‘Stress lower among yoga practitioners’

Study by IIT-D scientists map effect of yoga on emotional problems during lockdown

Published - February 19, 2021 12:56 am IST - NEW DELHI

Girls practice yoga  at the lawn near India Gate  in New Delhi.

Girls practice yoga at the lawn near India Gate in New Delhi.

A study by IIT-Delhi scientists has revealed that those who practised yoga during the pandemic-induced lockdown had lower stress, anxiety and depression, higher wellbeing and more peace of mind as compared to non-practitioners.

The study was undertaken by National Resource Centre for Value Education in Engineering (NRCVEE), an academic centre at IIT-Delhi.

Study on over 600 adults

The institute said its researchers led by Pooja Sahni carried out the study on a total of 668 adults during lockdown between April 26 and June 8, 2020, and the participants were grouped as yoga practitioners, other spiritual practitioners, and non-practitioners based on their responses to daily practices that they follow.

Yoga practitioners were further examined based on the duration of practice as long-term, mid-term, and beginners.

“The long-term practitioners reported higher personal control and lower illness concern in contracting COVID-19 than the mid-term or beginner group. The long- term and mid-term practitioners also reported perceiving lower emotional impact of COVID-19 and lower risk in contracting the virus than the beginners,” the institute said. It added that general wellbeing was reported higher by the long-term and mid-term practitioners than the beginners group.

Further, the long-term practitioners were found to have the highest peace of mind, lowest depression and anxiety with no significant difference in the mid-term and the beginner group.

“While yoga has been recommended as one of the ways to manage stress during COVID-19, there was a lack of empirical evidence to support the claims. Our study has mapped the effect of yoga on the cognitive and emotional problems of COVID-19, besides showing beneficial effects of yoga on general wellbeing during adversity,” Dr. Sahni said. She added that evidence supports that yoga was found as an effective self-management strategy to cope with stress, anxiety and depression, besides helping to maintain wellbeing during COVID19 lockdown

Kamlesh Singh, Associate Professor at Humanities and Social Sciences Department, IIT Delhi and one of the authors of the study feel that evidence from this research can be used by the health care practitioners to include yoga as an alternate therapy for self-management of stress-related problems during conditions like COVID-19 pandemic.

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