The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a meditation-based stress management program in patients with anxiety disorder.
Patients with anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to an 8-week clinical trial of either a meditation-based stress management program or an anxiety disorder education program.
Compared to the education group, the meditation-based stress management group showed significant improvement in scores on all anxiety scales
Mind-body interventions are based on the holistic principle that mind, body and behaviour are all interconnected. Mind-body interventions incorporate strategies that are thought to improve psychological and physical well-being, aim to allow patients to take an active role in their treatment, and promote people’s ability to cope. Mind-body interventions are widely used by people with fibromyalgia to help manage their symptoms and improve well-being. Examples of mind-body therapies include psychological therapies, biofeedback, mindfulness, movement therapies and relaxation strategies.
There is low quality evidence that in comparison to usual care controls psychological therapies have favourable effects on physical functioning.
There is very low quality evidence of more withdrawals in the psychological therapy group in comparison to usual care controls.
To conduct an integrative review to evaluate current literature about nonpharmacologic, easily accessible management strategies for pregnancy-related low back and pelvic pain (PR-LBPP).
These modalities show preliminary promise for pain relief and other related symptoms, including stress and depression.
Although additional research is required, the results of this integrative review suggest that clinicians may consider recommending nonpharmacologic treatment options, such as gentle physical activity and yoga-based interventions, for PR-LBPP and related symptoms.
Conventional pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies for major depression are associated with limited adherence to care and relatively low remission rates. Yoga may offer an alternative treatment option, but rigorous studies are few. This randomized controlled trial with blinded outcome assessors examined an 8-week hatha yoga intervention as mono-therapy for mild-to-moderate major depression.
At screening, individuals engaged in psychotherapy, antidepressant pharmacotherapy, herbal or nutraceutical mood therapies, or mind-body practices were excluded. Participants were 68% female, with mean age 43.4 years……..
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disorder affecting about 300 million people worldwide. As a holistic therapy, yoga has the potential to relieve both the physical and psychological suffering of people with asthma, and its popularity has expanded globally. A number of clinical trials have been carried out to evaluate the effects of yoga practice, with inconsistent results.
To assess the effects of yoga in people with asthma.
We found moderate-quality evidence that yoga probably leads to small improvements in quality of life and symptoms in people with asthma.
The aims of this study were to assess the effects of an intervention of Iyengar yoga and coherent breathing at five breaths per minute on depressive symptoms and to determine optimal intervention yoga dosing for future studies in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD).
During this 12-week intervention of yoga plus coherent breathing, depressive symptoms declined significantly in patients with MDD.
Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) has demonstrable antidepressant effects. SKY was tested for this effect in inpatients of alcohol dependence.
Following a week of detoxification management consenting subjects (n=60) were equally randomized to receive SKY therapy or not (controls) for a two-week study. SKY therapy included alternate day practice of specified breathing exercise under supervision of a trained therapist. Subjects completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) before and after the two weeks of this intervention. Morning plasma cortisol, ACTH and prolactin too were measured before and at the end of two weeks.
In both groups reductions in BDI scores occurred but significantly more so in SKY group. Likewise, in both groups plasma cortisol as well as ACTH fell after two weeks but significantly more so in SKY group. Reduction in BDI scores correlated with that in cortisol in SKY but not in control group.
The objective of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a meditation-based stress management program in patients with anxiety disorder.
Patients with anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to an 8-week clinical trial of either a meditation-based stress management program or an anxiety disorder education program.
Breast cancer is the cancer most frequently diagnosed in women worldwide. Even though survival rates are continually increasing, breast cancer is often associated with long-term psychological distress, chronic pain, fatigue and impaired quality of life. Yoga comprises advice for an ethical lifestyle, spiritual practice, physical activity, breathing exercises and meditation. It is a complementary therapy that is commonly recommended for breast cancer-related impairments and has been shown to improve physical and mental health in people with different cancer types.
To assess effects of yoga on health-related quality of life, mental health and cancer-related symptoms among women with a diagnosis of breast cancer who are receiving active treatment or have completed treatment.
Moderate-quality evidence supports the recommendation of yoga as a supportive intervention for improving health-related quality of life and reducing fatigue and sleep disturbances when compared with no therapy, as well as for reducing depression, anxiety and fatigue, when compared with psychosocial/educational interventions.
Overall, findings of these studies suggest that yoga-based practices may have significant beneficial effects on multiple factors important in DM2 management and prevention, including glycemic control, insulin resistance, lipid profiles, body composition, and blood pressure. These findings are further supported by recently published meta-analyses regarding the effects of yoga on specific CVD risk factors of relevance to DM2.
Besides skin cancer breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women. Most women with breast cancer will undergo some kind of breast cancer surgery. For women undergoing a mastectomy, breast reconstruction offers significant quality of life benefits and is a vital option to enhance breast cancer recovery. There are two general types of reconstructive options:
When reconstruction of the breast mound is accomplished using the patient’s own tissues, the result is typically more natural in both appearance and feel than with expander/implant reconstruction. However the disadvantages of autologous reconstruction include longer surgical procedures and prolonged recovery time as compared to prosthetic reconstruction. Postoperative pain, anxiety, fatigue are among the challenges facing patients undergoing breast cancer surgery and especially patients who decided to undergo these complicated plastic surgical procedures. Massage therapy has been used successfully to target common postoperative symptoms such as pain, anxiety, tension and fatigue in breast cancer patients.
Meditation has been shown to be helpful in achieving healing and relaxation through purposeful contemplation and reflection.
First, yoga may lessen the negative impact of stress and promote multiple positive downstream effects on metabolic function, neuroendocrine status, and related inflammatory responses and, ultimately, reduce risk for CVD and other vascular complications, by enhancing well-being and reducing reactivity and activation of the HPA axis and the sympathoadrenal system [10, 76, 113, 132].
Second, yogic practices may shift the autonomic nervous system balance from primarily sympathetic to parasympathetic, by directly enhancing parasympathetic output, possibly via vagal stimulation [76, 122, 137], resulting in positive changes in cardiovagal function and associated neuroendocrine, hemodynamic, and inflammatory profiles, in sleep and affect, and in related downstream metabolic parameters (Figure 1, pathway 2) [10, 80, 113, 133]. For example, recent controlled studies in adults with DM2, CVD, hypertension, and other chronic conditions, as well as in healthy populations, have shown yogic exercises to reduce resting heart rate, enhance baroreflex sensitivity, and increase heart rate variability, both immediately and following short term (6–12 weeks) yoga programs [10, 113, 133, 138, 139].
Third, yoga may also promote favorable changes in autonomic balance, memory and mood, neurological structure and function, and related metabolic and inflammatory responses by selectively activating specific brain structures and neurochemical systems related to attention and positive affect (Figure 1, pathway 3), as suggested by recent neurophysiological and neuroimaging research findings [143–146]. And finally, yogic practices may improve both metabolic and psychological risk profiles, support increased physical activity, enhance neuroendocrine function, improve body composition, and promote weight loss by increasing strength, overall fitness, and physical function (Figure 1, pathway 4). Yoga may also reduce CVD risk in other ways. For instance, by reducing stress and leading to improved sleep and mood, yoga may indirectly improve CVD risk profiles by leading to healthier lifestyle choices and enhanced self-care . Yoga may also increase resilience to stress, a factor that has been linked to improved outcomes in DM2 [148, 149], although study findings to date have been inconsistent [150–152].
In addition, yoga may benefit those with DM2 indirectly by encouraging improvements in health-related attitudes and lifestyle choices [147, 153, 154] and by providing a source of social support, a factor linked to improved diabetes self-care and clinical outcomes [155, 156]. As suggested by recent studies of patients with heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and DM1 [157–159], yogic breathing practices may also, by increasing arterial and tissue oxygenation, alleviate underlying hypoxia and thereby enhance autonomic cardiac and respiratory function and related endpoints in adults with diabetes [157–160]. Finally, several recent genomic investigations in dementia caregivers [161, 162] and healthy adults [163, 164] suggest that yogic meditative practices can slow cellular aging and induce beneficial epigenetic changes in pathways regulating inflammation, oxidative stress, energy metabolism, insulin secretion, mitochondrial function, and other related factors; these changes may, in turn, help buffer the deleterious effects of stress, improve glucose control, enhance mood, sleep, and autonomic function, reduce blood pressure, and promote improvements in other related risk factors of relevance to DM2 management [76, 165, 166].
In conclusion, the findings of controlled trials published to date suggest that yogic practices may promote significant improvements in several indices of major importance in the management of DM2, including glycemic control, lipid levels, and body composition. More limited data suggest that yoga may also lower oxidative stress and blood pressure, enhance pulmonary and nervous system function, improve mood, sleep, and quality of life, and reduce medication use in adults with DM2.
The literature cited in this review demonstrates the importance of yoga therapy in wellness as well as illness. The rejuvenating and curative effects experienced by yoga practitioners could be attributed to repair and regeneration of tissues by replacement and recruitment of cells differentiated from the stem cell which is beyond the drug action. Therefore, yoga practice can be looked upon as one of the best ways to facilitate stem cell trafficking essential for healthy living and improving the quality of life under the scenario of rise in longevity of human being.
There are several evidences that prove yoga to be extremely beneficial for patients with back pain, asthma, depression, anxiety and hypertension .
Deep breathing modulates oxidative stress. It is established that deep breathing enhances the antioxidant defense status of athletes after exercise, which is accompanied by concomitant decrease in cortisol, increase in melatonin resulting in lesser oxidative stress . A theoretical description by Jerath et al. explains a common physiological mechanism underlying pranayama and reveal the role of the respiratory and cardiovascular system on modulating the autonomic nervous system .
All the beneficial effects of yoga are well documented in literature. However, the mechanism of action of yoga in improving the organ function is not yet revealed. It is likely that yoga and pranayama stimulate stem cell trafficking from the stem cell depots to the peripheral circulation. Pattern formation and remodeling of the organ is facilitated by stem cell trafficking. Hence, we postulate that yoga and pranayama act as a cargo to carry stem cells to their destination wherever needed. It is presumed that the yogic practices provide mechanical stimulation for mobilization of stem cells from bone marrow and tissue resident stem cell depots. It is claimed that yoga and related practices result in rapid gene expression alterations which may be the basis for their long term cell biological and higher level health effects .
The ancient system of Kundalini yoga includes a vast array of meditation techniques and many were discovered to be specific for treating the psychiatric disorders as we know them today. One such technique was found to be specific for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the fourth most common psychiatric disorder, and the tenth most disabling disorder worldwide. Two published clinical trials are described here for treating OCD using a specific Kundalini yoga protocol. This OCD protocol also includes techniques that are useful for a wide range of anxiety disorders, as well as a technique specific for learning to manage fear, one for tranquilizing an angry mind, one for meeting mental challenges, and one for turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts. Part of that protocol is included here and published in detail elsewhere. In addition, a number of other disorder-specific meditation techniques are included here to help bring these tools to the attention of the medical and scientific community. These techniques are specific for phobias, addictive and substance abuse disorders, major depressive disorders, dyslexia, grief, insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Yoga may be effective in the reduction of PTSD symptomology. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a Kundalini Yoga (KY) treatment on PTSD symptoms and overall wellbeing. To supplement the current field of inquiry, a pilot randomized control trial (RCT) was conducted comparing an 8-session KY intervention with a waitlist control group. 80 individuals with current PTSD symptoms participated. Both groups demonstrated changes in PTSD symptomology but yoga participants showed greater changes in measures of sleep, positive affect, perceived stress, anxiety, stress, and resilience. Between-groups effect sizes were small to moderate (0.09–0.25). KY may be an adjunctive or alternative intervention for PTSD. Findings indicate the need for further yoga research to better understand the mechanism of yoga in relation to mental and physical health, gender and ethnic comparisons, and short- and long-term yoga practice for psychiatric conditions.
The findings of this study suggest that when individuals feel calmer, they may experience greater awareness of their thoughts and emotions. Khalsa  postulates that awareness of the mind and body may be related to changes in thought patterns and behaviors. Other studies link self-awareness strategies to self-efficacy. Indeed, as the program progressed, participants demonstrated significant improvements in resilience.
This research investigated the effect of meditation on warning signs of relapse among adults in residential treatment for chemical dependency. Results were that meditation increased participants’ mindfulness, decreased negative mood, and reduced warning signs of relapse. The effect of the intervention on risk of relapse was mediated by mindfulness, the effect of which was, in turn, partially mediated by decrease in negative mood states. The data provide evidence for the effectiveness of meditation to reduce risk for relapse in this population and also add to our knowledge of the relationship between negative mood states and risk for relapse among those in treatment for chemical dependency.
Mindfulness-based interventions can decrease addictive behaviors while promoting nonreactivity to stressors. This study employed qualitative methods to enhance understanding of mindfulness-related treatment effects. Study participants were 18 alcohol-dependent adults residing in a therapeutic community who had participated in a mindfulness-oriented recovery enhancement (MORE) intervention. Interviews were conducted to elicit participant narratives. Responses to open-ended questions were analyzed using a grounded theory approach and the method of constant comparison. Narrative accounts suggested that MORE enhanced self-awareness while helping clients to cope more effectively with emotional distress and addictive impulses. MORE appears to be acceptable to participants and feasible to implement within a residential treatment setting. Mindfulness training could assist marginalized persons in recovering from addiction.
Yoga is one of the spiritual practices derived from the orthodox school of Hindu philosophy. The practices were codified by Patanjali under the title of Ashtanga Yoga. Although Yoga was traditionally seen as a practice meant for achieving self-realization, in recent years there has been significant attention given to the effects of yoga practices on physical and mental health. Yoga as a therapy has proven to be effective as a sole or additional intervention in several psychiatric disorders.
The literature suggests that yoga can lead to significant symptomatic improvements in psychiatric disorders, along with neurobiological effects which may underlie these changes. This suggests that mental health professionals should be open to the potential benefits of spiritual practices for their patients, either as complementary interventions to modern treatments or as sole treatment in some disorders.
Woodland Hills, CA
The study objectives were to develop and objectively assess the therapeutic effect of a novel movement-based complementary and alternative medicine approach for children with an autism-spectrum disorder (ASD).
The intervention and data analysis occurred at a tertiary care, medical school teaching hospital.
Twenty-four (24) children aged 3–16 years with a diagnosis of an ASD comprised the study group.
The efficacy of an 8-week multimodal yoga, dance, and music therapy program based on the relaxation response (RR) was developed and examined.
A movement-based, modified RR program, involving yoga and dance, showed efficacy in treating behavioral and some core features of autism, particularly for latency-age children.
After a Bonferroni Correction, pain, neck ROM, hip passive ROM, upper extremity strength, and the 6-min walk scores all significantly improved after 8 weeks of engaging in yoga. No changes occurred in the wait-list control group.
An imaging study conducted by investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that long-term meditators experienced less gray matter loss compared with matched control persons who did not meditate.
Particularly surprising was the magnitude of this effect in nine clusters throughout the brains of meditators, suggesting that the practice affects more areas of the brain than previously thought.
“We expected that there would be small regions in the brain where we would see an effect ― mostly in regions where there was a difference reported before,” lead investigator Florian Kurth, MD, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Brain Mapping Center, told Medscape Medical News. “What we found, however, were effects throughout the whole brain, which is something really different; it’s really huge.”
Yoga originates in India and is increasingly practiced by Westerners (Barnes et al., 2004, 2008; Saper et al., 2004; Birdee et al., 2008). Several hatha yoga styles are practiced in western societies and most of them encompass physical postures (termed asana in Sanskrit), breath control exercises (pranayama), and meditation (dhyana) including the chanting of Sanskrit mantras.
Yoga offers several documented health benefits including, but not limited to, improvement of depressive, anxious and stressful states and the relief of various painful conditions (Woolery et al., 2004; Lavey et al., 2005; Shapiro et al., 2007; Wren et al., 2011; Li and Goldsmith, 2012). However, the effects of long-term regular yoga practice on the central nervous system had not been explored until recently when it was shown that experienced yoga practitioners have greater GM volume than matched controls in several brain regions including the hippocampus, primary and secondary somatosensory cortices (S1 and S2), insular cortex, anterior, and posterior cingulate cortices (ACC and PCC), inferior and superior parietal cortices, superior temporal gyrus, orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), medial prefrontal cortex, and cerebellum (Froeliger et al., 2012; Villemure et al., 2013).
The aim of this study was to compare changes in brain γ-aminobutyric (GABA) levels associated with an acute yoga session versus a reading session. It was hypothesized that an individual yoga session would be associated with an increase in brain GABA levels.
Yoga practitioners completed a 60-minute yoga session and comparison subjects completed a 60-minute reading session.
There was a 27% increase in GABA levels in the yoga practitioner group after the yoga session (0.20 mmol/kg) but no change in the comparison subject group after the reading session ( −0.001 mmol/kg) (t = −2.99, df = 7.87, p = 0.018).
These findings demonstrate that in experienced yoga practitioners, brain GABA levels increase after a session of yoga. This suggests that the practice of yoga should be explored as a treatment for disorders with low GABA levels such as depression and anxiety disorders. Future studies should compare yoga to other forms of exercise to help determine whether yoga or exercise alone can alter GABA levels.
The 12-week yoga intervention was associated with greater improvements in mood and anxiety than a metabolically matched walking exercise. This is the first study to demonstrate that increased thalamic GABA levels are associated with improved mood and decreased anxiety. It is also the first time that a behavioral intervention (i.e., yoga postures) has been associated with a positive correlation between acute increases in thalamic GABA levels and improvements in mood and anxiety scales. Given that pharmacologic agents that increase the activity of the GABA system are prescribed to improve mood and decrease anxiety, the reported correlations are in the expected direction. The possible role of GABA in mediating the beneficial effects of yoga on mood and anxiety warrants further study.
Physical exercises and the physical components of yoga practices have several similarities, but also important differences. Evidence suggests that yoga interventions appear to be equal and/or superior to exercise in nearly every outcome measured (Ross & Thomas, 2010 Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.), 16, 3–12. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0044). Emphasis on breath regulation, mindfulness during practice, and importance given to maintenance of postures differentiates yoga practices from physical exercises. They also have differential effects on the body and the brain, both in healthy subjects and in persons suffering from various physical and mental disorders. In addition, yoga offers significant advantages in terms of enhancing positive mental health in the healthy population, and providing therapeutic benefit as a sole or adjunct therapy in a range of physical and neuropsychiatric disorders. It is possible that yoga might not only be an acceptable addition to care, but an effective, feasible, and accepted alternative to exercise (Ross & Thomas, 2010 Ross, A., & Thomas, S. (2010). The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.), 16, 3–12. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0044).
Like exercise, yoga has advantages in that it is cost-effective, non-invasive, has minimal risk of adverse effects or drug interactions, does not require medical supervision for practice, and has the added benefit of improving physical fitness. These aspects are likely to increase patient preference and compliance, and may appeal to patients intolerant of or reluctant to use medication (da Silva et al., 2009 Da Silva, T.L., Ravindran, L.N., & Ravindran, A.V. (2009). Yoga in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders: A review. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 2, 6–16.). Like yoga, low-intensity exercise seems to have beneficial effects on the mind and body.
The objective of this systematic review was to assess the effectiveness of yoga as a treatment option for any type of pain.
Nine RCTs suggested that yoga leads to a significantly greater reduction in pain than various control interventions such as standard care, self care, therapeutic exercises, relaxing yoga, touch and manipulation, or no intervention.
Stress is considered a crucial trigger for physical and mental illness. Stress reduction is a known long-term benefit of regular Hatha yoga practice. The efficacy of a single-session Hatha yoga class on stress reduction is not currently known.
This study investigated the comparative effectiveness of a single 90-minute Hatha yoga class and an 8-week, 90-minute-class-per-week course.
Our findings support the position that regular, long-term practice of Hatha yoga provides clear and significant health benefits. Participation in a single 90-minute Hatha yoga class can significantly reduce perceived stress. Doing Hatha yoga regularly can reduce perceived stress even more significantly.
Participants practiced the protocol that was specially designed for senior citizens, keeping in mind their health status and physical limitations. This included simple warm-ups (jathis), breath body movement coordination practices (kriyas), static stretching postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayamas), relaxation and simple chanting. Non-invasive BP apparatus was used to record the HR, systolic (SP) and diastolic pressure (DP) before and after the 60 min sessions. Pulse pressure (PP), mean pressure (MP), rate-pressure product (RPP) and double product (DoP) indices were derived from the recorded parameters.
There is a healthy reduction in HR, BP and derived cardiovascular indices following a single yoga session in geriatric subjects. These changes may be attributed to enhanced harmony of cardiac autonomic function as a result of coordinated breath-body work and mind-body relaxation due to an integrated “Silver Yoga” program.
Yoga breathing is an important part of health and spiritual practices in Indo-Tibetan traditions. Considered fundamental for the development of physical well-being, meditation, awareness, and enlightenment, it is both a form of meditation in itself and a preparation for deep meditation. Yoga breathing (pranayama) can rapidly bring the mind to the present moment and reduce stress. In this paper, we review data indicating how breath work can affect longevity mechanisms in some ways that overlap with meditation and in other ways that are different from, but that synergistically enhance, the effects of meditation. We also provide clinical evidence for the use of yoga breathing in the treatment of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and for victims of mass disasters. By inducing stress resilience, breath work enables us to rapidly and compassionately relieve many forms of suffering.
This chapter briefly reviews recent psychological, physiological, molecular biological, and anthropological research which has important implications, both direct and indirect, for the recognition and understanding of the potential life span and health span enhancing effects of the basic yoga meditational regimen. This regimen consists of meditation, yogic breath control practices, physical exercises (of both a postural- and movement-based, including aerobic nature), and dietary practices. While each of these component categories exhibit variations in different schools, lineages, traditions, and cultures, the focus of this chapter is primarily on basic forms of relaxation meditation and breath control, as well as postural and aerobic physical exercises (e.g., yogic prostration regimens, see below), and a standard form of yogic or ascetic diet, all of which constitute a basic form of regimen found in many if not most cultures, though with variations.
Mechanisms underlying the modulating effects of yogic cognitive-behavioral practices (eg, meditation, yoga asanas, pranayama breathing, caloric restriction) on human physiology can be classified into 4 transduction pathways: humoral factors, nervous system activity, cell trafficking, and bioelectromagnetism. Here we give examples of these transduction pathways and how, through them, yogic practices might optimize health, delay aging, and ameliorate chronic illness and stress from disability.
……..Often, subjects are not long-term practitioners, but recently trained. The models generated from such data are, in turn, often limited, top-down, without the explanatory power to describe beneficial effects of long-term practice or to provide foundations for comparing one practice to another. More flexible and useful models require a systems-biology approach to gathering and analysis of data. Such a paradigm is needed to fully appreciate the deeper mechanisms underlying the ability of yogic practice to optimize health, delay aging, and speed efficient recovery from injury or disease. In this regard, 3 different, not necessarily competing, hypotheses are presented to guide design of future investigations, namely, that yogic practices may: (1) promote restoration of physiologic setpoints to normal after derangements secondary to disease or injury, (2) promote homeostatic negative feedback loops over nonhomeostatic positive feedback loops in molecular and cellular interactions, and (3) quench abnormal “noise” in cellular and molecular signaling networks arising from environmental or internal stresses.
In summary, we propose that yoga practice facilitates self-regulation via an ethically motivated monitoring and control process that involves initiation and maintenance of behavioral change as well as inhibiting undesired output by both higher-level and lower-level brain networks in the face of stress-related physical or emotional challenge. We propose yoga practices emphasize a shift toward bottom-up interoceptive processing and the integration of self-regulatory bottom-up and top-down processes across bodily systems (including cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and musculoskeletal). Particular mechanisms from high-level brain networks are proposed, including intention/motivational goal setting, attentional control, meta-awareness, response inhibition, working memory, and cognitive reappraisal; mechanisms from low-level brain networks are also proposed, including parasympathetic control, improved baroreceptor functioning, increased vagal tone, strengthening of the diaphragm, extinction learning, and early forms of attentional orienting and engagement. The mechanisms described provide a working model that integrates autonomic, cognitive, behavioral, and affective processes into a multi-systems framework for adaptive functioning, all of which serves to promote acute and long-term effects on well-being and mental and physical health. Through practice on the yoga mat, the proposed mechanisms are likely to be more successfully generalized into individuals’ lives off the mat, equipping the practitioner with skills to enable adaptive autonomic nervous system functioning, and cognitive–emotional–behavioral processes that are more flexible and adaptive to emotional and homeostatic perturbations throughout daily life.
Yoga is a holistic system of different mind-body practices that can be used to improve mental and physical health. It has been shown to reduce perceived stress and anxiety as well as improve mood and quality of life. Research documenting the therapeutic benefits of yoga has grown progressively for the past decades and now includes controlled trials on a variety of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and panic disorder.
The primary goal of this study was to investigate the effects of yoga in patients suffering from panic disorder. We aimed at observing the efficacy of yoga techniques on reducing the symptomatology of panic disorder (anxiety and agoraphobia), compared to a combined intervention of yoga and psychotherapy.
This study observed significant improvement in panic symptomatology following both the practice of yoga and the combination of yoga and psychotherapy. While contemplative techniques such as yoga promote a general change in dealing with private events, CBT teaches how to modify irrational beliefs and specific cognitive distortions. The results observed in G2 might indicate that the techniques complemented each other, increasing the intervention efficacy. These findings are in agreement with many investigations found in the literature which observed improvements in different mental health parameters after the practice of contemplative techniques alone or combined to psychotherapy.
Many yoga texts make reference to the importance of mental health and the use of specific techniques in the treatment of mental disorders. Different concepts utilized in modern psychology may not come with contemporary ideas, instead, they seem to share a common root with ancient wisdom.
The goal of this perspective article is to correlate modern techniques used in psychology and psychiatry with yogic practices, in the treatment of mental disorders.
The current article presented a dialogue between the yogic approach for the treatment of mental disorder and concepts used in modern psychology, such as meta-cognition, disidentification, deconditioning and interoceptive exposure.
Contemplative research found out that modern interventions in psychology might not come from modern concepts after all, but share great similarity with ancient yogic knowledge, giving us the opportunity to integrate the psychological wisdom of both East and West.
Yoga is an ancient Indian way of life, which includes changes in mental attitude, diet, and the practice of specific techniques such as yoga asanas (postures), breathing practices (pranayamas), and meditation to attain the highest level of consciousness. Since a decade, there has been a surge in the research on yoga, but we do find very few reviews regarding yogic practices and transcendental meditation (TM) in health and disease.
The various avenues of study of yoga practices reviewed in the present article indicated considerable health benefits, including improved cognition, respiration, reduced cardiovascular risk, BMI, blood pressure, and diabetes mellitus. It also influenced immunity and ameliorated joint disorders.
Yogic practices for 3 months resulted in an improvement in cardiorespiratory performance and psychologic profile. The plasma melatonin also showed an increase after three months of yogic practices. The systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and orthostatic tolerance did not show any significant correlation with plasma melatonin. However, the maximum night time melatonin levels in yoga group showed a significant correlation (r = 0.71, p < 0.05) with well-being score.
These observations suggest that yogic practices can be used as psychophysiologic stimuli to increase endogenous secretion of melatonin, which, in turn, might be responsible for improved sense of well-being.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a global health burden. Nevertheless, it is thought that the risk of CVD can be lowered by changing a number of risk factors, such as by increasing physical activity and using relaxation to reduce stress, both of which are components of yoga. This review assessed the effectiveness of any type of yoga in healthy adults and those at high risk of CVD.
The results showed that yoga has favourable effects on diastolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides (a blood lipid), and uncertain effects on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Although mindfulness meditation interventions have recently shown benefits for reducing stress in various populations, little is known about their relative efficacy compared with relaxation interventions.
The data suggest that compared with a no-treatment control, brief training in mindfulness meditation or somatic relaxation reduces distress and improves positive mood states. However, mindfulness meditation may be specific in its ability to reduce distractive and ruminative thoughts and behaviors, and this ability may provide a unique mechanism by which mindfulness meditation reduces distress.
Telomerase activity is a predictor of long-term cellular viability, which decreases with chronic psychological distress (Epel et al., 2004). Buddhist traditions claim that meditation decreases psychological distress and promotes well-being (e.g., Dalai Lama and Cutler, 2009). Therefore, we investigated the effects of a 3-month meditation retreat on telomerase activity and two major contributors to the experience of stress: Perceived Control (associated with decreased stress) and Neuroticism (associated with increased subjective distress).
This is the first study to link meditation and positive psychological change with telomerase activity. Although we did not measure baseline telomerase activity, the data suggest that increases in perceived control and decreases in negative affectivity contributed to an increase in telomerase activity, with implications for telomere length and immune cell longevity. Further, Purpose in Life is influenced by meditative practice and directly affects both perceived control and negative emotionality, affecting telomerase activity directly as well as indirectly.
Coronary heart disease is the major cause of global cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Lifestyle behaviour contributes as a risk factor: unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, tobacco, alcohol, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia and psychosocial stress. Atherosclerosis pathologic mechanisms involving oxidative stress, dyslipidemia, inflammation and senescence are associated with arterial wall damage and plaque formation. Stress reduction was observed in several types of meditation. After meditation, hormonal orchestration modulates effects in the central nervous system and in the body. All types of meditation are associated with blood pressure control, enhancement in insulin resistance, reduction of lipid peroxidation and cellular senescence, independent of type of meditation. This review presents scientific evidence to explain how meditation can produce beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, and particularly regarding vascular aspects.