Separating the “Limbs” of Yoga: Limited Effects on Stress and Mood
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Though millions of people practice yoga to reduce stress and improve their mood, it is unclear which aspect of yoga is responsible for these effects. To investigate relevant aspects, or “limbs” of yoga, participants who were novices in the practice of yoga engaged in a single yoga manipulation (i.e., poses, breath work, meditation, or listening to a lecture about yoga) for 20 min before experiencing a mild stressor. Participants’ heart rate, blood pressure, mood, and anxiety level were assessed, both immediately after the yoga manipulation and after the mild stressor. The 20-min yoga manipulation did not differentially affect any of the measures, including participants’ stress response after the mild stressor. Results are discussed regarding the individual components of a yoga practice.
KeywordsAnxiety Blood pressure Heart rate Mood Stress Yoga
The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of the research assistants Chelsea Smith (yoga instructor), Seth Goldstein (yoga instructor), Bradley Dunagan, Faith Carlson, and Allison Schneider, who collected the data for this study. Correspondence concerning this article should be directed to Evangeline A. Wheeler.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights
Participants were compensated with course extra credit points only. Yoga mats were donated from a local yoga studio. No animals were involved in the conduct of this study. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
The study received the Approval Code 15-A013 from the University IRB committee.
Signed informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. No deception was involved in the experimental procedure, and participants were fully debriefed afterward.
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