The Benefits of Yoga in Relieving Stress and Improving Health

Overall stress and stress related symptoms are very common through out the world. Yoga can give practitioners benefits of improving their health. Yoga has been around for many years and is used for mindfulness, relaxation, and improved breathing. While time consuming, healthcare professionals, and women with stress, anxiety, or depression should practice yoga and meditation because it can increase overall wellbeing. An abundant amount of studies have shown the benefits of yoga through out the world.. Many Americans, veterans or civilians deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms daily. 50%- 75% of Americans have experienced at least one traumatic experience within their life (1). Americans diagnosed with PTSD are likely to develop anxiety, depression, mood disorders, substance problems and higher rate of suicide. This study was conducted to see if there was a reduction in PTSD symptoms with yoga intervention (1). The participants used in this study were all women, 9 veterans and 29 civilians who experience PTSD symptoms. Since some people dropped out of the study, there were a yoga group with 14 participants who completed the study and a control group with 12 participants who completed the study. A registered 200-hour yoga teacher taught all the classes, the style of yoga was Hatha (based on a connection between the body and mind).

The yoga group had a choice to take 12 75-minute yoga classes once a week for 12 weeks or 12 classes twice a week for 6 weeks (1). The yoga group and the control group both filled out the same weekly assessments. Both groups also filled out post intervention assessments 4 weeks after the yoga group’s initial yoga classes (1). Expressive suppression, one of the emotions evaluated, was decreased for the yoga group but not the control group. Interestingly, psychological flexibility, the second emotion evaluated, was increased for the control group not the yoga group but during post intervention there was no significant difference between the two (1). This similarity may be caused by all of the assessments, surveys, and attention from staff. Overall, yoga can be a means to reduce PTSD symptoms. Being a mental health professional is very important, although being a mental health professional comes with its ups and down. Emotional stress can easily result in being mentally, emotionally, and physically burnt out (2). Burn out can indirectly affect the patients and possibly the organization. Many studies show positive yoga effects along with nurses but not overall mental health professionals. This study in particular used 60 mental health professionals within a teaching hospital to see if yoga decreased their emotional stress (2). This study was a single blind, randomized, controlled and consisted of 30 mental health professionals in either the control group or the yoga group. They were mostly female and average aged about 30 years old. The participants went to a 60 minute long yoga class weekly for a total of 12 weeks (2). Every participant used subjective self-administered scales and stress scales that were then analyzed 6 weeks into the study and after the full 12 weeks. Work related stress and stress adaptation within the yoga group advanced greatly compared to their initial scores. The tests for work related stress showed a great difference between the two pre and posttests for the yoga group (2).

Stress adaptation was also increased throughout the yoga group. Within the control groups there wasn’t an important difference between the control group’s pre and posttests (2). Therefore, within these 60 health care professionals doing yoga even just once a week improved their work related stress levels and stress adaptation. Caregivers who help patients with dementia are often very stressed. Yoga and meditation has been shown in previous studies to reduce chronic pain, help with psychological problems, and reduce depression. This next study was done to see if yoga and meditation would let caregivers for patients with dementia cope with their stress (3). Eight Latina and 6 Caucasian women are primary caregivers of patients with dementia and were all enrolled in the study. There was no control group; the participants participated in 6 sessions weekly (3). Five sessions were 90 minutes that were 30 minutes of meditation and led into Hatha yoga then some of these sessions consisted of 20-30 minutes of learning how to apply these stress relieving skills to stressful work situations. The sixth weekly session was 3 hours long to go more in depth and learn new techniques (3). Each participant completed weekly practice logs to record notes and their minutes completed.

Both Latina and Caucasian had similar results so the results were just combined overall. Pre intervention vs. post intervention had a significant difference from their initial stress assessments and their symptoms were improved after 1 month of yoga intervention (3). A survey was taken at the end of the post intervention and 70% of the participants felt better with sleeping, energy, frustration, physically, and depression (3). Therefore, these caregivers improved significantly through practicing yoga and meditation. In conclusion, yoga has been proven to increase and improve stress levels, and the well being of many people including PTSD patients, and healthcare professionals. Improving stress levels and stress related symptoms in anybody’s life are important. Yoga and meditation should be practiced to help reduce too much stress from everyday life.

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