Improvements in well-being and cardiac metrics of stress following a yogic breathing workshop: Randomized controlled trial with active comparison

J Am Coll Health. 2022 Apr;70(3):918-928. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1781867. Epub 2020 Jul 15.


ObjectiveCompare two distinct psychosocial stress-management workshops.ParticipantsUndergraduate and graduate students (n = 69 for analysis, completed April 2017).MethodsParticipants were randomized to one of two workshops (Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, SKY; Wisdom On Wellness, WOW), matched in terms of duration, group size, etc. Outcomes were questionnaires and psychophysiological response to laboratory stress induction at pre, post, and 3-month follow-up.ResultsSKY and WOW participants demonstrated similar workshop ratings and retention rates. SKY demonstrated greater improvements on a number of self-report measures relative to WOW, including perceived stress, sleep, social connectedness, distress, anxiety, depression, conscientiousness, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Both groups improved in terms of heart rate measures of stress reactivity, however, these outcomes were partially related to changes in resting values at post-workshop and follow-up.ConclusionsThese findings offer insight into unique patterns of change between yogic breathing, acceptance-based approaches to stress management versus cognitively based approaches.

Keywords: Health education; heart rate; mental health; mindfulness; stress.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Benchmarking*
  • Humans
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Yoga*