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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.

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'.

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.

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.