A. Nelson, J. Friday, & G. Loomer
Bethel University, St. Paul, MN

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to examine the effects yoga has on stress and anxiety levels. Research has determined that yoga is an effective treatment in reducing perceived stress levels in sedentary adults. The aim of this research is to determine if yoga practice alone is effective for reducing stress.

DESIGN: Twelve Bethel University students (22 ± 4 years old) experiencing mild to moderate stress and/or anxiety levels were recruited. Informed consents, Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS 21), and the Stress Questionnaire for Students were completed. Next, subject’s blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were collected. Participants attended a one hour long/week yoga class for four consecutive weeks. BP, HR, and stress were assessed at weeks two and four.

RESULTS: One-way ANOVA using SPSS were conducted with p < .05 to analyze the baseline (B), week 2 (W2), and post (P). No significance was found for any of the dependent variables (DASS p=.228, B mean 13.9 ± 7.6 SD, W2 mean 10.8 ± 4.7 SD, P mean 9.8 ± 5.4 SD; Stress Questionnaire p=.505, B mean 23.8 ± 8.9 SD, W2 mean 23.2 ± 8.1 SD, P mean 19.9 ± 9.1 SD; Systole p=.306, B mean 119.1 ± 9.1 SD, W2 mean 113.6 ± 11.8 SD, P mean 112.8 ± 10.9 SD; Diastole p=.226, B mean 75.9 ± 6.0 SD, W2 mean 71.2 ± 7.2 SD, P mean 72.5 ± 7.1 SD ; HR p=.971, B mean 67.6 ± 8.8 SD, W2 mean 69.0 ± 14.6 SD, P mean 67.3 ± 13.2 SD).

CONCLUSION: The data demonstrates that yoga for one hour/week for four weeks failed to reduce BP, HR, and stress. Other research suggests that students could reduce stress, BP and HR from a yoga intervention once a week, for three weeks when combined with humor and reading (Rizzolo et. al. 2009). Thus, this may demonstrate that practitioners need to simultaneously incorporate multiple therapeutic interventions (yoga, humor, and reading) to elicit a positive impact on stress during a four week intervention.

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