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We conducted assessments of 28 children with impaired vision (VI group), with ages ranging from 12 to 17 years, and an equal number of age-matched, normal-sighted children (NS group). The VI group had significantly higher rates of breathing, heart rates, and diastolic blood pressure values compared to the NS group (Mann–Whitney U test). Twenty-four of the VI group formed pairs matched for age and degree of blindness, and we randomly assigned members of the pairs to two groups, viz., yoga and physical activity. Both groups spent an hour each day practicing yoga or working in the garden, depending on their group. After 3 weeks, the yoga group showed a significant decrease in breath rate (Wilcoxon paired signed ranks test). There was no change after the physical activity program. The results showed that children with visual impairment have higher physiological arousal than children with normal sight, with a marginal reduction in arousal following yoga.

The heart rate, breathing rate, and skin resistance were recorded for 20 community home girls (Home group) and for 20 age-matched girls from a regular school (School group). The former group had a significantly higher rate of breathing and a more irregular breath pattern known to correlate with high fear and anxiety, than the School group. Skin resistance was significantly lower in the School group, which may suggest greater arousal, 28 girls of the Home group formed 14 pairs, matched for age and duration of stay in the home. Subjects of a pair were randomly assigned to either yoga or games groups. For the former emphasis was on relaxation and awareness, whereas for the latter increasing physical activity was emphasized. At the end of an hour daily for six months both groups showed a significant decrease in the resting heart rate relative to initial values (Wilcoxon paired-sample rest), and the yoga group showed a significant decrease in breath rate, which appeared more regular but no significant increase in the skin resistance. These results suggest that a yoga program which includes relaxation, awareness, and graded physical activity is a useful addition to the routine of community home children.
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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.

The study aimed at determining whether novices to yoga would be able to reduce their heart rate voluntarily and whether the magnitude of reduction would be more after 30 days of yoga training. Two groups (yoga and control, n = 12 each) were assessed on Day 1 and on Day 30. During the intervening 30 days, the yoga group received training in yoga techniques while the control group carried on with their routine. At each assessment the baseline heart rate was recorded for one minute, this was followed by a six-minute period during which participants were asked to attempt to voluntarily reduce their heart rate, using any strategy. Both the baseline heart rate and the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily during the six-minute period were significantly lower in the yoga group on Day 30 compared to Day 1 by a group average of 10.7 beats per minute (i.e., bpm) and 6.8 bpm, respectively (p < .05, Wilcoxon paired signed ranks test). In contrast, there was no significant change in either the baseline heart rate or the lowest heart rate achieved voluntarily in the control group on Day 30 compared to Day 1. The results suggest that yoga training can enable practitioners to use their own strategies to reduce the heart rate, which has possible therapeutic applications.

BACKGROUND: Stress places a metabolic burden on homeostasis and is linked to heightened sympathetic activity, increased energy expenditure and pathology. The yogic state is a hypometabolic state that corresponds with mind-body coherence and reduced stress. This study aimed to investigate metabolic responses to stress and different yoga practices in regular yoga practitioners (YP), non-yoga practitioners (NY) and metabolic syndrome patients (MS). METHODS: YP (n = 16), NY (n = 15) and MS (n = 15) subjects underwent an experimental protocol that comprised of different 5-minute interventions including mental arithmetic stress test (MAST), alternate nostril breathing (ANB), Kapabhati breathing (KB) and meditation (Med) interspersed with 5 minutes of quiet resting (neutral condition (NC)). During the intervention periods continuous body weight adjusted oxygen consumption (VO2ml/min/kg) was measured using open circuit indirect calorimetry with a canopy hood. RESULTS: This is the first study to report oxygen consumption (OC) in yoga practitioners during and after MAST and the first to report both within and between different populations. The results were analysed with SPSS 16 using 3X9 mixed factorial ANOVAs. The single between-subject factor was group (YP, NY and MS), the single within-subject factor was made up of the nine intervention phases (NC1, MAST, NC2, ANB, NC3, KB, NC4, Med, NC5). The results demonstrated that the regular YP group had significantly less OC and greater variability in their OC across all phases compared to the MS group (p = .003) and NY group (p = .01). All groups significantly raised their OC during the mental arithmetic stress, however the MS group had a significantly blunted post-stress recovery whereas the YP group rapidly recovered back to baseline levels with post stress recovery being greater than either the NY group or MS group. CONCLUSIONS: Yoga practitioners have greater metabolic variability compared to non-yoga practitioners and metabolic syndrome patients with reduced oxygen requirements during resting conditions and more rapid post-stress recovery. OC in metabolic syndrome patients displays significantly blunted post-stress recovery demonstrating reduced metabolic resilience. Our results support the findings of previous randomised trials that suggest regular yoga practice may mitigate against the effects of metabolic syndrome. CLINICAL TRIAL NUMBER: ACTRN12614001075673; Date of Registration: 07/10/2014.

Day time activities are known to influence the sleep on the following night. Cyclic meditation (CM) has recurring cycles. Previously, the low frequency (LF) power and the ratio between low frequency and high frequency (LF/HF ratio) of the heart rate variability (HRV) decreased during and after CM but not after a comparable period of supine rest (SR). In the present study, on thirty male volunteers, CM was practiced twice in the day and after this the HRV was recorded (1) while awake and (2) during 6 h of sleep (based on EEG, EMG and EGG recordings). This was similarly recorded for the night’s sleep following the day time practice of SR. Participants were randomly assigned to the two sessions and all of them practiced both CM and SR on different days. During the night following day time CM practice there were the following changes; a decrease in heart rate, LF power (n.u.), LF/HF ratio, and an increase in the number of pairs of Normal to Normal RR intervals differing by more than 50 ms divided by total number of all NN intervals (pNN50) (P < 0.05, in all cases, comparing sleep following CM compared with sleep following SR). No change was seen on the night following SR. Hence yoga practice during the day appears to shift sympatho-vagal balance in favor of parasympathetic dominance during sleep on the following night.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and respiratory sinus arrhythmia are directly associated with autonomic flexibility, self-regulation and well-being, and inversely associated with physiological stress, psychological stress and pathology. Yoga enhances autonomic activity, mitigates stress and benefits stress-related clinical conditions, yet the relationship between autonomic activity and psychophysiological responses during yoga practices and stressful stimuli has not been widely explored. This experimental study explored the relationship between HRV, mood states and flow experiences in regular yoga practitioners (YP), non-yoga practitioners (NY) and people with metabolic syndrome (MetS), during Mental Arithmetic Stress Test (MAST) and various yoga practices. The study found that the MAST placed a cardio-autonomic burden in all participants with the YP group showing the greatest reactivity and the most rapid recovery, while the MetS group had significantly blunted recovery. The YP group also reported a heightened experience of flow and positive mood states compared to NY and MetS groups as well as having a higher vagal tone during all resting conditions. These results suggest yoga practitioners have a greater homeostatic capacity and autonomic, metabolic and physiological resilience. Further studies are now needed to determine if regular yoga practice may improve autonomic flexibility in non-yoga practitioners and metabolic syndrome patients. Clinical Trial No 'ACTRN 2614001075673'.

Two groups of 45 children each, whose ages ranged from 9 to 13 years, were assessed on a steadiness test, at the beginning and again at the end of a 10-day period during which one group received training in yoga, while the other group did not. The steadiness test required insertion of and holding for 15 sec. a metal stylus without touching the sides of holes of decreasing sizes in a metal plate. The contacts were counted as 'errors'. During the 10-day period, one group (the 'Yoga' group) received training in special physical postures (asanas), voluntary regulation of breathing (Pranayama), maintenance of silence, as well as visual focussing exercises (tratakas) and games to improve the attention span and memory. The other group (control) carried out their usual routine. After 10 days, the 'Yoga' group showed a significant (Wilcoxon's paired signed-ranks test) decrease in errors, whereas the 'control' group showed no change.
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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.

BACKGROUND: 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.METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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). CONCLUSIONS: A week of yoga can reduce feelings of sadness and possibly prevent an increase in anxiety in flood survivors a month after the calamity. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials Registry of India: CTRI/2009/091/000285.

BACKGROUND: Following a natural disaster, survivors are vulnerable to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/ or depression.OBJECTIVES: (i) To screen survivors of the Bihar floods a month after the event to determine their scores in a screening questionnaire for PTSD and/ or depression and (ii) to correlate these scores with age and gender. MATERIALS AND METHODS: One thousand two hundred eighty-nine persons (645 females) who had been directly exposed to the floods in Bihar, India, in August 2008 were assessed. The Screening Questionnaire for Disaster Mental Health (SQD) was used to screen for PTSD and depression. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Separate two-factor ANOVAs were used to compare persons of both sexes and 5 different age groups for PTSD and depression scores. This was followed by post-hoc analysis for multiple comparisons. RESULTS: People over the age of 60 years had significantly higher scores for PTSD and depression compared to all groups (P< 0.05 for all comparisons). CONCLUSION: Following a natural disaster, older people appear more vulnerable to develop PTSD and depression. This should be taken into account in devising strategies for disaster relief.

The performance scores of children (aged 11 to 16 years) in verbal and spatial memory tests were compared for two groups (n = 30, each), one attending a yoga camp and the other a fine arts camp. Both groups were assessed on the memory tasks initially and after ten days of their respective interventions. A control group (n = 30) was similarly studied to assess the test – retest effect. At the final assessment the yoga group showed a significant increase of 43% in spatial memory scores (Multivariate analysis, Tukey test), while the fine arts and control groups showed no change. The results suggest that yoga practice, including physical postures, yoga breathing, meditation
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A month after the December 2004 tsunami the effect of a 1 week yoga program was evaluated on self rated fear, anxiety, sadness and disturbed sleep in 47 survivors in the Andaman Islands. Polygraph recordings of the heart rate, breath rate and skin resistance were also made. Among the 47 people, 31 were settlers from the mainland (i.e. India, ML group) and 16 were endogenous people (EP group). There was a significant decrease in self rated fear, anxiety, sadness and disturbed sleep in both groups, and in the heart and breath rate in the ML group, and in the breath rate alone in the EP group, following yoga (P < 0.05, t-test). This suggests that yoga practice may be useful in the management of stress following a natural disaster in people with widely differing social, cultural and spiritual beliefs.