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Olle Melander

Principal investigator

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Yogic Breathing and Mindfulness as Stress-Coping Mediate Positive Health Outcomes of Yoga

Author

  • Una Tellhed
  • Daiva Daukantaité
  • Rachel Maddux
  • Thomas Svensson
  • Olle Melander

Summary, in English

Objectives

Despite accumulating research on yoga and its positive impact on both physiological and psychological health, it is still unclear how yoga improves health. Two central components of yoga, yogic breathing and mindfulness, may be important mechanisms by which individuals learn to cope with their daily stressors, and thereby reduce their risk of developing stress-related illness. In this study, we experimentally tested whether yogic breathing as a stress coping mechanism and increased mindfulness mediates the psychological health benefits of a yoga intervention
Methods

Seventy-one middle-aged adults (78% women; Mage 53.5 ± 6.9) who self-rated as moderately stressed were randomly assigned to either a control group or a 5-week yoga intervention called the Yoga and Mindfulness Intervention (YOMI) program. The YOMI combines 60 min of yin yoga practice with 30 min of psychoeducation, administered twice weekly; participants also completed a 5-min breathing exercise as homework daily.
Results

The YOMI group showed greater reductions in anxiety, depression, and sleep problems compared with controls (R2 varied between .09 to .23), and these reductions were statistically mediated by increased use of yogic breathing and a related increase in participants’ overall mindfulness.
Conclusions

These mediation results provide new insights into how yoga improves psychological health and suggests promising implications for policymakers aimed at improving public health.

Department/s

  • Department of Psychology
  • Cardiovascular Research - Hypertension
  • EXODIAB: Excellence in Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health

Publishing year

2019-11-11

Language

English

Pages

2703-2715

Publication/Series

Mindfulness

Volume

10

Issue

12

Document type

Journal article

Publisher

Springer

Topic

  • Psychology

Keywords

  • Stress coping
  • Mindfulness
  • Breathing
  • Yoga
  • Health
  • Mediation

Status

Published

Project

  • The effects of yoga on psychological and physiological health

Research group

  • Cardiovascular Research - Hypertension

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 1868-8535