Study shows a robust relationship between frequency of yoga practice and psychological wellness in older women.
I just wanted to let you know about a compelling study, Yoga experience as a predictor of psychological wellness in women over 45 years, that came out a few years ago in the International Journal of Yoga. It showed a robust relationship between frequency of yoga practice and psychological wellness in older women.
For those science geeks I'll share more. Their conclusion was that there was a “dose-response” effect for yoga. Meaning that the more “doses” of yoga a woman had over her lifetime, the higher she scored on levels of psychological well-being. Higher numbers of total hours of yoga practiced over a lifetime were “strongly associated” with higher levels of psychological well-being.
When the authors looked at “positive psychological attitudes” for the survey they defined it as “serenity under pressure, interest and satisfaction in life, a sense of purpose, contentment with self and life, meaning in one's work, low levels of worry and anxiety, a sense of self-worth, hope, and self-confidence.”
The study showed that both regular and frequent yoga practice was the “most consistent predictor” of psychological wellness.
The findings showed that the more you practice yoga over your lifetime the more psychological well-being you would experience. However, when they just measured “yoga experience” as a number of years of practice without taking into account the actual number of hours of practice, they did not see the same "dose-response" effect. It was both regular and frequent yoga practice that was the “most consistent predictor” of psychological wellness.
According to the authors “enduring well-being” is not the result of certain things happening to you, but instead, that long-term wellness can be “developed and cultivated with time and effort” regardless of specific events in your life. This is great news for us as we age, since the passing of loved one and health issues do tend to increase.
There are now many scientific studies proving the benefits of yoga. The database is growing every year as western medicine tries to catch up with eastern healing modalities.
Other studies have show great results too! A School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Northcentral University, Prescott Valley, Arizona showed that long-term yoga practice was associated with little or no obesity in a non-probability sample of women over 45 years. Relationships showed a dose-response effect, with increased yoga experience predicting lower body mass index and reduced medication use.
Since the mind and body make decisions together about how we respond to our internal and external environments, intellectually understanding the science behind why yoga works can help it be even more effectively in increasing the health of our whole being.