Improve Multiple Sclerosis with Meditation and Yoga

Improve Multiple Sclerosis with Meditation and Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Studies show that for some people with MS, chronic exposure to stress is associated with worsening neurological symptoms and increased brain lesions. Researchers believe that mindfulness may help people better respond to stress by fostering healthier coping strategies. Mindfulness practice appears to be a safe, drug-free approach to coping with stress and anxiety, which may in turn help reduce your MS symptoms.” – Amit Sood

 

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive demyelinating disease which attacks the coating on the neural axons which send messages throughout the body and nervous system. It affects about 2 million people worldwide and about 400,000 in the U.S. It is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 50 years.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. There are a number of approved medications that are used to treat MS but are designed to lessen frequency of relapses and slow the progression of the disease, but they don’t address individual symptoms.

 

Although there is a progressive deterioration, MS is not fatal with MS patients having about the same life expectancy as the general population. Hence, most MS sufferers have to live with the disease for many years. So, quality of life becomes a major issue. Quality of life with MS is affected by fatigue, cognitive decrements, physical impairment, depression, and poor sleep quality. There is a thus a critical need for safe and effective methods to help relieve the symptoms of MS and improve quality of life.

 

Mindfulness practices have been previously shown to improve depressionsleep quality, cognitive impairmentsemotion regulation, and fatigue. It has also been shown to improve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.  Yoga is a mindfulness practice that has the added feature of exercising and stretching the muscles. It would seem likely that yoga practice might be an ideal treatment for improving the quality of life and lessening symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness in Motion for People with Multiple Sclerosis: A Feasibility Study.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5649345/, Gilbertson and Klatt examined the combination of meditation and chair yoga practice which in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. They called this program “Mindfulness in Motion.” In a pilot feasibility study, they recruited patients with multiple sclerosis and provided them with 8 weeks of the “Mindfulness in Motion” program. The program met once a week for one hour and participants were expected to practice at home for 20 minutes every day. Participants were measured before and after the 8 weeks of practice for mindfulness, fatigue, anxiety, depression, behavior control, and positive affect, physical functioning, role limitations due to physical problems, bodily pain, general health perceptions, vitality, social functioning, role limitations due to emotional problems, and mental health.

 

They found that compared to baseline after completing the “Mindfulness in Motion” program the participants showed significant improvements in physical functioning, role-physical, vitality, mental health, anxiety, depression, and positive affect and cognitive and psychosocial fatigue and mindfulness including observing, acting with awareness, nonjudgment, and nonreactivity. Hence, after the 8-week “Mindfulness in Motion” program the participants showed marked and significant improvements in the psychological symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

 

It needs to be kept in mind that this study was a pilot feasibility study that did not have an active control condition, so conclusions must be made carefully. But, this is an extremely encouraging first step that suggests that the combination of two practices which individually produce symptom relief, meditation and chair yoga practice, is a particularly effective treatment for the psychological symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

 

So, improve multiple sclerosis with meditation and yoga.

 

“Studies in multiple sclerosis, these have shown that mindfulness can improve quality of life and help people cope better with their MS. The studies also found that it decreased stress, anxiety and depression.” – MS Trust

 

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

 

Rachel M. Gilbertson, Maryanna D. Klatt. Mindfulness in Motion for People with Multiple Sclerosis: A Feasibility Study. Int J MS Care. 2017 Sep-Oct; 19(5): 225–231. doi: 10.7224/1537-2073.2015-095

 

Abstract

Background:

Mindfulness in Motion is an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention that uses yoga movement, mindfulness meditation, and relaxing music. This study examined the feasibility of using Mindfulness in Motion in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and the effect of this program on stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and quality of life in people with MS.

Methods:

Twenty-two people with MS completed the 8-week mindfulness program as well as assessments 1 week before and after the intervention.

Results:

Pre/post comparison of four self-reported questionnaires—the Mental Health Inventory, 36-item Short Form Health Status Survey, Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, and Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire—showed significant improvement in physical functioning, vitality, and mental health. Specifically, improvements were seen in anxiety, depression, and positive affect; cognitive, psychosocial, and overall functioning regarding fatigue; and mindfulness in the areas of observing, acting with awareness, nonjudgment, and nonreactivity.

Conclusions:

Due to the uncertainty in disease progression associated with MS, and the multiplicity of mental and physical symptoms associated with it, programming that addresses anxiety, depression, and fatigue is a key area of future research in MS disease management. Mindfulness in Motion proved to be a feasible program yielding positive results, supporting the need for research to determine the extent to which the program can improve quality-of-life outcomes for people with MS.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5649345/

Protect the Aging Brain with Yoga

Protect the Aging Brain with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“We’ve all known yogis who seemed to defy the hands of time. The current study is just one of a long list of studies indicating that yoga may promote healthy aging. Whether it be more growth hormone or less stress, a well-balanced yoga practice is good for you.” – Grace Bullock

 

Human life is one of constant change. We revel in our increases in physical and mental capacities during development, but regret their decreases during aging. The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. Starting in the 20s there is a progressive decrease in the volume of the brain as we age. But, 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 area. and have found that meditation practice appears to mold and change the brain, producing psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits. In addition, they have been able to investigate various techniques that might slow the process of neurodegeneration that accompanies normal aging. They’ve found that mindfulness practices reduce the deterioration of the brain that occurs with aging restraining the loss of neural tissue. Indeed, the brains of practitioners of meditation and yoga have been found to degenerate less with aging than non-practitioners.

 

In today’s Research News article “Greater Cortical Thickness in Elderly Female Yoga Practitioners—A Cross-Sectional Study.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5476728/, Afonso and colleagues recruited women over 60 years of age with at least 8 years of Hatha yoga practice and a group of women, matched for age, education and physical activity, who had never practiced yoga, meditation, or other mind-body practices. They were measured for their ability to perform daily tasks of living, depression, and cognitive function. All participants underwent brain scanning with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

 

They found that the yoga practitioners had significantly greater cortical thickness in the frontal lobes than the control group while there were no areas where the yoga practitioners had significantly less cortical thickness. Hence, the practice of yoga appears to protect the prefrontal cortical areas from age related degeneration. This replicates previous findings that mindfulness practices, in general, increase the size of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal areas are important for high level thinking, including attention, behavioral inhibition, and executive functions. Hence, their preservation is important for the maintenance of cognitive ability with aging. So, the practice of yoga should be viewed as an important means to preserve the brain and mental ability and thereby age successfully.

 

So, protect the aging brain with yoga.

 

“scientifically and medically, most of the claims made for yoga practice stand up. The benefits on both body and mind are legion. The anti-ageing impact is profound. Doing yoga reduces back pain, improves balance and muscle strength and reverses muscle loss. It improves symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, menopausal symptoms, even the control of type 2 diabetes. It decreases anxiety and depression. It hugely enhances flexibility. There are endless sound academic sources to back up these statements as well as the testimony of countless practitioners.” – Carla McKay

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

 

Afonso, R. F., Balardin, J. B., Lazar, S., Sato, J. R., Igarashi, N., Santaella, D. F., … Kozasa, E. H. (2017). Greater Cortical Thickness in Elderly Female Yoga Practitioners—A Cross-Sectional Study. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9, 201. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2017.00201

 

Abstract

Yoga, a mind-body activity that requires attentional engagement, has been associated with positive changes in brain structure and function, especially in areas related to awareness, attention, executive functions and memory. Normal aging, on the other hand, has also been associated with structural and functional brain changes, but these generally involve decreased cognitive functions. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to compare brain cortical thickness (CT) in elderly yoga practitioners and a group of age-matched healthy non-practitioners. We tested 21 older women who had practiced hatha yoga for at least 8 years and 21 women naive to yoga, meditation or any mind-body interventions who were matched to the first group in age, years of formal education and physical activity level. A T1-weighted MPRAGE sequence was acquired for each participant. Yoga practitioners showed significantly greater CT in a left prefrontal lobe cluster, which included portions of the lateral middle frontal gyrus, anterior superior frontal gyrus and dorsal superior frontal gyrus. We found greater CT in the left prefrontal cortex of healthy elderly women who trained yoga for a minimum of 8 years compared with women in the control group.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5476728/

Improve Fibromyalgia with Yoga Practice

Improve Fibromyalgia with Yoga Practice

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, it can be hard to get yourself moving, but movement and exercise are key ways to help manage and minimize pain. Practicing yoga daily can help. Yoga targets not only the body but also the mind. You can access multiple benefits by using yoga for fibromyalgia pain.” – Pain Doctor

 

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious disorder whose causes are unknown. It is very common affecting over 5 million people in the U.S., about 2% of the population with about 7 times more women affected than men. It is characterized by widespread pain, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, and fatigue that lead to psychological distress. Fibromyalgia may also produce morning stiffness, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, headaches, including migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disturbances, thinking and memory problems, and painful menstrual periods. The symptoms are so severe and debilitating that about half the patients are unable to perform routine daily functions and about a third have to stop work. Although it is not itself fatal, suicide rates are higher in fibromyalgia sufferers.

 

There are no completely effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Symptoms are generally treated with pain relievers, antidepressant drugs and exercise. But, these only reduce the severity of the symptoms and do not treat the disease directly. Mindfulness practices have also been shown to be effective in reducing pain from fibromyalgia. Yoga is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice. So, it would make sense to investigate the effectiveness of yoga practice in treating fibromyalgia.

 

In today’s Research News article “A pilot randomized controlled trial of the Yoga of Awareness program in the management of fibromyalgia.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568071/, Carson and colleagues recruited adult women who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia for at least a year. They were randomly assigned to receive either yoga practice or be on a wait-list control condition. The Yoga for Awareness training occurred in a group setting for 2 hours, once a week for 8 weeks. Participants were also encouraged to practice at home for 20-40 minutes, 5 to 7 days per week. Yoga for Awareness sessions consisted of yoga stretching poses, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, presentations on the application of yogic principles to optimal coping, and group discussions. Participants were measured before and after training for fibromyalgia symptoms and disability, including myalgic tender points, strength deficits, and balance deficits, and pain coping including acceptance, catastrophizing, and adaptive and maladaptive strategies. In addition, daily diaries were maintained of “pain, fatigue, emotional distress, and vigor, along with success at coping via acceptance and relaxation strategies.”

 

They found that, in comparison to baseline and the wait-list condition, yoga practice produced significant improvements in overall fibromyalgia symptoms and its impact, including pain, fatigue, stiffness, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, memory problems, tenderness, balance, environmental sensitivity, and strength. There were even improvements in the strategies that the patients used to cope with the pain, including increased engagement with the pain, pain problem solving, reappraisal and decreased pain catastrophizing, self-isolation, and disengagement. The daily diaries also revealed significant improvements as a result of yoga practice including reduced pain, fatigue, emotional distress and increased vigor, relaxation, and success with acceptance. The improvements were significantly related to the amount of home practice with the greater the number of days per week that yoga was practiced at home the greater the improvements in overall fibromyalgia symptoms.

 

These results represent highly clinically significant improvements in fibromyalgia produced by just 8 weeks of yoga practice. The observed improvements were broad, covering a wide range of symptoms, and impactful, with relatively large improvements. These are exciting results as fibromyalgia produces great suffering and impairment in the lives of the patients. Yoga practice is generally safe and acceptable to the patients and appears to be very effective. Further research is needed especially research including males and an active control, such as another aerobic exercise. But, the results are so promising that they suggest that yoga practice should be included in the standard treatment package for fibromyalgia.

 

So, improve fibromyalgia with yoga practice.

 

“Although yoga has been practiced for millennia, only recently have researchers begun to demonstrate yoga’s effects on persons suffering from persistent pain. The Yoga of Awareness program stands in contrast to previous multimodal interventions with [fibromyalgia] patients in that it integrates a wide spectrum of yoga-based techniques — postures, mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, application of yogic principles to optimal coping, and group discussions.” – James Carson

 

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

 

Carson, J. W., Carson, K. M., Jones, K. D., Bennett, R. M., Wright, C. L., & Mist, S. D. (2010). A pilot randomized controlled trial of the Yoga of Awareness program in the management of fibromyalgia. Pain, 151(2), 530–539. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2010.08.020

 

Abstract

A mounting body of literature recommends that treatment for fibromyalgia (FM) encompass medications, exercise and improvement of coping skills. However, there is a significant gap in determining an effective counterpart to pharmacotherapy that incorporates both exercise and coping. The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effects of a comprehensive yoga intervention on FM symptoms and coping. A sample of 53 female FM patients were randomized to the 8-week Yoga of Awareness program (gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga-based coping instructions, group discussions) or to wait-listed standard care. Data were analyzed by intention to treat. At post-treatment, women assigned to the yoga program showed significantly greater improvements on standardized measures of FM symptoms and functioning, including pain, fatigue, and mood, and in pain catastrophizing, acceptance, and other coping strategies. This pilot study provides promising support for the potential benefits of a yoga program for women with FM.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5568071/

Improve Mental Illness with Yoga

Improve Mental Illness with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“for the general person, yoga greatly enhances mental health: mood, sense of self, motivation, sense of inner direction and purpose, as well as physical health—and physical health is so important for mental health.“– Eleanor Criswell

 

Yoga is a complex of practices including postures, movements, breathing practices and meditation. Although its benefits have been touted for centuries, it is only recently that scientific study was verified these benefits. Yoga practice has been repeatedly demonstrated in research studies to be beneficial for the psychological and physical health of the practitioners. It appears to be helpful for both healthy individuals and those suffering from physical and mental health issues.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Efficacy of Body-Oriented Yoga in Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5400032/ ),

Klatte and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research literature on effects of yoga practice on a variety of mental health problems. They focused on randomized controlled studies with adults suffering from psychiatric problems. They identified 25 published studies that met their criteria, including treatment of depression, schizophrenia, dependency, post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other mental illnesses.

 

They found that yoga practice produced, on the whole, large and significant improvements in the symptoms of the mental illnesses even in comparison to active control groups such as attention training and exercise. The beneficial effects of yoga practice were comparable to those produced by psychotherapy. But, the combination of yoga practice with psychotherapy produced even greater effects.

 

These are exciting and compelling findings that yoga practice is an effective treatment for mental illness on a par with individual psychotherapy. But, yoga practice has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive, can be practiced at home or in groups, and after a few weeks of instruction can be carried on without a therapist present. In addition, it can supplement traditional psychotherapy potentiating its effectiveness.

 

It would appear that the exercise component of yoga practice is not essential for its effectiveness as exercise only control groups show benefits but significantly less than the yoga practice groups. This suggests that the improvement of mindfulness that occurs in yoga practice has an additional beneficial role to play in treating mental illness. The combination of exercise with mindfulness training that occur with yoga  practice appears to be particularly effective in treating mental illnesses. These results suggest that yoga practice is safe and effective and should applied either as a stand-alone treatment or be combined with more traditional treatments.

 

So, improve mental illness with yoga.

 

“It will come as no surprise that the various forms of yoga have long been acknowledged as allies in mastering the mind and coping with stress. Science is Increasingly validating those claims, especially for depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).” – Mental Health America

 

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

 

Klatte, R., Pabst, S., Beelmann, A., & Rosendahl, J. (2016). The Efficacy of Body-Oriented Yoga in Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 113(12), 195–202. http://doi.org/10.3238/arztebl.2016.0195

Abstract

Background

The efficacy of body-oriented yoga in the treatment of mental disorders has been investigated in numerous studies. This article is a systematic review and meta-analysis of the relevant publications.

Methods

All studies in which the efficacy of hatha-yoga, i.e., body-oriented yoga with asanas and pranayama, was studied in adult patients suffering from a mental disorder (as diagnosed by ICD or DSM criteria) were included in the analysis. The primary endpoint was disorder-specific symptom severity. The publications were identified by a systematic search in the PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO and ProQuest databases, supplemented by a search with the Google Scholar search engine and a manual search in the reference lists of meta-analyses and primary studies, as well as in specialized journals.

Results

25 studies with a total of 1339 patients were included in the analysis. A large and significant effect of yoga was seen with respect to the primary endpoint (symptom severity) (Hedges’ g = 0.91; 95% confidence interval [0.55; 1.28]; number needed to treat [NNT]: 2.03), with substantial heterogeneity (I2 = 69.8%) compared to untreated control groups. Small but significant effects of yoga were also seen in comparison with attention control (g = 0.39; [0.04; 0.73]; NNT: 4.55) and physical exercise (g = 0.30; [0.01; 0.59]; NNT: 5.75); no difference in efficacy was found between yoga and standard psychotherapy (g = 0.08; [-0.24; 0,40]; NNT: 21.89). In view of the relatively high risk of bias, these findings should be interpreted with caution.

Conclusion

Body-oriented yoga with asanas and pranayama as central components is a promising complementary treatment for mental disorders and should be investigated in further high-quality studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5400032/

Improve the Mental and Physical Health of Breast Cancer Survivors with Yoga

Improve the Mental and Physical Health of Breast Cancer Survivors with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“It was very frightening. You wonder, obviously—Am I going to live through this? I’m convinced that yoga made all the difference in my treatment. The breathing was the thing that always came back for me—keeping the fear and panic down. I was in a PET scan machine for an hour. You just lie there and think terrible thoughts. I found my breathing. That was the most valuable thing.” – Debra Campagna

 

About 12.5% of women in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetimes and every year about 40,000 women die. Indeed, more women in the U.S. die from breast cancer than from any other cancer, besides lung cancer. Breast cancer diagnosis, however, is not always a death sentence. Death rates have been decreasing for decades from improved detection and treatment of breast cancer. Five-year survival rates are now at around 95%. The improved survival rates mean that more women are now living with cancer.

 

Surviving cancer, however, carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” (National Cancer Survivors Day). Also, breast cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence. This is particularly true with metastatic cancer. Additionally, cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, an alteration of their body image, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in breast cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery and breast cancer recovery. Mindfulness helps to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. Yoga practice has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms and the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment. So, it’s reasonable to further explore the potential benefits of yoga practice for women during and after treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Long-term Yoga Practice on Psychological outcomes in Breast Cancer Survivors.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545946/, Amritanshu and colleagues recruited breast cancer survivors who were at least 6 months since the completion of treatment. They separated them into groups based upon whether they practiced yoga or not during the last year. The participants were measured for perceived stress, anxiety, depression, sleep quality, general health, and quality of life, including physical, psychological, social, and functional dimensions.

 

They found that the group that practiced yoga had significantly better psychological and physical health, sleep, and quality of life on all measures compared to the group that did not practice yoga. Hence, the overall health and well-being of the breast cancer survivors were significantly superior when they practiced yoga.

 

It should be kept in mind that this was not a manipulative study, so causation cannot be determined. It is possible that only those breast cancer survivors who were generally healthy would choose to participate in yoga. Previous research, however, that actively trained breast cancer patients in yoga has demonstrated that yoga practice produced significant improvements in the health and well-being of the participants. So, there is reason to believe that yoga practice was responsible for the present findings and that yoga practice improves the mental and physical health of breast cancer survivors.

 

So, improve the mental and physical health of breast cancer survivors with yoga.

 

“Studies suggest that doing yoga while going through breast cancer treatment helps you get through it with fewer side effects. Often doctors have to stop chemo or lower doses to levels that may not be as effective because people don’t tolerate the side effects. But yoga appears to decrease all kinds of side effects.” – Timothy McCall

 

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

 

Amritanshu, R. R., Rao, R. M., Nagaratna, R., Veldore, V. H., Usha Rani, M. U., Gopinath, K. S., & Ajaikumar, B. S. (2017). Effect of Long-term Yoga Practice on Psychological outcomes in Breast Cancer Survivors. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 23(3), 231–236. http://doi.org/10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_93_17

 

Abstract

Aim:

Breast cancer has become a pandemic with an ever-increasing incidence. Although better diagnostics and treatment modalities have reduced mortality, a large number of survivors face cancer and treatment-related long-term symptoms. Many survivors are taking up yoga for improving the quality of life (QoL). The present study attempts to evaluate predictors of psychological states in breast cancer survivors with long-term yoga experience.

Materials and Methods:

A case–control study recruited early breast cancer survivors, 30–65 years, completing treatment > 6 months before recruitment, and grouped them based on prior yoga experience (BCY, n = 27) or naïve (BCN, n = 25). Demography, cancer history, diet, exercise habits, and yoga schedule were collected and tools to assess stress, anxiety, depression, general health, and QoL were administered. Multivariate linear regression was done to identify predictors of psychological variables.

Results:

BCY had significantly lower stress, anxiety, depression, better general health, and QoL (P < 0.001). Global QoL and trait anxiety were significantly predicted by Yoga practice; depression was predicted by yoga practice, annual income, and sleep quality; state anxiety was predicted by Yoga practice and income; and stress was predicted by Yoga practice and sleep quality.

Conclusion:

Results indicate that breast cancer survivors, doing yoga, have better psychological profiles and are able to deal with demanding situations better. The psycho-oncogenic model of cancer etiology suggests that a better psychological state in survival has the potential to improve prognosis and survival outcomes and Yoga may be a suitable practice for staying cancer-free for a longer time.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545946/

Improve Type 2 Diabetes with Yoga

Improve Type 2 Diabetes with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Regular yoga practice can help reduce the level of sugar in the blood, along with lowering blood pressure, keeping a weight check, reducing the symptoms and slowing the rate of progression of diabetes, as well as lessening the severity of further complications.” – Art of Living

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and the numbers are growing. 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 the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. 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. Although this has been called adult-onset diabetes it is increasingly being diagnosed in children. 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. It is clear that there is a need to discover alternative methods treatments for Type II diabetes.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Randomized controlled trial of the effect of yoga and peer support on glycaemic outcomes in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a feasibility study.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5297169/, Sreedevi and colleagues recruited women in rural India who were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. They were randomly assigned to receive either treatment as usual or treatment as usual plus peer support or yoga practice. Peer support involved twice weekly visits by trained women who also had Type 2 Diabetes. The yoga practice consisted of twice weekly, 60-minute, yoga practice over 3 months, consisting of postures and relaxation training. The women were measured before and after the 3-month training period for fasting plasma glucose, HbA1c, quality of life pharmacological adherence, height, weight, BMI, waist hip ratio, blood pressure and total cholesterol.

 

They found that adherence to the program was 80% to 90% in the yoga and peer support groups. They also found that, in comparison to the treatment as usual control group, both the yoga and peer support groups had significant reductions in fasting plasma glucose and HbA1c. Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), is a plasma measure that reflects the average blood sugar levels have been over a period of weeks/months. It indicates how well the individual is controlling their diabetes. Importantly, the yoga group in comparison to the peer support and treatment as usual conditions showed improved blood pressure and hip circumference. Hence, both peer support and yoga practice were beneficial but yoga practice more so, for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.

 

It has long been known that diet and exercise are beneficial in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. Since yoga practice is a form of exercise and the results show that it also improves compliance with dietary restrictions, it is not surprising that yoga practice improves the processing of glucose, blood pressure, and body size. Hence yoga practice appears to be a safe and effective treatment for women with Type 2 Diabetes.

 

So, improve type 2 diabetes with yoga.

 

“yoga’s benefits for those with diabetes aren’t just physical: the process can help patients with the condition or its pre-indicators on more fundamental levels as well. By calming the awareness and integrating the mind with the body, yoga can relieve the daily stresses that often lie at the heart of diabetic symptoms.” -YogaU

 

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

 

Sreedevi, A., Gopalakrishnan, U. A., Karimassery Ramaiyer, S., & Kamalamma, L. (2017). A Randomized controlled trial of the effect of yoga and peer support on glycaemic outcomes in women with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a feasibility study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 17, 100. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-1574-x

 

Abstract

Background

Type two diabetes is a complex and demanding chronic disease and its impact in a state (Kerala) which leads India in terms of the number of people with Diabetes is profound. Though the male to female ratio among the people with diabetes is roughly equal, women are uniquely and more severely affected. Management of type two Diabetes requires considerable dexterity on the part of the patient to manage drugs, diet and exercise. Therefore, in a low middle-income country like India it is necessary to look at low cost interventions that can empower the patient and build on available resources to help manage diabetes. Hence, we studied the feasibility and effect of two low cost interventions; yoga and peer support on glycaemic and other outcomes among women with type two diabetes.

Methods

An open label parallel three armed randomized control trial was conducted among 124 recruited women with Diabetes for three months. Block randomization with a block length of six was carried out with each group having at least 41 women. In the Yoga arm, sessions by an instructor, consisting of a group of postures coordinated with breathing were conducted for an hour, two days a week. In the peer support arm each peer mentor after training visited 13–14 women with diabetes every week followed by a phone call. The meeting was about applying disease management or prevention plans in daily life.

Results

There was a trend in decline of fasting plasma glucose in the peer and yoga group and of glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) in the yoga group only, though not significant. A significant decrease was observed in diastolic blood pressure and hip circumference in the yoga group. The process indicated that most (80%) of the women in the yoga group attended classes regularly and 90% of the women in the peer group reported that peer mentoring was useful.

Conclusion

The effect of yoga and peer support on glycaemic outcomes was incremental. Longer term studies are necessary to ascertain the benefits shown by this feasibility study.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5297169/

Reduce Fatigue with Breast Cancer with Yoga

Reduce Fatigue with Breast Cancer with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga works on the principle of mind and body health and it would help women cope with systemic therapy side effects better. Yoga nidra and pranayama also improve sleep patterns. Thus, all this together may reduce fatigue and pain.” – Nita Nair

 

Because of great advances in treatment, many women today are surviving breast cancer. But, cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, an alteration of their body image, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. Also, breast cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence. This is particularly true with metastatic cancer. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in breast cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery and breast cancer recovery. Yoga practice of has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms, the psychological and physical ability to deal with cancer treatment and improves sleep in women with metastatic breast cancer. So, it’s reasonable to further explore the potential benefits of yoga practice to relieve fatigue and stress in women fighting metastatic breast cancer.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Yoga in Managing Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545948/, Vadiraja and colleagues recruited women with advanced metastatic breast cancer. They received treatment as usual and were randomly assigned to receive either education and supportive counseling or an integrated yoga program for 12 weeks consisting of 60-min sessions twice a week combined with home practice of relaxation, breathing exercises, postures, and meditation. They were measured before and after treatment for perceived stress and fatigue.

 

In comparison to baseline and the control group the yoga practice group had significant reductions in perceived stress and in fatigue, including severity, how often they felt fatigued, how much fatigue interfered with their everyday activities, and the difference between daytime and nighttime fatigue.  It would have been better if the control group had performed some other form of exercise to determine if it was yoga practice per se or simply exercise was responsible for the results. In addition, since the integrated yoga program contained multiple components it is impossible to differentiate which or which combination of components was effective. Nevertheless, these are impressive and exciting results that integrated yoga practice can have such positive effects on women with advanced metastatic breast cancer.

 

Mindfulness practices, including yoga practice, has been shown to reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress and fatigue in other populations. It is particularly good that yoga has these effects in women with cancer where stress and fatigue exacerbate an already difficult situation. These effects may help to contribute to these women’s ability to fight off the cancer and improve their longevity.

 

So, reduce fatigue with breast cancer with yoga.

 

“Even on my worst days, in terms of fatigue, if I just got up and did a little something, whether it be some light stretching, gentle yoga, just some yoga, that definitely made me feel better.”Amy Schnitzler

 

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

 

Vadiraja, H., Rao, R. M., Nagarathna, R., Nagendra, H., Patil, S., Diwakar, R. B., … Ajaikumar, B. (2017). Effects of Yoga in Managing Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 23(3), 247–252. http://doi.org/10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_95_17

 

Abstract

Background:

Cancer-related fatigue is widely prevalent in cancer patients and affects quality of life in advanced cancer patients. Fatigue is caused due to both psychologic distress and physiological sequel following cancer progression and its treatment. In this study, we evaluate the effects of yogic intervention in managing fatigue in metastatic breast cancer patients.

Methods:

Ninety-one patients with metastatic breast cancer were randomized to receive integrated yoga program (n = 46) or supportive therapy and education (n = 45) over a 3-month period. Assessments such as perceived stress, fatigue symptom inventory, diurnal salivary cortisol, and natural killer cell counts were carried out before and after intervention. Analysis was done using an intention-to-treat approach. Postmeasures for the above outcomes were assessed using ANCOVA with respective baseline measure as a covariate.

Results:

The results suggest that yoga reduces perceived stress (P = 0.001), fatigue frequency (P < 0.001), fatigue severity (P < 0.001), interference (P < 0.001), and diurnal variation (P < 0.001) when compared to supportive therapy. There was a positive correlation of change in fatigue severity with 9 a.m. salivary cortisol levels.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that yoga reduces fatigue in advanced breast cancer patients.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545948/

Improve the Physical and Psychological Condition of Breast Cancer Patients with Yoga

Improve the Physical and Psychological Condition of Breast Cancer Patients with Yoga

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Studies suggest that doing yoga while going through breast cancer treatment helps you get through it with fewer side effects. Often doctors have to stop chemo or lower doses to levels that may not be as effective because people don’t tolerate the side effects. But yoga appears to decrease all kinds of side effects.” – Timothy McCall

 

About 12.5% of women in the U.S. develop invasive breast cancer over their lifetimes and every year about 40,000 women die. Indeed, more women in the U.S. die from breast cancer than from any other cancer, besides lung cancer. Breast cancer diagnosis, however, is not a death sentence. Death rates have been decreasing for decades from improved detection and treatment of breast cancer. Five-year survival rates are now at around 95%. The improved survival rates mean that more women are now living with cancer.

 

Cancer treatment involving surgery and radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy is extremely difficult physically and emotionally. In addition, surviving cancer, however, carries with it a number of problems. “Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Cancer survivors are also at greater risk for developing second cancers and other health conditions.” (National Cancer Survivors Day). Also, breast cancer survivors can have to deal with a heightened fear of reoccurrence, and an alteration of their body image. Additionally, cancer survivors frequently suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disturbance, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbance, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, loss of personal control, impaired quality of life, and psychiatric symptoms which have been found to persist even ten years after remission. So, safe and effective treatments for the symptoms in breast cancer and the physical and psychological effects of the treatments are needed.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with general cancer recovery and breast cancer recovery. Mindfulness helps to alleviate many of the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress,  sleep disturbance, and anxiety and depression. The mindfulness practice of Yoga has also been shown to be helpful with the residual symptoms. So, it’s reasonable to further explore the potential benefits of yoga practice for women during and after treatment.

 

In today’s Research News article “Salute to the sun: a new dawn in yoga therapy for breast cancer.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587658/, Galliford and colleagues reviewed and summarized the published research studies of the application of yoga therapy or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which contains yoga, for women with breast cancer. They found 38 published studies. They report that the research fids that yoga is effective in improving emotion regulation, quality of life, sleep quality, lymphatic system integrity, and social functioning, and decreasing anxiety, depression, and stress hormones (cortisol).

 

These are important findings that are fairly consistent across a variety of studies. The research clearly suggests that practicing yoga can benefit the social, psychological, and physical functioning of women with breast cancer. These are important benefits that suggest that yoga practice may improve women’s ability to fight breast cancer and maintain health and improve overall well-being.

 

So, improve the physical and psychological condition of breast cancer patients with yoga.

 

”For women with breast cancer, research shows those who practice yoga may also have less stress and fatigue, and better quality of life.” – Stacy Simon

 

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

 

Galliford, M., Robinson, S., Bridge, P., & Carmichael, M. (2017). Salute to the sun: a new dawn in yoga therapy for breast cancer. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences, 64(3), 232–238. http://doi.org/10.1002/jmrs.218

 

Abstract

Introduction

Interest in the application of yoga for health benefits in western medicine is growing rapidly, with a significant rise in publications. The purpose of this systematic review is to determine whether the inclusion of yoga therapy to the treatment of breast cancer can improve the patient’s physical and psychosocial quality of life (QoL).

Methods

A search of peer reviewed journal articles published between January 2009 and July 2014 was conducted. Studies were included if they had more than 15 study participants, included interventions such as mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) or yoga therapy with or without comparison groups and had stated physical or psychological outcomes.

Results

Screening identified 38 appropriate articles. The most reported psychosocial benefits of yoga therapy were anxiety, emotional and social functioning, stress, depression and global QoL. The most reported physical benefits of yoga therapy were improved salivary cortisol readings, sleep quality and lymphocyte apoptosis. Benefits in these areas were linked strongly with the yoga interventions, in addition to significant improvement in overall QoL.

Conclusion

The evidence supports the use of yoga therapy to improve the physical and psychosocial QoL for breast cancer patients with a range of benefits relevant to radiation therapy. Future studies are recommended to confirm these benefits. Evidence‐based recommendations for implementation of a yoga therapy programme have been derived and included within this review. Long‐term follow‐up is necessary with these programmes to assess the efficacy of the yoga intervention in terms of sustainability and patient outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587658/

Reduce Pain in Children with Mind-Body Practices

Reduce Pain in Children with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Guided imagery is a meditative process that uses visualization and imagination to bring awareness to the mind-body connection. Children can easily access this healing process because they’re naturally imaginative. By relaxing into a vivid story they gain tools to deal with stress, pain or difficult feelings.” – Catherine Gillespie-Lopes

 

We all have to deal with pain. It’s inevitable, but hopefully it’s mild and short lived. For a wide swath of humanity, however, pain is a constant in their lives. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. Sadly, about a quarter to a third of children experience chronic pain. It has to be kept in mind that pain is an important signal that there is something wrong or that damage is occurring. This signals that some form of action is needed to mitigate the damage. This is an important signal that is ignored at the individual’s peril. So, in dealing with pain, it’s important that pain signals not be blocked or prevented. They need to be perceived. But, methods are needed to mitigate the psychological distress produced by chronic pain.

 

The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and prescription opioid overdoses kill more than 14,000 people annually. The use of drugs in children is even more complicated and potentially directly harmful or could damage the developing brain. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve children’s ability to cope with the pain.

 

Pain involves both physical and psychological issues. 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. There is an accumulating volume of research findings to demonstrate that mind-body therapies have highly beneficial effects on the health and well-being of humans. These include meditationyogatai chi, qigong, biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, hypnosis, acupuncture, and deep breathing exercises. 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 in adults. But there is very little systematic study of the application of these practices for the treatment of chronic pain in children.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Mind–Body Approach to Pediatric Pain Management.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5483625/, Brown and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the use of mind-body techniques to treat pain in children. They found that there is clear evidence from the research that yoga practice and acupuncture are effective in the treatment of pain in both adults and children. On the other hand, they found that meditation, mindfulness training, and hypnosis are effective for treating pain in adults, but that there is a void of research for its application in children.

 

Hence the published research literature is encouraging. Where there have been studies, mind-body practices have been found to safely and effectively reduce chronic pain in both adults and children. A great advantage of these treatments is that they have little or no side effects other than positive ones and are thus a promising safe alternative to the use of dangerous drugs. But, there is obviously a need for much more research on the effectiveness of mind-body techniques for chronic pain in children.

 

So, reduce pain in children with mind-body practices.

 

“Mindfulness provides a more accurate perception of pain . . . For instance, you might think that you’re in pain all day. But bringing awareness to your pain might reveal that it actually peaks, valleys and completely subsides. One of Goldstein’s clients believed that his pain was constant throughout the day. But when he examined his pain, he realized it hits him about six times a day. This helped to lift his frustration and anxiety.” –  Margarita Tartakovsky

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

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

 

Study Summary

 

Brown, M. L., Rojas, E., & Gouda, S. (2017). A Mind–Body Approach to Pediatric Pain Management. Children, 4(6), 50. http://doi.org/10.3390/children4060050

 

Abstract

Pain is a significant public health problem that affects all populations and has significant financial, physical and psychological impact. Opioid medications, once the mainstay of pain therapy across the spectrum, can be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) guidelines recommend that non-opioid pain medications are preferred for chronic pain outside of certain indications (cancer, palliative and end of life care). Mindfulness, hypnosis, acupuncture and yoga are four examples of mind–body techniques that are often used in the adult population for pain and symptom management. In addition to providing significant pain relief, several studies have reported reduced use of opioid medications when mind–body therapies are implemented. Mind–body medicine is another approach that can be used in children with both acute and chronic pain to improve pain management and quality of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5483625/

Yoga Practice Improves Short-Term Memory

Yoga Practice Improves Short-Term Memory

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Participants in the yoga intervention group showed significant improvements in working memory capacity, which involves continually updating and manipulating information,” – Mark Prigg

 

Humans have both an amazing capacity to remember and a tremendously limited capacity depending upon which phase of the memory process. Our long-term store of information is virtually unlimited. On the other hand, short-term memory is extremely limited. This is called our working memory and it can contain only about 5 to 9 pieces of information at a time. This fact of a limited working memory store shapes a great deal about how we think, summarize, and categorize our world.

 

Memory ability is so important to everyday human functioning that it is important to study ways to maintain or improve it. Short-term, working, memory can be improved. Mindfulness has been shown to improve working memory capacity. Yoga practice has also been shown to have improve memory and reduce the decline in memory ability that occurs with aging. But, little is known about the components of working memory that are effected by mindfulness and yoga training. It is thus important to study the detailed effects of yoga practice on the components of short-term memory ability in humans.

 

In today’s Research News article “A yoga program for cognitive enhancement.” See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5544241/, Brunner and colleagues recruited college students and provided them with 6 60-minute yoga sessions either twice per week for 3 weeks or once per week for 6 weeks. The practice included meditation, poses, and relaxation. They were measured before and after yoga training for mindfulness, and working memory. They were tested for both forward and backward digit span tests, requiring them to remember sequences of numbers and repeat them back either in the order presented or in the reverse order. They were also tested with a letter and number sequencing tests, requiring them to remember unordered sequences of numbers or letters and repeat them back in numeric or alphabetical order.

 

They found that after yoga practice the students had significant increases in mindfulness and significant improvements in all memory tests including forward and backward digit span and letter and number sequencing. The forward digit span is a straightforward measure of short-term memory. On the other hand, the backward digit span and letter and number sequencing tasks require manipulation of the information contained in short-term memory; reordering it prior to recitation, and thereby test ability to work with material stored in short-term memory. Hence yoga practice appeared to improve mindfulness, short-term memory ability, and the ability to process material in short-term memory.

 

A potential alternative explanation for the results is a simple practice effect. The participants performed the tests twice, once before and once after yoga training. It is possible that they got better simply because the after test was the second time they’d performed the task. But, previous research has demonstrated that there is very little improvement in these tasks with practice, making this explanation less likely. But, there are other alternative explanations including placebo effects, experimenter bias effects, and attentional effects that could still explain the results rather than an effect of yoga training. A control group is needed in future research to conclusively demonstrate the effectiveness of yoga practice to enhance memory.

 

So, yoga practice may improve short-term memory.

 

The breathing and meditative exercises aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath. Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities.” – Neha Gotha

 

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

 

Brunner, D., Abramovitch, A., & Etherton, J. (2017). A yoga program for cognitive enhancement. PLoS ONE, 12(8), e0182366. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0182366

 

Abstract

Background

Recent studies suggest that yoga practice may improve cognitive functioning. Although preliminary data indicate that yoga improves working memory (WM), high-resolution information about the type of WM subconstructs, namely maintenance and manipulation, is not available. Furthermore, the association between cognitive enhancement and improved mindfulness as a result of yoga practice requires empirical examination. The aim of the present study is to assess the impact of a brief yoga program on WM maintenance, WM manipulation and attentive mindfulness.

Methods

Measures of WM (Digit Span Forward, Backward, and Sequencing, and Letter-Number Sequencing) were administered prior to and following 6 sessions of yoga (N = 43). Additionally, the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale was administered to examine the potential impact of yoga practice on mindfulness, as well as the relationships among changes in WM and mindfulness.

Results

Analyses revealed significant improvement from pre- to post- training assessment on both maintenance WM (Digit Span Forward) and manipulation WM (Digit Span Backward and Letter-Number Sequencing). No change was found on Digit Span Sequencing. Improvement was also found on mindfulness scores. However, no correlation was observed between mindfulness and WM measures.

Conclusions

A 6-session yoga program was associated with improvement on manipulation and maintenance WM measures as well as enhanced mindfulness scores. Additional research is needed to understand the extent of yoga-related cognitive enhancement and mechanisms by which yoga may enhance cognition, ideally by utilizing randomized controlled trials and more comprehensive neuropsychological batteries.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5544241/