Improve the Psychological Well-Being of the Chronically Ill with Yoga

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of the Chronically Ill with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga can reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue in people living with chronic illness, and it can improve immune function. Yoga can also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that helps you to rest and heal).” – Kayla Kurin

 

Chronic diseases are long-term illnesses that last more than a year, limit the individual’s ability to conduct their lives, and require medical attention. These include cancer, cardiovascular diseases, digestive diseases, skin diseases, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, neurological diseases, arthritis, chronic pain, obesity, and mental illness. Chronic diseases affect approximately 40% of the total adult population. As such they put a tremendous strain on the medical systems not to mention on individuals and families.

 

People with chronic diseases often also suffer from chronic fatigue, pain, stress, and mood disorders especially depression. They also have difficulty working and have a decreased quality of life. So, it is very important to find effective means of treating patients with chronic illnesses. Yoga practice has been found to be helpful for patients with many of these illnesses. But it is important to further study the effectiveness of yoga practice for patients with chronic illnesses.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mental Wellbeing, Quality of Life, and Perception of Chronic Illness in Yoga-Experienced Compared with Yoga-Naïve Patients.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542302/), Telles and colleagues recruited patients with chronic noncommunicable diseases and asked if they practiced yoga. They were measured for their perception of their disease, mental well-being, and quality of life, including psychological, environmental, and total facets.

 

They found that the experienced yoga practitioners had significantly greater mental well-being, perceived control over their illnesses, and in their psychological, environmental, and total quality of life. They also found that the longer that the patients had been practicing yoga the higher the scores on perception of their illness, mental well-being, and quality of life.

 

These findings are not due to active manipulation and it is possible that patients who chose to practice yoga are characteristically different from patients who do not. These findings need to be replicated in a randomized controlled trial. With this caveat in mind the results suggest that yoga practice is beneficial for patients with chronic noncommunicable diseases, improving their perception of their illness, mental well-being and quality of life. Chronic diseases are difficult to deal with. So, it is important to find the potential of yoga practice to help relieve at least some of their suffering.

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of the chronically ill with yoga.

 

“a consistent practice of yoga and meditation often helps people who are dealing with illness by reducing stress, alleviating symptoms of the disease and side effects of medication, boosting the immune system, and increasing overall comfort.” – Julie Eisenberg

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Telles, S., Gupta, R. K., Kumar, A., Pal, D. K., Tyagi, D., & Balkrishna, A. (2019). Mental Wellbeing, Quality of Life, and Perception of Chronic Illness in Yoga-Experienced Compared with Yoga-Naïve Patients. Medical science monitor basic research, 25, 153–163. doi:10.12659/MSMBR.914663

 

Abstract

Background

Perception of chronic illness and a positive outlook improve recovery, and yoga can improve wellbeing. This study aimed to compare perception, mental wellbeing, and quality of life in yoga-experienced compared with yoga-naïve patients with chronic illness and to determine whether the duration of yoga practice in the yoga-experienced group had any correlation with the perception of illness, mental wellbeing, and quality of life.

Material/Methods

A cross-sectional comparative study recruited 419 patients with chronic non-communicable disease. Yoga-experienced patients (n=150) (mean age, 41.9±13.6 years) and yoga-naïve patients (n=269) (mean age, 41.2±12.6 years) were assessed for the perception of their illness, mental wellbeing, and quality of life using the Warwick-Edinburgh mental wellbeing scale (WEMWBS) and the World Health Organization quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF) self-reporting questionnaire.

Results

The yoga-experienced group had significantly increased mental wellbeing, personal control as a dimension of their perception of illness, and psychological and environmental quality of life compared with the yoga-naïve group (all, p<0.05), when comparisons were made using the Mann-Whitney U test. The duration of yoga practised in months was positively-correlated with mental wellbeing and different aspects of quality of life. There was a negative correlation with the perception of illness suggesting that the illness was perceived to be less severe (all, p<0.05) when correlations were made using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient.

Conclusions

In patients with chronic illness, yoga improved mental wellbeing, aspects of quality of life, and resulted in a positive perception of illness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542302/

 

Improve Chronic Low Back Pain with Mindful Movement Practices

Improve Chronic Low Back Pain with Mindful Movement Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi helps with back pain in several ways. It strengthens the muscles in your abdomen and pelvic area that are crucial to supporting the lower back; it improves your balance and flexibility; and it makes you more aware of your posture when you sit, stand, and walk.” – Benjamin Kligler

 

Low Back Pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects between 6% to 15% of the population. It is estimated, however, that 80% of the population will experience back pain sometime during their lives. The pain interferes with daily living and with work, interfering with productivity and creating absences. There are varied treatments for low back pain including chiropractic care, acupuncture, biofeedback, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, massage, surgery, opiate pain killing drugs, steroid injections, and muscle relaxant drugs. These therapies are sometimes effective particularly for acute back pain. But, for chronic conditions the treatments are less effective and often require continuing treatment for years and opiate pain killers are dangerous and can lead to abuse, addiction, and fatal overdoses. Obviously, there is a need for safe and effective treatments for low back pain that are low cost and don’t have troublesome side effects.

 

Pain involves both physical and psychological issues. Physically, exercise can be helpful in strengthening the back to prevent or relieve pain. Psychologically, the stress, fear, and anxiety produced by pain tends to elicit responses that actually amplify the pain. So, reducing the emotional reactions to pain may be helpful in pain management. Mindfulness practices have been shown to improve emotion regulation producing more adaptive and less maladaptive responses to emotions. Indeed, mindfulness practices are effective in treating pain and have been shown to be safe and effective in the management of low back pain. Tai Chi, Qigong, and yoga  are both exercises and mindfulness practices that have been found to be effective for back pain. There is accumulating evidence. So, it is useful to take a step back and summarize what has been found.

 

In today’s Research News article “Are Mindful Exercises Safe and Beneficial for Treating Chronic Lower Back Pain? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6571780/), Zou and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effects of the mindful movement practices of Tai Chi, Qigong, and yoga on chronic low back pain. The identified 17 randomized controlled trials that included a total of 2022 participants.

 

They report that the published research found that both Tai Chi and yoga practices produced significant reductions in pain intensity and back specific disability in patients with chronic low back pain. There were no reported adverse events with Tai Chi practice but there were a few adverse events reported with yoga practice. So, although both are effective in treating chronic low back pain, more care must be taken with yoga practice to protect against injury.

 

The results of the published research strongly suggests that Tai Chi  practice should be prescribed for chronic low back pain, reducing pain and disability. In addition, Tai Chi is a gentle and safe mindfulness practice. It is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It is inexpensive to administer, can be performed in groups or alone, at home or in a facility, and can be quickly learned. In addition, it can be practiced in social groups. This can make it fun, improving the likelihood of long-term engagement in the practice. So, Tai Chi practice would appear to be an excellent gentle practice to chronic low back pain.

 

So, improve chronic low back pain with mindful movement practices.

 

“On the physical side, tai chi supports or improves balance, coordination, flexibility, muscle strength, and stamina. On the mental side, tai chi helps relieve stress, improves body awareness and, when done in a group setting, reduces social isolation.” – Harvard Health

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zou, L., Zhang, Y., Yang, L., Loprinzi, P. D., Yeung, A. S., Kong, J., … Li, H. (2019). Are Mindful Exercises Safe and Beneficial for Treating Chronic Lower Back Pain? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(5), 628. doi:10.3390/jcm8050628

 

Abstract

Background: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is a common health issue worldwide. Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga, as the most widely practiced mindful exercises, have promising effects for CLBP-specific symptoms. Objective: We therefore conducted a comprehensive review investigating the effects of mindful exercises versus active and/or non-active controls while evaluating the safety and pain-related effects of mindful exercises in adults with CLBP. Methods: We searched five databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCOPUS, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library) from inception to February 2019. Two investigators independently selected 17 eligible randomized controlled trials (RCT) against inclusion and exclusion criteria, followed by data extraction and study quality assessment. Standardized mean difference (SMD) was used to determine the magnitude of mindful exercises versus controls on pain- and disease-specific outcome measures. Results: As compared to control groups, we observed significantly favorable effects of mindful exercises on reducing pain intensity (SMD = −0.37, 95% CI −0.5 to −0.23, p < 0.001, I2 = 45.9 %) and disability (SMD = −0.39, 95% CI −0.49 to −0.28, p < 0.001, I2 = 0 %). When compared with active control alone, mindful exercises showed significantly reduced pain intensity (SMD = −0.40, p < 0.001). Furthermore, of the three mindful exercises, Tai Chi has a significantly superior effect on pain management (SMD= −0.75, 95% CI −1.05 to −0.46, p < 0.001), whereas Yoga-related adverse events were reported in five studies. Conclusion: Findings of our systematic review suggest that mindful exercises (Tai Chi and Qigong) may be beneficial for CLBP symptomatic management. In particular, Tai Chi appears to have a superior effect in reducing pain intensity irrespective of non-control comparison or active control comparison (conventional exercises, core training, and physical therapy programs). Importantly, training in these mindful exercises should be implemented with certified instructors to ensure quality of movement and injury prevention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6571780/

 

Improve Physical and Psychological Symptoms and Quality of Life in People Living with HIV with Mind-Body Practices

Improve Physical and Psychological Symptoms and Quality of Life in People Living with HIV with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Our bodies and minds are intimately connected. Living with HIV can be stressful and can challenge our emotional well-being. Similarly, stress and anxiety can affect our bodies. So maintaining “a healthy mind in a healthy body” is key.” – CATIE

 

More than 35 million people worldwide and 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection. In 1996, the advent of the protease inhibitor and the so-called cocktail changed the prognosis for HIV. Since this development a 20-year-old infected with HIV can now expect to live on average to age 69. Hence, living with HIV is a long-term reality for a very large group of people. People living with HIV infection experience a wide array of physical and psychological symptoms which decrease their perceived quality of life. The symptoms include chronic pain, muscle aches, anxiety, depression, weakness, fear/worries, difficulty with concentration, concerns regarding the need to interact with a complex healthcare system, stigma, and the challenge to come to terms with a new identity as someone living with HIV.

 

Mindfulness training has been found to be effective in treating chronic pain conditions. In addition, mindfulness training has been shown to improve psychological well-being, lower depression and strengthen the immune system of patients with HIV infection. The research and evidence is accumulating. Hence it makes sense to stop and summarize the research on the ability of mind-body practices to help relieve the symptoms of patients living with HIV.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mind-body practices for people living with HIV: a systematic scoping review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560810/ ), Ramirez-Garcia and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effectiveness of mind-body practices for the treatment of the symptoms of HIV infection. “Mind-body practices include Tai Chi, Qigong, yoga, meditation, and all types of relaxation” training. They identified 84 published research studies.

 

They report that these studies found that for patients with HIV, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) decrease the physical symptoms and the side effects of the drug treatment, and improves the patient’s psychological state. They also report that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the combining at least three relaxation techniques decreases the patient’s physical and psychological symptoms, and increase quality of life and health. Yoga practice was also found to lower the patient’s blood pressure. Tai Chi, Qigong, and relaxation techniques were found to improve the patient’s physical and psychological condition.

 

Hence the accumulated research suggests that mind-body therapies in addition to antiretroviral treatment are safe and effective treatments to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life of patients living with HIV. This is important as these patients will be living for many years with the symptoms of HIV and the side effects of its treatment. The addition of mind-body practices can help make living with HIV more tolerable and improve the patients’ lives.

 

So, improve physical and psychological symptoms and quality of life in people living with HIV with Mindbody practices.

 

“Living a healthy lifestyle can help you better control HIV and prevent the progression to AIDS. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, practicing safe sex, and following your medicine regimen are all important steps in managing HIV.” – Johns Hopkins Health

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Ramirez-Garcia, M. P., Gagnon, M. P., Colson, S., Côté, J., Flores-Aranda, J., & Dupont, M. (2019). Mind-body practices for people living with HIV: a systematic scoping review. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 19(1), 125. doi:10.1186/s12906-019-2502-z

 

Abstract

Background

Mind-body practices are frequently used by people living with HIV to reduce symptoms and improve wellbeing. These include Tai Chi, Qigong, yoga, meditation, and all types of relaxation. Although there is substantial research on the efficacy of mind-body practices in people living with HIV, there is no summary of the available evidence on these practices. The aim of this scoping review is to map available evidence of mind-body practices in people living with HIV.

Methods

The Arksey and O’Malley (Int J Soc Res Methodol 8:19-32, 2005) methodological framework was used. A search of 16 peer-review and grey literature databases, websites, and relevant journals (1983–2015) was conducted. To identify relevant studies, two reviewers independently applied the inclusion criteria to all abstracts or full articles. Inclusion criteria were: participants were people living with HIV; the intervention was any mind-body practice; and the study design was any research study evaluating one or several of these practices. Data extraction and risk of bias assessment were performed by one reviewer and checked by a second, as needed, using the criteria that Cochrane Collaboration recommends for systematic reviews of interventions (Higgins and Green, Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of intervention. 2011). A tabular and narrative synthesis was carried out for each mind-body practice.

Results

One hundred thirty-six documents drawing on 84 studies met the inclusion criteria. The most widely studied mind-body practice was a combination of least three relaxation techniques (n = 20), followed in declining order by meditation (n = 17), progressive muscle relaxation (n = 10), yoga (n = 9) and hypnosis (n = 8). Slightly over half (47/84) of studies used a RCT design. The interventions were mainly (46/84) conducted in groups and most (51/84) included daily individual home practice. All but two studies were unblinded to participants.

Conclusion

The amount of available research on mind-body practices varies by practice. Almost half of the studies in this review were at high risk of bias. However, mindfulness, a combination of least three relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral strategies, and yoga show encouraging results in decreasing physical and psychological symptoms and improving quality of life and health in people living with HIV. More rigorous studies are necessary to confirm the results of Tai Chi, Qigong, and some relaxation techniques.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560810/

 

Improve Mobility and Quality of Life in Patients with Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy with Yoga

Improve Mobility and Quality of Life in Patients with Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Exercise can increase blood flow to the hands and feet and may offer temporary relief from pain. People should discuss the exercises that are best for them with their doctor. Low-impact activities, such as swimming, low-impact aerobics, or yoga, are the safest options.” – Zawn Villines

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Painful Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is a frequent side effect of cancer treatment. This Neuropathy is characterized by damage to the nervous system resulting from chemotherapy. Between 30-100% of patients can experience this neuropathy.  It can affect patients motor abilities including walking, and balance. But it can also affect driving, relationships, work, writing, exercise, sleep and sexual activity.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to relieve chronic pain. It can also help treat the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. Yoga practice is a form of mindfulness training that has been shown to help relieve chronic pain and be beneficial for cancer patients.  So, it makes sense to examine the ability of yoga practice to help relieve the symptoms of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impact of Somatic Yoga and Meditation on Fall Risk, Function, and Quality of Life for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Syndrome in Cancer Survivors.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6537287/), Galantino and colleagues recruited cancer survivors who had completed all treatments but who had some degree of peripheral neuropathy. They participated in a 90 minute, twice a week for 8-weeks, Hatha yoga program including postures, breathwork, and meditation. They were also asked to practice at home. They were measured before and after treatment for motor functions, balance, lower extremity flexibility, pain, neurotoxicity, perceived stress, sleep quality, spiritual efficacy, fear of falling, vibration sense, and salivary cortisol. The participants were asked to record their reflections on their yoga practice in a diary.

 

They found that at the completion of the yoga training the patients had significantly improved mobility, flexibility, balance, risk of falling, perceived pain, pain interference with life activities, sensory systems, muscular weakness, foot vibration sensitivity, and perceived stress. They did not find any adverse effects of the yoga practice on the patients. Qualitative analysis of the patient diaries revealed that the patients noted improvements in enhanced sensations in the extremities, that the yoga practice helped them in managing their symptoms, that the improvement in physical function allowed return to work and re-engagement in hobbies, greater ability to relax, and enjoyment of the social aspects of the yoga practice.

 

It should be noted that this was a small pilot study and there wasn’t a control condition so the results need to be interpreted with caution. But the results are very encouraging and suggest that a large randomized controlled trial is justified and needed to verify the efficacy of the yoga program. But prior to the program there was no improvement over time, so participation in the program likely produced the benefits. The benefits obtained in this study are significant and important contributing to the daily functions, mental and physical health of the patients.

 

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is painful, persistent, disruptive, and debilitating. The degree of improvement seen in the patients after yoga practice markedly improved their symptoms and greatly reduced their suffering. Importantly, after yoga practice the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy were greatly reduced allowing the patients to better function and to enjoy their lives.

 

So, improve mobility and quality of life in patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy with yoga.

 

“They may also benefit from exercise programs such as water exercise, a strength & balance class, Tai Chi, and yoga.  Although patients survived their cancer, giving them their quality of life back should be a priority for those that are suffering from CIPN.” – Pam McMillan

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Galantino, M. L., Tiger, R., Brooks, J., Jang, S., & Wilson, K. (). Impact of Somatic Yoga and Meditation on Fall Risk, Function, and Quality of Life for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Syndrome in Cancer Survivors. Integrative cancer therapies, 18, 1534735419850627. doi:10.1177/1534735419850627

 

Abstract

Objective. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) syndrome causes significant pain as an adverse effect of treatment, with few nonpharmacological interventions tested. A somatic yoga and meditation (SYM) intervention on functional outcomes and quality of life (QOL) was investigated. Design and methods. Individuals diagnosed with CIPN were enrolled in an open-label, single-arm, mixed-methods feasibility trial. Participants and Setting. In an outpatient rehabilitation center, ten participants with median age 64.4 years (47-81) attended 61% of the sessions with no adverse events. Intervention. SYM twice a week for 8 weeks for 1.5 hours, with home program and journaling. Main outcome measures. Primary functional outcomes included Sit and Reach (SR), Functional Reach (FR), and Timed Up and Go (TUG). Self-reported Patient Neurotoxicity Questionnaire (PNQ) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—Neurotoxicity (FACT-GOG-NTX) were secondary CIPN outcomes. Biomarkers included salivary cortisol (stress) and bioesthesiometer (vibration). Results: Quantitative findings. Significant improvements were found in flexibility (SR; P = .006); balance (FR; P = .001) and fall risk (TUG; P = .004). PNQ improved significantly (P = .003) with other measures improving non-significantly. Qualitative findings. Five themes emerged: (1) vacillation of CIPN pain perception over time; (2) transferability of skills to daily activities; (3) improvement in physical function; (4) perceived relaxation as an effect of SYM; and (5) group engagement provided a social context for not feeling isolated with CIPN. Conclusion. Preliminary data suggest SYM may improve QOL, flexibility, and balance in cancer survivors with CIPN, with a fully powered randomized controlled trial indicated.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6537287/

 

Improve Relationships with the Self and Others with Yoga Practice

Improve Relationships with the Self and Others with Yoga Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Cultivating mindfulness can help you face the inevitable difficulties and disappointments that arise in relationship with equanimity, compassion, and loving-kindness.” – Phillip Moffit

 

Humans are social animals. This is a great asset for the species as the effort of the individual is amplified by cooperation. In primitive times, this cooperation was essential for survival. But in modern times it is also essential, not for survival but rather for making a living and for the happiness of the individual. This ability to cooperate is so essential to human flourishing that it is built deep into our DNA and is reflected in the structure of the human nervous system. Mindfulness has been found to improve relationships with others.

 

It is not only important to develop relationships with others but to also develop relationship with the self. There is a widespread problem in the West that many people don’t seem to like themselves. The antidote to self-dislike is self-compassion. Self-compassion is “treating oneself with kindness and understanding when facing suffering, seeing one’s failures as part of the human condition, and having a balanced awareness of painful thoughts and emotions” – Kristin Neff.  Unfortunately, there has been little systematic research of the effectiveness of yoga practice in developing relationships with the self and others.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Daily Influences of Yoga on Relational Outcomes Off of the Mat.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521757/), Kishida and colleagues recruited adult yoga practitioners. They had the participants report their yoga practice characteristics and then maintained an online 21-day diary of yoga practice, mindfulness, self-compassion, compassion, social connectedness, psychological health, and physical health.

 

They found that across days that the higher the level of mindfulness the higher the level of psychological health, self-compassion, compassion, and social connectedness. They also found that the greater the amount of yoga practice the higher the level of mindfulness and self-compassion. A mediation analysis revealed that yoga practice was associated with greater compassion and social connectedness in part directly and in part through its relationship with mindfulness, where yoga practice was associated with greater mindfulness which in turn was associated with greater compassion and social connectedness. In addition, daily yoga practice was associated with compassion both directly and indirectly through its relationship with self-compassion, where yoga practice was associated with greater self-compassion which in turn was associated with greater compassion.

 

This is a correlational study, so causation cannot be concluded, But previous studies have clearly shown that mindfulness practices such as yoga produce improvements in psychological health, self-compassion, compassion, and social connectedness. So, it is likely that yoga practice was the cause of the benefits reported in the present study.

 

Yoga is a mindfulness practice. The results suggest that yoga practice produces direct benefits for the psychological and social well-being of the practitioner in a direct manner. But the results also suggest that yoga practice improves mindfulness which in turn improves the practitioners psychological and social well-being. So, yoga practice by improving mindfulness produces benefits and yoga practice by itself also has its own benefits. These results suggest that practicing yoga make an individual happier with themselves and better able to engage with others.

 

So, improve relationships with the self and others with yoga practice.

 

“In the same way as yoga requires knowledge and skills for the perfection of the practice, relationships require relational skills in order for them to grow and unfold over time.” – Joel Feldman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kishida, M., Mogle, J., & Elavsky, S. (2019). The Daily Influences of Yoga on Relational Outcomes Off of the Mat. International journal of yoga, 12(2), 103–113. doi:10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_46_18

 

Abstract

Background:

Despite the wide array of health benefits that have been evidenced with yoga, a clear gap exists examining how yoga impacts connections with oneself and to others.

Aims:

The objectives of the present study were twofold: (1) to describe the day-to-day (in)variability in daily yoga practice and relational outcomes and (2) to examine the direct and indirect effects of yoga practice on relational outcomes.

Methods:

Community-dwelling yoga practitioners (n = 104, age range: 18–76 years) with a yoga practice of at least once a week were recruited for a 21-day daily diary study. Practitioners were asked to complete daily Internet surveys at the end of the day which included questions with respect to one’s yoga practice and relational domains (i.e., mindfulness, [self-]compassion, and social connectedness).

Results:

Multilevel analyses revealed yoga and relational outcomes to be dynamic phenomena, indicated by substantial variation (intraclass correlations = 0.34–0.48) at the within-person level. On days when an individual practiced more yoga than their usual, greater mindfulness (b = 2.93, standard error [SE] = 0.39, P < 0.05) and self-compassion (b = 1.45, SE = 0.46, P < 0.05) were also reported. 1-1-1 multilevel mediation models demonstrated that yoga has an indirect effect on both compassion and social connectedness through increases in mindfulness at the within- and between-person levels. In models testing self-compassion as the mediator, the indirect effect of daily yoga practice on compassion was significant, although limited to the within-person level.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest that a routine yoga practice could positively impact how a practitioner relates to theirselves and to others, both on a day-to-day basis, and with accumulated practice.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521757/

 

Improve “Diabetic Lung” with Yoga Therapy

Improve “Diabetic Lung” with Yoga Therapy

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga can do more than just relax your body in mind — especially if you’re living with diabetes. Certain poses may help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels while also improving circulation.” – Daniel Bubnis

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States and nearly 600 million people worldwide have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type II Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, circulatory problems leading to amputations and pulmonary issues known as “Diabetic Lung.” As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary life style. Unlike Type I Diabetes, Type II does not require insulin injections. Instead, the treatment and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes focuses on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. A mindfulness practice that combines mindfulness with exercise is yoga and it has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of Type II Diabetes. The extent to which yoga practice might also help with “Diabetic Lung” has not been well studied.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Adjuvant Yoga Therapy in Diabetic Lung: A Randomized Control Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521747/), Balaji and colleagues recruited diabetic patients whose lung function was less than 70% of normal. They were randomly assigned to receive either medical care as usual or to receive usual medical care and additional yoga therapy 3 times per week for 4 months. The yoga therapy included poses, relaxation, breathing exercises, and special postures designed to improve lung function. The participants were measured before and after the 4-month intervention for body size, and pulmonary function.

 

They found that compared to baseline and medical care as usual, after yoga practice there was a significant reduction in body weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) and a significant improvement in lung function including improvements in forced expiratory volume, forced vital capacity, and their ratio. Hence yoga therapy appears to be a safe and effective therapy for patients with “Diabetic Lung.”

 

In the present study the control condition did not include an exercise condition. So, it cannot be determined whether the exercise associated with the yoga practice or the other components of the practice were responsible for the improvements. But it is clear from this randomized controlled trial that yoga practice designed to improve lung function is a safe and effective treatment for diabetic patients with “Diabetic Lung.”

 

So, improve “Diabetic Lung” with yoga therapy.

 

Although regular exercise can help, yoga for diabetes provides unique benefits that can effectively restore the body to a state of natural health and proper function.” – Yoga U

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Balaji, R., Ramanathan, M., Bhavanani, A. B., Ranganadin, P., & Balachandran, K. (2019). Effectiveness of Adjuvant Yoga Therapy in Diabetic Lung: A Randomized Control Trial. International Journal of Yoga, 12(2), 96–102. doi:10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_20_18

 

Abstract

Context:

Recent studies provide ample evidence of the benefits of yoga in various chronic disorders. Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by chronic hyperglycemia and Sandler coined the term “Diabetic Lung” for the abnormal pulmonary function detected in diabetic patients due underlying pulmonary dysfunction. Yoga therapy may help in achieving better pulmonary function along with enhanced glycaemic control and overall health benefits.

Aim:

To study the effect of adjuvant yoga therapy in diabetic lung through spirometry.

Settings and Design:

Randomized control trial was made as interdisciplinary collaborative work between departments of Yoga Therapy, Pulmonary Medicine and Endocrinology, of MGMC & RI, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth Puducherry.

Materials and Methods:

72 patients of diabetic lung as confirmed by spirometry (<70% of expected) were randomized into control group (n=36) who received only standard medical treatment and yoga group (n=36) who received yoga training thrice weekly for 4 months along with standard medical management. Yoga therapy protocol included yogic counseling, preparatory practices, Asanas or static postures, Pranayama or breathing techniques and relaxation techniques. Hathenas of the Gitananda Yoga tradition were the main practices used. Spirometry was done at the end of the study period. Data was analyzed by Student’s paired and unpaired ‘t’ test as it passed normality.

Results:

There was a statistically significant (P < 0.05) reduction in weight, and BMI along with a significant (P < 0.01) improvement in pulmonary function (FEV1, FVC) in yoga group as compared to control group where parameters worsened over study period.

Conclusion:

It is concluded from the present RCT that yoga has a definite role as an adjuvant therapy as it enhances standard medical care and hence is even more significant in routine clinical management of diabetes, improving physical condition and pulmonary function.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521747/

 

Alter the Brain to Deal with Stress with Meditation and Yoga

Alter the Brain to Deal with Stress with Meditation and Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Brain researchers have detected improvements in cognition and emotional well-being associated with meditation and yoga, as well as differences in how meditation and prayer affect the brain.” – Michaela Jarvis

 

There has accumulated a large amount of research demonstrating that mindfulness has significant benefits for psychological, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. One way that mindfulness practices may produce these benefits is by altering the brain. The nervous system is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to the environment. It will change size, activity, and connectivity in response to experience. These changes in the brain are called neuroplasticity. Over the last decade neuroscience has been studying the effects of contemplative practices on the brain and has identified neuroplastic changes in widespread areas. In other words, mindfulness practice appears to mold and change the brain, producing psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits.

 

In today’s Research News article “Meditation and yoga practice are associated with smaller right amygdala volume: the Rotterdam study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6302143/), Gotink and colleagues utilized the data on participants in the longitudinal Rotterdam Study who were 45 years of age and older  at the time of recruitment and at the time of measurement had a mean age of 64 years. They were interviewed to determine if the practiced meditation and yoga and whether these practices improved their coping with stress. They were also measured for body size, blood pressure, blood fat, diabetes, smoking, alcohol use, stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition, their brains were scanned with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that practitioners of meditation and yoga reported higher stress levels than non-practitioners, but reported that the practice helped them cope with the stress. In addition, meditation practitioners had higher depression levels than non-practitioners. It is possible that people who are under high levels of stress or are depressed tend to engage in meditation and yoga practices to help cope with it.

 

They also report that the practitioners had smaller volumes of the brain structures right side amygdala and left hippocampus. In addition, over a five-year period the practitioners had a significant decrease in amygdala volume. The amygdala is associated with negative emotions and its smaller volume may suggest fewer or weaker negative emotions in practitioners.

 

This was a cross-sectional study and causation cannot be determined. It is possible that people with certain types of brains are more likely to practice. It will require a randomized controlled trial to determine what effects yoga and meditation practice may have on the psychological state and nervous system volumes.

 

Alter the brain to deal with stress with meditation and yoga.

 

“Studies show that yoga increases relaxation in the brain, improves areas of the brain that help us manage pain, and protects us against age-related decline. Together, these benefits begin to reveal the scientifically validated effects of yoga practice on brain health.” – Angela Wilson

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Gotink, R. A., Vernooij, M. W., Ikram, M. A., Niessen, W. J., Krestin, G. P., Hofman, A., … Hunink, M. (2018). Meditation and yoga practice are associated with smaller right amygdala volume: the Rotterdam study. Brain imaging and behavior, 12(6), 1631–1639. doi:10.1007/s11682-018-9826-z

 

Abstract

To determine the association between meditation and yoga practice, experienced stress, and amygdala and hippocampal volume in a large population-based study. This study was embedded within the population-based Rotterdam Study and included 3742 participants for cross-sectional association. Participants filled out a questionnaire assessing meditation practice, yoga practice, and experienced stress, and underwent a magnetic resonance scan of the brain. 2397 participants underwent multiple brain scans, and were assessed for structural change over time. Amygdala and hippocampal volumes were regions of interest, as these are structures that may be affected by meditation. Multivariable linear regression analysis and mixed linear models were performed adjusted for age, sex, educational level, intracranial volume, cardiovascular risk, anxiety, depression and stress. 15.7% of individuals participated in at least one form of practice. Those who performed meditation and yoga practices reported significantly more stress (mean difference 0.2 on a 1–5 scale, p < .001) and more depressive symptoms (mean difference 1.03 on CESD, p = .015). Partaking in meditation and yoga practices was associated with a significantly lower right amygdala volume (β = − 31.8 mm3, p = .005), and lower left hippocampus volume (β = − 75.3 mm3, p = .025). Repeated measurements using linear mixed models showed a significant effect over time on the right amygdala of practicing meditation and yoga (β = − 24.4 mm3, SE 11.3, p = .031). Partaking in meditation and yoga practice is associated with more experienced stress while it also helps cope with stress, and is associated with smaller right amygdala volume.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6302143/

 

Improve Body Image with Yoga

Improve Body Image with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Yoga, with its tenets of peace, self-compassion, and acceptance, is a path to softening and even transforming such harsh beliefs. Through the path of yoga, we practice harmony within and strengthen our relationship with our body.” – Jennifer Kreatsoulis

 

The self is a concept and is created by thought. In other words, there’s a process involving thinking that creates the concept of a self. This is a verb. We are not a self, we are producing a self, we are selfing! This suggests that the self can change and grow with circumstances. One important aspect of the self-concept is one’s body image.

 

The media is constantly presenting idealized images of what we should look like. These are unrealistic and unattainable for the vast majority of people. But it results in most everyone being unhappy with their body.  This can lead to problematic consequences. In a number of eating disorders there’s a distorted body image. This can and does drive unhealthy behaviors.

 

In the media, yoga is portrayed as practiced by lithe beautiful people. This is, of course, unrealistic and potentially harmful. But yoga is also an exercise that tends to improve the body and is also a mindfulness practice and mindfulness practices appear to have profound effects on the idea of self. Hence, it is unclear whether yoga practice promotes a healthy body image or contributes to harmful distortions of body image.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga and body image: Findings from a large population-based study of young adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5869146/), Neumark-Sztainer and colleagues performed a large, population-based study on eating and weight-related outcomes. They recruited male and female adolescents from Middle and High Schools and followed them from adolescence to young adulthood. They administered questionnaires and followed-up at 5-year intervals. The young adults were measured for yoga practice, body size, and body satisfaction 10 and 15 years after the initial recruitment at an average age of 31 years.

 

They found that over 16% of the young adults practiced yoga and that these practitioners had significantly higher levels of body satisfaction than non-practitioners. Even when adjusting for body satisfaction 5-years prior, the yoga practitioners still had significantly higher levels of body satisfaction. This was especially true for those who had low body satisfaction 5-years earlier, showing greater gains in body satisfaction than yoga practitioners who previously had high body satisfaction.

 

These results suggest that yoga practice improves body satisfaction particularly in young adults who were low in body satisfaction to start with. This is important and suggests that yoga practice promotes a healthy body image rather than harmful distortions. This further suggests that yoga practice should be recommended for adolescents and young adults with poor body images. This could well produce healthier body images reducing the likelihood of eating disorders, increasing self-acceptance, improving self-concepts, and leading to happier better adjusted young adults.

 

So, improve body image with yoga.

 

“One of the first tenants of yoga is ahimsa (nonviolence)—do no harm to yourself or others. The media creating unrealistic images of beauty is harmful to you, and it’s up to you to set those images aside, love yourself and be kind to yourself. You are beautiful as you are.” – Dianne Bondy

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Neumark-Sztainer, D., MacLehose, R. F., Watts, A. W., Pacanowski, C. R., & Eisenberg, M. E. (2018). Yoga and body image: Findings from a large population-based study of young adults. Body image, 24, 69–75. doi:10.1016/j.bodyim.2017.12.003

 

Abstract

This study explored the potential for yoga to promote body satisfaction in a general population of young adults. The sample included 1,664 participants (M age: 31.1, SD = 1.6 years) in Project EAT, a 15-year longitudinal study. Data from the third and fourth waves (EAT-III and EAT-IV), collected five years apart, were utilized. Practicing yoga (≥ 30 minutes/week) was reported by 16.2% of young adults. After adjusting for EAT-III body satisfaction and body mass index, yoga practitioners had higher concurrent body satisfaction at EAT-IV than those not practicing yoga (difference: 1.5 units (95% CI: 0.1 – 2.8), p = .03). Among participants within the lowest quartile of prior (EAT-III) body satisfaction, there was preliminary evidence that body satisfaction at EAT-IV was higher among yoga practitioners than in other young adults. Findings suggest that yoga may be associated with body satisfaction, particularly among young adults with low prior body satisfaction.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5869146/

 

Improve Major Mental Illnesses with Mindfulness and Yoga

Improve Major Mental Illnesses with Mindfulness and Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“for many patients dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress, yoga may be a very appealing way to better manage symptoms. Indeed, the scientific study of yoga demonstrates that mental and physical health are not just closely allied, but are essentially equivalent. The evidence is growing that yoga practice is a relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health.” – Harvard Health

 

There are vast numbers of people who suffer with mental illnesses. In the United states it has been estimated that in any given year 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness. Many are treated with drugs. But drug treatment can produce unwanted side effects, don’t work for many patients, and often can lose effectiveness over time. Mindfulness practices provide a safe alternative treatment. They have been found to be helpful with coping with these illnesses and in many cases reducing the symptoms of the diseases. Hence, it appears that mindfulness practices are safe and effective treatments for a variety of psychiatric conditions including anxiety, depression, psychoses, addictions, etc..

 

Yoga practice is a mindfulness practice that includes beneficial exercise. There is accumulating research that mindfulness and yoga practices may be beneficial for patients with major mental illnesses. Hence it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned regarding the effectiveness of yoga practice for major mental illnesses.

 

In today’s Research News article “Role of Yoga and Mindfulness in Severe Mental Illnesses: A Narrative Review.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329226/), Sathyanarayanan and colleagues reviewed and summarized published research studies of the effects of mindfulness and yoga practices for the treatment of major mental illnesses including schizophrenia, psychosis, major depression, and bipolar disorder. They identified 49 published studies.

 

They report that the research finds that yoga practice is effective in improving the symptoms of schizophrenia including reducing emotional and social withdrawal, and improving flat emotions, rapport, spontaneity, and cognitive functions, including attention and cognitive flexibility. There were also significant improvements in social and occupational functioning, quality of life, achieving functional remission, subjective well-being, personal hygiene, life skills, interpersonal activities, and communication. Mindfulness-Based treatments were also effective in improving the symptoms of schizophrenia including stress, anxiety, depression, obsession, anger, impulsivity, lack of concentration, agoraphobic symptoms, awareness of the psychotic experiences and helps individuals to articulate their distress.

 

Yoga and mindfulness practices have been shown to significantly improve bipolar disorder including improvements in cognitive, emotional, and physical domains. Yoga and mindfulness practices have also been shown to improve the symptoms of major depressive disorder, including significant reductions in depression and anxiety and increases in activation. They have also been shown to reduce depression in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

 

In most of the reviewed studies the patients continued drug treatments and yoga and mindfulness trainings were provided in addition to the drug treatments. This suggests that both yoga and mindfulness practices are safe and effective adjunctive treatment for major mental illnesses. This is particularly significant as these illnesses are particularly difficult to treat. Hence, the additional benefits of yoga and mindfulness practices are very important and welcome in the treatment of these debilitating conditions.

 

So, improve major mental illnesses with mindfulness and yoga.

 

“Yoga is incredible in terms of stress management. It brings a person back to homeostasis [or equilibrium]. For people who have anxieties of many kinds, yoga helps lower their basic physiological arousal level.” – Eleanor Criswell

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sathyanarayanan, G., Vengadavaradan, A., & Bharadwaj, B. (2019). Role of Yoga and Mindfulness in Severe Mental Illnesses: A Narrative Review. International journal of yoga, 12(1), 3–28. doi:10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_65_17

 

Abstract

Background:

Yoga has its origin from the ancient times. It is an integration of mind, body, and soul. Besides, mindfulness emphasizes focused awareness and accepting the internal experiences without being judgemental. These techniques offer a trending new dimension of treatment in various psychiatric disorders.

Aims:

We aimed to review the studies on the efficacy of yoga and mindfulness as a treatment modality in severe mental illnesses (SMIs). SMI includes schizophrenia, major depressive disorder (MDD), and bipolar disorder (BD).

Methods:

We conducted a literature search using PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane Library with the search terms “yoga,” “meditation,” “breathing exercises,” “mindfulness,” “schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders,” “depressive disorder,” and “bipolar disorder” for the last 10-year period. We also included relevant articles from the cross-references.

Results:

We found that asanas and pranayama are the most commonly studied forms of yoga for schizophrenia. These studies found a reduction in general psychopathology ratings and an improvement in cognition and functioning. Some studies also found modest benefits in negative and positive symptoms. Mindfulness has not been extensively tried, but the available evidence has shown benefits in improving psychotic symptoms, improving level of functioning, and affect regulation. In MDD, both yoga and mindfulness have demonstrated significant benefit in reducing the severity of depressive symptoms. There is very sparse data with respect to BD.

Conclusion:

Both yoga and mindfulness interventions appear to be useful as an adjunct in the treatment of SMI. Studies have shown improvement in the psychopathology, anxiety, cognition, and functioning of patients with schizophrenia. Similarly, both the techniques have been established as an effective adjuvant in MDD. However, more rigorously designed and larger trials may be necessary, specifically for BD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329226/

 

Improve Physical and Mental Well-Being in the Elderly with Yoga

Improve Physical and Mental Well-Being in the Elderly with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga is incredible for an older population to help them maintain their balance, keep their joints flexible, maintain bone health and muscle mass, as well as learn how to cope with their mental state as they witness their bodies aging. Yoga is great for focus, concentration, and emotional wellbeing. Seniors can benefit tremendously from the practice and it gives them a place to quiet their mind and start to slow down in life.” – Kristin McGee

We celebrate the increasing longevity of the population. But aging is a mixed blessing. The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline of the body and the brain. Every system in the body deteriorates including motor function with a decline in strength, flexibility, and balance. It is inevitable. In addition, many elderly experience withdrawal and isolation from social interactions and depression. There is some hope as there is evidence that these declines can be slowed. For example, a healthy diet and a regular program of exercise can slow the physical decline of the body with aging. Also, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline.

 

Yoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of benefits for psychological and physical health. It is both an exercise and a mind-body practice that stresses both mental attention to present moment movements, breath control, and flexibility, range of motion, and balance. It has been shown to improve balance and flexibility in older individuals.  It is safe and can be practiced by anyone from children to seniors. Recently, there have been a number of high profile athletes who have adopted a yoga practice to improve their athletic performance. But it is not known whether yoga practice is as good as traditional exercise programs in improving the overall functional fitness of sedentary older adults and slow the age related physical decline.

 

In today’s Research News article “The effects of yoga compared to active and inactive controls on physical function and health related quality of life in older adults- systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6451238/), Sivaramakrishnan and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of yoga practice for the well-being of aging individuals. They identified 22 randomized controlled trials of yoga practice effects on the physical function and health related quality of life in older (> 60 years) individuals.

 

They report that the research literature found that yoga practice in comparison to both active and inactive controls produced significant improvements in physical function including lower limb strength and lower body flexibility. In comparison to inactive controls yoga practice also produced a significant improvement in balance. Additionally, they report that yoga practice in comparison to both active and inactive controls produced significant improvement in depression levels. In comparison to inactive controls yoga practice also produced significant improvements in perceived mental health, perceived physical health, sleep quality, and vitality.

 

In looking at the research findings in general, it appears that yoga practice has significant benefits for older adults for physical and mental health. The benefits appear the greatest when yoga practice is compared to no activity, but are still present but to a lesser extent when compared to individuals practicing other activities such as walking, Tai Chi, or stretching exercises. Hence, it appears that many of the benefits of yoga practice are due to the exercise provided by yoga rather than the mind-body components of the practice.

 

But yoga practice still has some important benefits in comparison to older individuals engaging in other activities. These benefits would appear to be independent of the exercise and are likely due to the contemplative practice provided by yoga. The antidepressant effects are particularly important as depression is a major problem for the elderly. The improvements in strength and flexibility are also important as these physical abilities deteriorate with aging and contribute to musculoskeletal problems.

 

The current research literature findings, the, suggest that yoga may be an excellent practice for the slowing of age-related decline. It would appear to be superior to many other activities and should be routinely recommended for physical and mental health of the elderly.

 

So, improve physical and mental well-being in the elderly with Yoga.

 

The research on yoga is preliminary, however, initial studies have found a yoga practice to positively correlate with both physical and mental wellness. It’s uncontroversial that yoga can improve strength, flexibility, and endurance, but studies have also found that regular practice may help: Lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, Recovery from strokes and surgery, prevent falls, manage arthritis, pain and inflammation, manage diabetes, manage digestive issues like IBS, improve sleep quality, facilitate the grieving process, and manage depression and anxiety.” – Yoga for Seniors

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Sivaramakrishnan, D., Fitzsimons, C., Kelly, P., Ludwig, K., Mutrie, N., Saunders, D. H., & Baker, G. (2019). The effects of yoga compared to active and inactive controls on physical function and health related quality of life in older adults- systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, 16(1), 33. doi:10.1186/s12966-019-0789-2

 

Abstract

Background

Yoga has been recommended as a muscle strengthening and balance activity in national and global physical activity guidelines. However, the evidence base establishing the effectiveness of yoga in improving physical function and health related quality of life (HRQoL) in an older adult population not recruited on the basis of any specific disease or condition, has not been systematically reviewed. The objective of this study was to synthesise existing evidence on the effects of yoga on physical function and HRQoL in older adults not characterised by any specific clinical condition.

Methods

The following databases were systematically searched in September 2017: MEDLINE, PsycInfo, CINAHL Plus, Scopus, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus, AMED and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. Study inclusion criteria: Older adult participants with mean age of 60 years and above, not recruited on the basis of any specific disease or condition; yoga intervention compared with inactive controls (example: wait-list control, education booklets) or active controls (example: walking, chair aerobics); physical function and HRQoL outcomes; and randomised/cluster randomised controlled trials published in English. A vote counting analysis and meta-analysis with standardised effect sizes (Hedges’ g) computed using random effects models were conducted.

Results

A total of 27 records from 22 RCTs were included (17 RCTs assessed physical function and 20 assessed HRQoL). The meta-analysis revealed significant effects (5% level of significance) favouring the yoga group for the following physical function outcomes compared with inactive controls: balance (effect size (ES) = 0.7), lower body flexibility (ES = 0.5), lower limb strength (ES = 0.45); compared with active controls: lower limb strength (ES = 0.49), lower body flexibility (ES = 0.28). For HRQoL, significant effects favouring yoga were found compared to inactive controls for: depression (ES = 0.64), perceived mental health (ES = 0.6), perceived physical health (ES = 0.61), sleep quality (ES = 0.65), and vitality (ES = 0.31); compared to active controls: depression (ES = 0.54).

Conclusion

This review is the first to compare the effects of yoga with active and inactive controls in older adults not characterised by a specific clinical condition. Results indicate that yoga interventions improve multiple physical function and HRQoL outcomes in this population compared to both control conditions. This study provides robust evidence for promoting yoga in physical activity guidelines for older adults as a multimodal activity that improves aspects of fitness like strength, balance and flexibility, as well as mental wellbeing.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6451238/