Background/aims: To study the efficacy of yoga on Gunas (personality) and self esteem in normal adults through a randomized comparative study.
Materials and methods: Of the 1228 persons who attended motivational lectures, 226 subjects aged 18-71 years, of both sexes, who satisfied the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and who consented to participate in the study were randomly allocated into two groups. The Yoga (Y) group practised an integrated yoga module that included asanas, pranayama, meditation, notional correction, and devotional sessions. The comparison group practised mild to moderate physical exercises (PE). Both groups had supervised practices for one hour daily, six days a week, for eight weeks. Guna (personality) was assessed before and after eight weeks using the self-administered "The 'Gita" Inventory of Personality" (GIN) to assess Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Self esteem in terms of competency (COM), global self esteem (GSE), moral and self esteem (MSE), social esteem (SET), family self esteem (FSE), body and physical appearance (BPA), and the lie scale (LIS) were assessed using the self esteem questionnaire (SEQ).
Results: The baseline scores for all domains for both the groups did not differ significantly (P > 0.05 independent samples t-test). There were significant pre-post improvements in all domains in both groups (P < 0.001 paired t-test). The number of persons who showed improvement in Sattva and decrease in Tamas was significant in the Y but not in the PE group (McNemar test). The effect size for self esteem in the Y group is greater than for the PE group in three out of seven domains.
Conclusions: This randomized controlled study has shown the influence of Yoga on Gunas and self esteem in comparison to physical exercise.
Keywords: Guna; Yoga; self esteem.