Beneficial mental effects of beginner level hatha yoga training regardless of verbal cuing

Beneficial mental effects of beginner level hatha yoga training regardless of verbal cuing
Frontiers in Psychology, an acknowledged international journal (IF: 2.32) published the psychological results of the longitudinal yoga study from Barbara Csala, a student of the Doctoral School of Psychology, his supervisor, Ferenc Köteles, and their colleagues, Eszter Ferentzi, Bendek T. Tihanyi and Raechel Drew

The study investigated the effects of verbal instruction during a 10-session beginner level hatha yoga training on psychological measures, i.e., mindfulness, body awareness, affect, and spirituality. 

In recent times, yoga practice is widely popular, however classes show diversity in style and composition, namely how much they include traditional philosophical and spiritual teachings or focus mostly on physical components. Regarding these differences, effect of yoga practice on mental health can be various. 

The present study involved 84 healthy female university students. Two groups attended hatha yoga classes (1.5 hours/week for 10 weeks) in which physically identical exercise was accompanied by different verbal cues. The so-called “sport group” received instructions referring primarily to the physical aspects of yoga practice, while the “spiritual group” was additionally provided with philosophical and spiritual information. 

No differences between the two yoga groups were found in the assessed variables. However, when the two yoga groups were merged and compared to the control group, yoga participants showed increased level of spirituality, and decreased level of negative affect at the end of the intervention. 

In conclusion, beginner level of yoga practice might influence psychological functioning through its physical components, independent of the style of verbal instructions provided. It seems to have beneficial effects even when mainly the physical elements of yoga practice are emphasized in class.

The full article is available here.