Research: BENVENUTTI and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 259

Abstract

BENVENUTTI and COLLEAGUES, 1. The Faculty of Health Sciences and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Departmento de Medicina, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, UEM, Maringá, Brazil; 2. The Faculty of Health Sciences and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Departmento de Esportes, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, UFMG, BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil; 3. The Faculty of Health Sciences and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; 4. Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; 5. Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare, University College London, London, UK; 6. The Faculty of Health Sciences and Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia. Kate.Edwards@sydney.edu.au conducted a counterbalanced, randomized-crossover trial on the acute effects of a hatha yoga session, displayed on a video and a control watching TV, on the response to and recovery from an acute psychological stressor.

Background

Yoga is promoted as an anti-stress activity, however, little is known about the mechanisms through which it acts. The present study investigated the acute effects of a hatha yoga session, displayed on a video, on the response to and recovery from an acute psychological stressor.

Methodology

Twenty-four healthy young adults took part in a counterbalanced, randomized-crossover trial, with a yoga and a control condition (watching TV). Participants attended the laboratory in the afternoon on two days and each session comprised a baseline, control or yoga task, stress task and recovery. Blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR) and salivary cortisol responses were measured. State cognitive- and somatic-anxiety along with self-confidence were assessed before and after the stressor.

Results

Although no difference in the BP or HR responses to stress were found between conditions, systolic BP (p=0.047) and diastolic BP (p=0.018) recovery from stress were significantly accelerated and salivary cortisol reactivity was significantly lower (p=0.01) in the yoga condition. A yoga session also increased self-confidence (p=0.006) in preparation for the task and after completion. Moreover, self-confidence reported after the stress task was considered debilitative towards performance in the control condition, but remained facilitative in the yoga condition.

Conclusion

Our results show that a single video-instructed session of hatha yoga was able to improve stress reactivity and recovery from an acute stress task in healthy individuals. These positive preliminary findings encourage further investigation in at-risk populations in which the magnitude of effects may be greater, and support the use of yoga for stress reactivity and recovery.

References

Benvenutti MJ1, Alves EDS2, Michael S3, Ding D4, Stamatakis E5, Edwards KM6. A single session of hatha yoga improves stress reactivity and recovery after an acute psychological stress task-A counterbalanced, randomized-crossover trial in healthy individuals. Complement Ther Med. 35:120-126. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2017.10.009. Epub 2017 Oct 31. Dec 2017.

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