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State anxiety, somatization of stress, quality of life, self-rated quality of sleep, and discomfort due to over-breathing which occurs when stressed were studied. Out of a total of 140 participants, seventy participants self-selected to be in a yoga group for stress relief (group mean age +/- SD, 33.0 +/- 6.5 years; 37 males). Seventy age and gender matched participants were in a control group. State anxiety, somatization of stress, quality of life, discomfort and self-rated quality of sleep were assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Symptom Checklist-90-R, SF-12, Nijmegen Discomfort Evaluation Scale and a Sleep Rating Questionnaire respectively. Assessments were made at the beginning and end of the week. Repeated measures ANOVAs with Bonferroni adjusted post-hoc analyses showed a significant decrease in state anxiety (P < 0.001), somatization of stress (P < 0.01), improved health-related quality of life (P < 0.01), self-rated quality of sleep (P < 0.01), and decrease in discomfort due to over-breathing (P < 0.001). No changes (except decreased discomfort due to over-breathing; P < 0.01) occurred in the control group. This study suggests that a brief yoga program may be beneficial in decreasing anxiety, somatization of stress and discomfort, improving health-related quality of life and self-rated sleep quality.

BACKGROUND: Chronic illness is commonly associated with anxiety and depression. Both anxiety and depression respond to yoga. However, there is no report on the association between the intensity and duration of yoga practice with the benefits seen. AIM: The present study was intended to determine whether the daily duration of yoga practice and the duration of experience in months would predict anxiety and depression, associated with chronic illness. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Seven hundred and sixty-three volunteers with ages between 14 and 86 years (group mean age standard deviation, 50.2 [14.2]) who attended a 7 day residential yoga camp in the north of India were included in this cross-sectional study. All participants had chronic illnesses, which were under control with treatment, and which were categorized and are detailed. Participants were assessed for state anxiety scores using State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and for anxiety with hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS-A), and depression was assessed using HADS-D scores of the HADS. Linear multiple regression analyses were performed using PASW SPSS version 18.0 (Armonk, New York, U.S.) to determine how the daily and monthly duration of yoga practice could influence state anxiety, hospital anxiety and depression of the participants. RESULTS: Yoga practice in months and the time spent practicing yoga each day significantly predict the level of state anxiety (P < 0.001, P = 0.03) and HAD-A (P < 0.01, P < 0.01). The duration of yoga practice in months alone was a significant predictor of the HAD-D (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that the duration of yoga practice in months and daily practice in minutes predict anxiety associated with chronic illness. In contrast the duration of yoga practice in months alone, predicted depression scores.