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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.

Stress is recognised as the most challenging issue of modern times. Contemporary science has understood this phenomenon from one aspect and Indian philosophy gives its traditional reasons based on classical texts. Modern science has recently proposed a concept of perseverative cognition (PC) as an important reason for chronic stress. This has shown how constant rumination on an unpalatable event, object or person leads to various lifestyle disorders. Similarly classical yoga texts like the Taittiriya Upanishad, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Vashistha describe stress in their unique ways. We have here attempted a detailed classification, description, manifestation, and development of a disease and its management through these models. This paper in a nutshell projects these two models of stress and shows how they could be used in future for harmonious management of lifestyle disorders.