Objectives: Recent research has indicated concern for the degree of stress and emotional well-being among university staff. This study examined the effectiveness of yoga in enhancing emotional well-being and resilience to stress among university employees.
Methods: In a randomized controlled trial at a British university, we recruited 48 employees and randomized them into either a yoga or a wait-list control group. The yoga group was offered six weeks of Dru Yoga, comprising one 60-minute class per week. These classes were offered by a certified Dru Yoga instructor at lunchtime from January-March 2008. The wait-list control group received no intervention during this six-week study. Baseline and end-program measurements of self-reported mood and well-being were self-assessed with the Profile of Mood States - Bipolar (POMS-Bi) and the Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes (IPPA).
Results: This six-week yoga intervention resulted in significantly improved POMS-Bi and IPPA scores for the yoga compared to the wait-list control group for seven of eight measures of mood and well-being. In comparison to the wait-list control group at baseline and the end of the program, the yoga group reported marked improvements in feelings of clear-mindedness, composure, elation, energy, and confidence. In addition, the yoga group reported increased life purpose and satisfaction, and feelings of greater self-confidence during stressful situations.
Conclusion: These results show that even a short program of yoga is effective for enhancing emotional well-being and resilience to stress in the workplace. We suggest that employers should consider offering yoga classes to their employees.