Mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation have been shown to be highly effective for reducing stress and enhancing wellness. Some evidence also suggests that these practices may promote health behaviors such as changes in diet and exercise. A team of yoga teachers from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health have developed a standardized 16-week hatha yoga program which focuses on promoting skills for wellness. Preliminary data suggest that the program reduces stress and increases mindfulness and self-compassion. Our goal is to obtain preliminary estimates of effect sizes for health behaviors and to determine the optimal 'dose'of the program and home yoga to prescribe. We will also obtain additional information about mechanistic variables of interest and assess the feasibility of various aspects of our experimental design. The results of the current study will establish the feasibility of using the yoga program to change health behaviors and will also provide valuable preliminary information about potential mechanisms through which the yoga program may be working. This information will then allow us to design a large RCT to formally test the efficacy of this program.
This study will determine the optimal amount of yoga practice needed to obtain changes in health behaviors. The data generated will provide important insights into how yoga-based interventions work to reduce stress and enhance well-being.