groups after six months decreased by 29.48% and 27.43% respectively (P < 0.0001) and there was a significant reduction in serum TC in both groups (P < 0.0001). The concentrations of VLDL in the managed groups after six months differed significantly from baseline values (P = 0.036). Lipid peroxidation as indicated by MDA significantly decreased by 19.9% and 18.1% in the Hatha yoga and conventional PT exercise groups respectively (P < 0.0001); whilst the activity of SOD significantly increased by 24.08% and 20.18% respectively (P = 0.031). There was no significant difference in the baseline and 6 months activities of PLA2 and catalase after six months although the latter increased by 13.68% and 13.19% in the Hatha yoga and conventional PT exercise groups respectively (P = 0.144).
The study demonstrate the efficacy of Hatha yoga exercise on fasting blood glucose, lipid profile, oxidative stress markers and antioxidant status in patients with type 2 diabetes and suggest that Hatha yoga exercise and conventional PT exercise may have therapeutic preventative and protective effects on diabetes mellitus by decreasing oxidative stress and improving antioxidant status.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12608000217303
Therapeutic effects in depression of yoga adopted from different schools have been demonstrated. The efficacy of a generic module of yoga on depressed patients has not yet been tested in the literature.
The study was aimed to compare the therapeutic effect of a generic yoga module with antidepressant drugs in non-suicidal out-patients of major depression attending a psychiatric hospital.
Settings and Design:
The study was outpatient-based using an open-labeled design.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 137 out-patients of depressive disorders received one of the three treatments as they chose – yoga-only, drugs-only or both. The yoga was taught by a trained yoga physician for over a month in spaced sessions totaling at least 12. Patients were assessed before treatment, after 1 and 3 months on depression and Clinical Global Impression Scales. Out of 137, 58 patients completed the study period with all assessments.
Patients in the three arms of treatment were comparable on demographic and clinical variables. Patients in all three arms of treatment obtained a reduction in depression scores as well as clinical severity. However, both yoga groups (with or without drugs) were significantly better than the drugs-only group. Higher proportion of patients remitted in the yoga groups compared with the drugs-only group. No untoward events were spontaneously reported in the yoga-treated patients.
Within the limitations of this study, it can be concluded that the findings support a case for prescribing yoga as taught in the study in depressive non-suicidal out-patients.
Depression; antidepressant; yoga treatment; non-suicidal
Background. There is very little data describing the long-term health impacts of meditation. Aim. To compare the quality of life and functional health of long-term meditators to that of the normative population in Australia. Method. Using the SF-36 questionnaire and a Meditation Lifestyle Survey, we sampled 343 long-term Australian Sahaja Yoga meditation practitioners and compared their scores to those of the normative Australian population. Results. Six SF-36 subscales (bodily pain, general health, mental health, role limitation—emotional, social functioning, and vitality) were significantly better in meditators compared to the national norms whereas two of the subscales (role limitation—physical, physical functioning) were not significantly different. A substantial correlation between frequency of mental silence experience and the vitality, general health, and especially mental health subscales (P < 0.005) was found. Conclusion. Long-term practitioners of Sahaja yoga meditation experience better functional health, especially mental health, compared to the general population. A relationship between functional health, especially mental health, and the frequency of meditative experience (mental silence) exists that may be causal. Evidence for the potential role of this definition of meditation in enhancing quality of life, functional health and wellbeing is growing. Implications for primary mental health prevention are discussed.