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17.08.2017 | Original Paper

Separating the “Limbs” of Yoga: Limited Effects on Stress and Mood

Journal of Religion and Health
Evangeline A. Wheeler, Antonia N. Santoro, Alicia F. Bembenek


Though millions of people practice yoga to reduce stress and improve their mood, it is unclear which aspect of yoga is responsible for these effects. To investigate relevant aspects, or “limbs” of yoga, participants who were novices in the practice of yoga engaged in a single yoga manipulation (i.e., poses, breath work, meditation, or listening to a lecture about yoga) for 20 min before experiencing a mild stressor. Participants’ heart rate, blood pressure, mood, and anxiety level were assessed, both immediately after the yoga manipulation and after the mild stressor. The 20-min yoga manipulation did not differentially affect any of the measures, including participants’ stress response after the mild stressor. Results are discussed regarding the individual components of a yoga practice.

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