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A Comparison of the Acute Effects of Different Forms of Yoga on Physiological and Psychological Stress: A Pilot Study

Department of Kinesiology, Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Dr. Birmingham, AL 35229, USA
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6090; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176090
Received: 1 August 2020 / Accepted: 18 August 2020 / Published: 21 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise and Sport in Stressful Conditions and Environments)
Yoga is a frequently recommended stress management strategy; however, the acute stress response to varying types of yoga are not fully clear. Thus, the purpose of this study was to compare the acute effects of meditative and power yoga on indices of physiological and psychological stress. In a crossover counterbalanced design, physically active females (n = 13; age = 20.8 yrs ± 0.8, height = 164.5 cm ± 6.1, body mass = 65.0 kg ± 13.8) who did not regularly participate in yoga or mindful training enrolled in this study. Participants completed two visits each, with a standardized instructional-video 30-min yoga session with either A) meditative (Hatha style) yoga or B) power (Vinyasa style) yoga. Prior to and immediately after each yoga bout, psychological stress was assessed using the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) questionnaire, and salivary cortisol samples were obtained to measure indices of physiological stress. State anxiety scores were significantly lower following meditative yoga (p = 0.047) but were not different following power yoga (p = 0.625). Salivary cortisol levels were significantly lower following meditative yoga (p = 0.020) but not following power yoga (p = 0.242). Results indicate that acute engagement in meditative yoga decreases markers of psychological and physiological stress, while power yoga does not impart a significant stress-relieving benefit. Findings indicate that differing types of yoga may have various stress-relieving capabilities and should be considered by individuals seeking anxiolytic benefits. View Full-Text
Keywords: meditation; anxiety; cortisol; breathing exercises meditation; anxiety; cortisol; breathing exercises
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MDPI and ACS Style

Marshall, M.; McClanahan, M.; McArthur Warren, S.; Rogers, R.; Ballmann, C. A Comparison of the Acute Effects of Different Forms of Yoga on Physiological and Psychological Stress: A Pilot Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6090. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176090

AMA Style

Marshall M, McClanahan M, McArthur Warren S, Rogers R, Ballmann C. A Comparison of the Acute Effects of Different Forms of Yoga on Physiological and Psychological Stress: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(17):6090. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176090

Chicago/Turabian Style

Marshall, Mallory; McClanahan, McKenzie; McArthur Warren, Sarah; Rogers, Rebecca; Ballmann, Christopher. 2020. "A Comparison of the Acute Effects of Different Forms of Yoga on Physiological and Psychological Stress: A Pilot Study" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, no. 17: 6090. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176090

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