Background: Participating in yoga may be ideal for college students to increase physical activity and improve mental health.
Purpose: To investigate the feasibility and impact of an 8-week yoga intervention within a university setting on mental and physiologic heath.
Methods: This 8-week yoga intervention included twelve yoga-naïve adults, (23.8 ± 4.6 years; 71% female). Participants attended two 60-min yoga classes/week in addition to baseline, mid- and post-lab visits.
Results: 83% of participants attended ≥75% of yoga classes. Stress and depression symptoms decreased by 11% and 25%, respectively and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) reduced by 28%. Participants who did not meet physical activity recommendations observed greater improvements in stress, depression symptoms, ESR, and C-reactive protein compared to participants who met recommendations.
Conclusion: The majority of participants attended ≥12 of 16 yoga classes. Exploratory analyses provide preliminary support for the impact of yoga on reducing stress, symptoms of depression, and ESR. Participants who were not meeting physical activity guidelines prior to starting the intervention received greater benefits.
Keywords: C-reactive protein; Depression; Inflammation; Mind-body; Stress.
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