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CONTEXT: Research on the effect of Thoppukaranam is limited despite it being practiced as a form of worship to the elephant-headed deity Lord Ganapati and punishment in schools. AIMS: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of Thoppukaranam on selective attention and psychological states in a sample of young adults. SETTINGS AND DESIGNS: A randomized self-as-control within subjects design was employed. Thirty undergraduate students (4 females and 26 males) from a residential Yoga University in Southern India were recruited for this study (group mean age +/- standard deviation, 20.17 +/- 2.92). MATERIALS AND METHODS: The d2 test, State Anxiety Inventory-Short Form and State Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (SMAAS) were used to measure cognitive performance and psychological states. Assessments were made in three sessions: Baseline, control (squats), and experimental (Thoppukaranam) on 3 separate days. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: Data were analyzed using one-way repeated measures analyses of variance between three sessions, that is, baseline, squat, and Thoppukaranam. RESULTS: There was a significant improvement in all measures of the d2 test of attention (TN, E, TN-E, E%, and concentration performance) and state mindfulness after Thoppukaranam. Further state anxiety reduced significantly after the experimental session. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate Thoppukaranam results in enhancement of cognitive functioning and psychological states.