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Study Shows Yoga Fosters Subjective Well-Being

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Nina

Study Shows Yoga Fosters Subjective Well-Being

San Francisco Sunrise by Brooke Baird

“In this non-probability sample of 211 women aged 45 to 80 years, we found a dose-response effect, with higher levels of yoga experience predicting increasingly high levels of psychological well-being on all outcomes measured. When yoga experience was measured as total calendar years, without considering the hours of yoga practice, we generally did not find a dose-response effect. A frequent yoga practice was the most consistent predictor of psychological wellness tested in this study. The regularity and frequency of the practice appears to be an essential component of the relationships discovered." —N Moliver, et al

I just wanted to let you know about an intriguing study Yoga experience as a predictor of psychological wellness in women over 45 years in the International Journal of Yoga that I read, which showed there was a relationship between frequency of yoga practice and psychological wellness in older women.According to the authors “enduring well-being” is the not result of specific events, that is, it is not caused by having certain things happen to you. Instead, they say that long-term wellness can be “developed and cultivated with time and effort.” And they define yoga as a set of practices that allows this cultivation of psychological wellness:
“Yoga is an ancient set of integrated mental and physical practices designed to foster the long-term experience of positive psychological states, including transcendence of the ordinary, spirituality, self-awareness, and inner peace.”
Their study was designed to study how “psychological attitudes, transcendence, mental mastery, and subjective vitality” in female yoga practitioners over 45 years old varied according to the length and frequency of yoga practice. So this was examining only yoga practitioners and was designed to measure the effects of both the number of years of practice and the frequency of practice.
For their sample set the researchers chose 211 female yoga practitioners who had practiced yoga for as long as 50 years and for up to 28 hours per week (whoa, that’s some serious yoga practice!). To gather their data from this group, the researchers used online surveys. The definition of “positive psychological attitudes” for the survey included:
“serenity under pressure, interest and satisfaction in life, a sense of purpose, contentment with self and life, meaning in one's work, low levels of worry and anxiety, a sense of self-worth, hope, and self-confidence.”
That sounds like yogic equanimity and contentment to me!
Their conclusion was that there was a “dose-response” effect for yoga. This means that the more “doses” of yoga a woman had over her lifetime, the higher she scored on levels of psychological well-being. In other words, the researchers concluded that high numbers of total hours of yoga practiced over a lifetime were “strongly associated” with high levels of psychological well-being.
However, when they just measured “yoga experience” as a number of years of practice without taking into account the actual number of hours of practice, they did not see the same "dose-response" effect. It was both regular and frequent yoga practice that was the “most consistent predictor” of psychological wellness. In plain English, this means that the more you practice yoga over your lifetime the more psychological well-being you would experience.
My conclusion? It makes me happy— or to put it more accurately, it makes me content—to see a study that shows regular yoga practice actually does help you cultivate equanimity and contentment! 
See 7 Ways to Cultivate Equanimity with Yoga for information on equanimity. See Yoga Philosophy: Contentment and Enough for information on contentment. Subscribe to Yoga for Healthy Aging by Email ° Follow Yoga for Healthy Aging on Facebook and Twitter ° To order Yoga for Healthy Aging: A Guide to Lifelong Well-Being, go to AmazonShambhalaIndie Boundor your local bookstore.

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