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Stress and Yoga

A controlled prospective non-randomized study was conducted in 24 self-referred female subjects who perceived themselves as emotionally distressed. During the yoga course, subjects attended two-weekly 90-min Iyengar yoga classes. Compared to the waiting-list women, those who participated in the yoga-training demonstrated significant improvements in perceived stress, State and Trait Anxiety, well-being, vigor, fatigue and depression. Physical well-being also increased, and those subjects suffering from headache or back pain reported marked pain relief. Salivary cortisol decreased significantly after participation in a yoga class.

-- Michalsen, A., Grossman, P., Acil, A., Langhorst, J., Ludtke, R., Esch, T., Stefano, G.B. & Dobos GJ. 2005. Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program. Med Sci Monit, 11, 555-561.

Focus groups were conducted with persons who had never practiced yoga, practitioners of one year or less, and practitioners for more than one year. All participants acknowledged a variety of the benefits of yoga. Barriers outweighed benefits among persons who had never practiced despite knowledge of the benefits. Positive experiences with yoga and yoga instructors facilitated practice.

-- Am J Health Behav. 2009 Jan-Feb;33(1):3-14. Benefits, barriers, and cues to action of yoga practice: a focus group approach.Atkinson NL, Permuth-Levine R.

There was a significant decrease in self rated fear, anxiety, sadness and disturbed sleep in both groups, and in the heart and breath rate, following yoga. This suggests that yoga practice may be useful in the management of stress in people with widely differing social, cultural and spiritual beliefs.

-- Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007 Dec;4(4):503-9. Yoga reduces symptoms of distress in tsunami survivors in the andaman islands.Telles S, Naveen KV, Dash M.

Women suffering from mental distress participating in a 3-month Iyengar yoga class show significant improvements on measures of stress and psychological outcomes. Further investigation of yoga with respect to prevention and treatment of stress-related disease and of underlying mechanism is warranted.

-- Med Sci Monit. 2005 Dec;11(12):CR555-561. Epub 2005 Nov 24. Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program.Michalsen A, Grossman P, Acil A, Langhorst J, L├╝dtke R, Esch T, Stefano GB, Dobos GJ.

See also: Stress Management and Relief

Yoga Information || Exercise and Stress

last update: April 2009

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