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

J Am Coll Health. 2020 Jul 15;1-11. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1781867. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objective: Compare two distinct psychosocial stress-management workshops.Participants: Undergraduate and graduate students (n = 69 for analysis, completed April 2017).Methods: Participants 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.Results: SKY 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.Conclusions: These 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.