Yoga Practitioners Have Better Psychological Health During the Covid-19 Lockdown

Yoga Practitioners Have Better Psychological Health During the Covid-19 Lockdown


By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.


“the well understood underlying mechanisms for the use of yoga for stress reduction and immune modulation shall be considered as the basis for its complimentary role in the management of an infectious condition like COVID-19.“ – H. R. Nagendra


Yoga practice has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Yoga practice is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, yoga practice may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.


In today’s Research News article “Yoga an effective strategy for self-management of stress-related problems and wellbeing during COVID19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: ) Sahni and colleagues recruited adults online during the Covid-19 lockdown. They separated the participants into three groups; those who practice yoga, other spiritual practices, and non-practitioners. The participants completed online measures of Covid-19 perceptions, depression, anxiety, perceived stress, general well-being, resilience, peace of mind, and emotion regulation.


They found that in comparison to the spiritual practices and non-practitioners, the yoga practitioners had a significantly higher level of Covid-19 perception of personal control, and significantly lower levels of illness concern and emotional impact of COVID19. In addition, the yoga practitioners had significantly lower levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress and significantly higher levels of peace of mind. well-being, and cognitive reappraisal strategies of emotion regulation. In general, they found that the longer that the yoga practitioners had practiced, the greater the benefits.


This study examined existing groups and there wasn’t random assignment. Hence, the findings could be due to systematic differences between people who choose to engage in yoga, other spiritual practices, or no practice. But previous controlled research has demonstrated that yoga practice causes decreased depression, anxiety, and perceived stress, and increased well-being. So, the difference seen here between groups probably represent the causal effects of yoga practice.


These results suggest that practicing yoga makes an individual more resistant to the deleterious psychological effects of the pandemic and the associated lockdown. It appears to improve the practitioners’ psychological well-being, peace of mind, attitude toward the pandemic, and ability to regulate emotions. In addition, the greater the amount of yoga practice, the greater the benefits. These yoga-produced abilities may well underlie yoga practice’s positive impact on various diseases.


So, yoga practitioners have better psychological health during the Covid-19 lockdown.


COVID-19 has caused levels of stress and anxiety to skyrocket and it’s (understandably) taking a toll on people’s mental health. One thing that can help? Yoga.”- CorePower Yoga


CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies


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Study Summary


Sahni, P. S., Singh, K., Sharma, N., & Garg, R. (2021). Yoga an effective strategy for self-management of stress-related problems and wellbeing during COVID19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study. PloS one, 16(2), e0245214.



This cross-sectional research aims to study the effect of yoga practice on the illness perception, and wellbeing of healthy adults during 4–10 weeks of lockdown due to COVID19 outbreak. A total of 668 adults (64.7% males, M = 28.12 years, SD = 9.09 years) participated in the online survey. The participants were grouped as; yoga practitioners, other spiritual practitioners, and non-practitioners based on their responses to daily practices that they follow. Yoga practitioners were further examined based on the duration of practice as; long-term, mid-term and beginners. Multivariate analysis indicates that yoga practitioners had significantly lower depression, anxiety, & stress (DASS), and higher general wellbeing (SWGB) as well as higher peace of mind (POMS) than the other two groups. The results further revealed that the yoga practitioners significantly differed in the perception of personal control, illness concern and emotional impact of COVID19. However, there was no significant difference found for the measure of resilience (BRS) in this study. Yoga practitioners also significantly differed in the cognitive reappraisal strategy for regulating their emotions than the other two groups. Interestingly, it was found that beginners -those who had started practicing yoga only during the lockdown period reported no significant difference for general wellbeing and peace of mind when compared to the mid- term practitioner. Evidence supports that yoga was found as an effective self- management strategy to cope with stress, anxiety and depression, and maintain wellbeing during COVID19 lockdown.


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