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Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 58, Issue 6, pp 2277–2287 | Cite as

Separating the “Limbs” of Yoga: Limited Effects on Stress and Mood

  • Evangeline A. WheelerEmail author
  • Antonia N. Santoro
  • Alicia F. Bembenek
Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Anxiety Blood pressure Heart rate Mood Stress Yoga 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

Ethical Approval

The study received the Approval Code 15-A013 from the University IRB committee.

Informed Consent

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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evangeline A. Wheeler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antonia N. Santoro
    • 1
  • Alicia F. Bembenek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTowson UniversityTowsonUSA

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