The acute effects of yoga on cognitive measures for women with premenstrual syndrome

J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Jun;21(6):364-9. doi: 10.1089/acm.2015.0070. Epub 2015 May 12.


Objectives: Recently, yoga classes specifically for women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have increased, but there is little research about the efficacy of these classes. The primary aims of this study were to evaluate the effect of yoga exercise on women with PMS and to evaluate the immediate change of attention performance after yoga classes.

Methods: This study examined the attention task results of women with PMS. Eleven women with PMS and 9 women without PMS were recruited. The PMS group took the tests before and immediately after the yoga class both in the luteal and follicular phase of one menstrual cycle, while the control group took the tests only twice: once in the luteal phase and once in the follicular phase. Both groups were required to finish resting electroencephalography (EEG) and cognitive task of the 2-back task with EEG recording.

Results: The alpha brain wave percentage was higher immediately after yoga exercise in the PMS group. This suggests that the participants felt more relaxed or were in a more peaceful mental condition after yoga exercise. In the 2-back task, the PMS group needed a longer reaction time to respond to the target stimulus in the luteal phase and performed better with higher accuracy and shorter reaction time after yoga exercise. The event-related potentials of the EEG recording displayed a significant variability at the P3 amplitude throughout the menstrual cycle in the PMS group, but the P3 amplitude was unchanged throughout the menstrual cycle in the control group.

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that women with PMS could attend short-term yoga exercise in the luteal phase to make themselves feel better and maintain a better attention level.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / therapy*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Yoga*
  • Young Adult