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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20-26
Improvements in well-being and vagal tone following a yogic breathing-based life skills workshop in young adults: Two open-trial pilot studies


1 Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, GA, USA
2 Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, GA, USA
3 International Association for Human Values, Washington, DC; Nova Southeastern University Lifelong Learning Institute, Davie, FL, GA, USA
4 RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC, GA, USA
5 RTI International, Atlanta, GA, USA
6 Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, GA, USA
7 Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University, State College, PA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Sreelatha Meleth
BioStatistics and Epidemiology Unit, Environmental Health Sciences Division, RTI International 2951 Flowers Road South, Atlanta, GA 30341
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-6131.171718

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Background: While efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) has been demonstrated in a number of prior studies, little is known about the effects of SKY taught as part of the Your Enlightened Side (YES+) workshop designed for college students and other young adults. Aims: This study aimed to assess the effects of YES+, a yogic breathing-based life skills workshop, on multiple measures of well-being and physiological stress response. Materials and Methods: Two nonrandomized open-trial pilot studies were conducted with a total of 74 young adults (age 25.4 ± 6.6 years; 55% female). Study 1 collected a variety of self-report questionnaires at baseline, postworkshop, and 1-month follow-up. Study 2 collected self-report questionnaires in addition to electrocardiography with a stationary cycling challenge at baseline and 1-month follow-up. Results: Study 1: Improvements in self-reported depression (P's ≤ 0.010), perceived stress (P's ≤ 0.002), life satisfaction (P's ≤ 0.002), social connectedness (P's ≤ 0.004), and gratitude (P's ≤ 0.090) were observed at postworkshop and 1-month after workshop relative to baseline. Study 2: Improvements in self-reported emotion regulation were observed at 1-month follow-up relative to baseline (P = 0.019). Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Expanded Form positive affect increased (P = 0.021), while fatigue and sadness decreased (P's ≤ 0.005). During the stationary cycling challenge, rate to recovery of electrocardiography inter-beat interval also increased from baseline to 1-month follow-up (P = 0.077). Conclusions: These findings suggest that a life skills workshop integrating yogic breathing techniques may provide self-empowering tools for enhancing well-being in young adults. Future research is indicated to further explore these effects, particularly in regards to vagal tone and other aspects of stress physiology.


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