As I enter my (hopefully) last semester of grad school at Vivekananda Yoga University, my final project is to complete a unique research study. I have chosen to do a
simple, cross-sectional study to discern whether or not yoga practice, in comparison to non-yoga practice, reduces levels of stress and anxiety, and what kind of a bearing its practice (or non-practice) may have on a sense of meaning and purpose in life. I'm inviting you to participate. Read on!
At a surface level this seems like a no-brainer. Yoga people might tend to think, "Of course I have lower levels of stress, of course I have a sense of meaning in life!" Non-yoga people might think, "I don't need yoga, I already have purpose. In fact, if you need to do all that yoga, and still don't have purpose, maybe it's not working!" Or a hundred other variations.
When it comes to questioning how/why/where/under what conditions something works, or doesn't work, it's good to not make assumptions, but examine, question, and in this case, capture a little bit of data.
So, why this topic? Well, one of the underlying, essential points of yoga is to help the individual discover meaning and purpose, and then live according to those two things. "Meaning" is associated with the word "means," which is a way of accomplishing something. In Sanskrit, that word is artha, one of the four aims of human existence. Purpose is dharma, another of the four aims. In this small, cross-sectional study,
I hope to discern, to some extent, how much yoga contributes to the accomplishment of a sense of meaning and purpose in life, and if lower levels of stress and anxiety have anything to do with that.
To that end, I would like to recruit 60 people who have experienced, at any point in their
lives, self-perceived higher than normal levels of anxiety or stress, to participate in answering four, short questionnaires. There will be a total of 27 questions, which should take just take a few minutes of your time. Higher than normal stress or anxiety is having had, or currently having, stress or anxiety that is persistent and does not seem to diminish, impacting your quality of life.
30 people will be admitted into the study who practice yoga 3x per week or more for the past six months. 30 people will be admitted into the study who do not practice yoga at all, or who do not regularly practice yoga, meaning have not done more than five classes of yoga, meditation, or associated practices in the past year. The questionnaires will be anonymized, and I will have no idea who has
answered what as I analyze the data.
What is the inclusion criteria?
Adults over the age of 18 in the yoga arm must have had a yoga practice for at least the past six months, practicing a minimum of three days per week. They can be practicing online, independently at home, or attending classes in a studio or gym. The participants will ideally be doing asanas and pranayama, but those with have only an asana practice or those with only a pranayama practice will also be
admitted. Participants will be included who report having had experienced higher than normal levels of persistent anxiety at some point in their lives with or without a DSM diagnosis. The non-practicing yoga arm should have not had exposure to yoga in the past six months, and before that not attended more than 5 classes over the previous six-month period. They should report having had experienced higher than normal levels of persistent anxiety at some point in their lives with or without a DSM
Would you like to
If so, great! Please reply to this email and let me know which group you would be in, yoga or non-yoga. I will most likely need more help recruiting non-yoga participants, so if you have a friend, relative, partner,
spouse, acquaintance, who you think would be up for this, please share this email with them.
Thank you very much, and I look forward to hearing from you!