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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 51-54

Effect of yoga on flexibility and psychomotor performance in college-going healthy individuals


1 Department of Yoga, SDM College of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences, Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka, India
2 Division of Yoga and Life Sciences, S-VYASA, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Yogic Art and Science, Annamalai University, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication31-May-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Pailoor Subramanya
Division of Yoga and Life Sciences, S-VYASA, Bangalore, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijny.ijoyppp_36_17

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  Abstract 


Background: Yoga is the science of right living and as such is intended to be incorporated into daily life. Studies related to yoga and flexibility were done mainly in elderly, and there is a lack of information on the studies related to yoga practices and psychomotor performance. This present study aims at evaluating the effect of yoga on flexibility and psychomotor performance in college-going healthy individuals. Materials and Methods: A total of 100 individuals with the age varied from 18 to 22 years with no experience in practising yoga were randomized into two groups: yoga group (n = 50) and control group (n = 50). Baseline and postassessments of flexibility through sit and reach test (SAR) and psychomotor performances through digit letter substitution task (DLST) were collected before and after the intervention. Yoga group received yoga practices for the duration of 60 min and 6 days per week for 3 months. Data were statistically analyzed with paired sample t-test (within the group) and independent sample t-test (between the groups) by using statistical package for the social sciences version 16. Results: The results in this present study show a significant improvement in SAR test and DLST score in the yoga group in comparison with the control group. Conclusion: The yoga practices given for a 3-month duration are useful in improving the flexibility and psychomotor performance in college-going students.

Keywords: College-going students, flexibility, psychomotor performance, yoga


How to cite this article:
Shetty S, Subramanya P, Moorthy VK. Effect of yoga on flexibility and psychomotor performance in college-going healthy individuals. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2018;6:51-4

How to cite this URL:
Shetty S, Subramanya P, Moorthy VK. Effect of yoga on flexibility and psychomotor performance in college-going healthy individuals. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Mar 25];6:51-4. Available from: http://www.ijoyppp.org/text.asp?2018/6/1/51/233612




  Introduction Top


Yoga is the science of right living and as such is intended to be incorporated into daily life. It works on physical, mental, emotional, psychic, and spiritual aspects. It consists of asanas, pranayama, meditation, etc.[1] The state of the mind and the body are intimately related. Stress produces a state of physical and mental tension whereas the yoga is recognized as a form of mind–body medicine.[2] Practice of yoga has gained popularity as a form of physical fitness and exercise.[3] Physical activity has reported to improve functions of various systems of the body. It also helps in regulating obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure; improves elasticity of blood vessels; and enhances the cerebral functions.[4] Previous studies reported the improvement of flexibility through yoga in women (mean age >50 years),[4],[5] moderately active (age 52.37 ± 7.79 years)[3] and obese females,[6] elderly individuals [7] who all endorsed an fear of falling,[8] community-dwelling older adults,[9] Indian Air Force ground personnel,[10] professional computer users,[11] adults employed in university-based office positions,[12] chronic low back pain,[13],[14] Parkinson's disease,[15] women with delayed onset muscle soreness in the lower extremity,[16] and Stage II breast cancer.[17] One of the most commonly used tools for assessing psychomotor is digit letter substitution task (DLST)[18],[19],[20] which was developed from the Digit Symbol Substitution Test.[21] The effect of various yoga practices on psychomotor functions assessed through DLST is less understood. For example, the practice of kapalabhati (frontal brain cleansing breathing) for 1 min as well as 5 min duration did not produce any improvement in DLST with increased error score.[18] In another study, the practice of cyclic meditation and supine rest reported to improve the DLST score [19],[20] with more wrong cancellation errors.[20] Most of the studies related to yoga and flexibility were done on elderly,[3],[4],[5],[7],[8],[9] and to the best of our knowledge, there are no studies conducted on yoga and flexibility and psychomotor function in college-going healthy individuals. Hence, the present study aims at evaluating the effect of yoga on flexibility and psychomotor function in college-going healthy individuals.


  Materials and Methods Top


Subjects

One hundred healthy controls (female, [n = 71]) with the age varied from 18 to 22 years and no experience in practicing yoga were recruited from a residential college of South India based on the following inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Inclusion criteria

Male and female with no known medical and drug history for any diseases, willingness to participate the study.

Exclusion criteria

Individuals with history of chronic substance abuse, impaired mental health, recent surgery, and who cannot perform yoga practices. Study protocol was approved by the institutional ethics committee and a written informed consent was obtained from each individual.

Randomization

The recruited individuals were randomized into either yoga group (n = 50, female [n = 40]) or control group (n = 50, female [n = 31]) on the day before their intervention. The randomization was done by one of the authors (who did not involve in investigation), using the papers with words “Yoga” and “Control” put in an envelope and the paper each individual drew out determined their group.

Blinding/masking

It was not possible to mask the yoga intervention from the individuals. However, the investigator who did the assessment was blind to the intervention or yoga/control group.[22]

Intervention

Yoga group: Individuals received yoga intervention daily for a duration of 60 min for 6 days per week for 3-month period. Details of yoga intervention are provided in [Table 1]. Control group: Individuals did not receive any kind of yoga intervention for the same study period.
Table 1: Details of the intervention provided to the yoga group (n=50)

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Assessments

Flexibility

The flexibility was assessed with the use of sit and reach (SAR) test in which all the individuals were asked to sit on the floor with the back and head against a wall legs fully extended with the bottom of the feet against the SAR box. They were asked to keep their hands on top of each other, stretching the arms forward while keeping the head and back against the wall and knees as straight as possible. They were requested to slowly bend forward and reach as far as possible while sliding the fingers along with measuring scale. We have performed three trials,[10] and the average of the three trails is considered as a final value for analysis.

Psychomotor performance

It was assessed with the use of DLST. The test sheet consists of 8 rows × 12 columns of randomly arrayed digits. The key at the top of each sheet pairs each of the 9 digits with 9 selected letters. Individuals have to write the corresponding letters in the empty box below each digit. Choice of strategy for substituting letters is up to each individual: horizontally, vertically, or selecting one digit at a time. Individuals have to substitute as many letters for digits as possible in the test time of 90 s. Test supervisors timed each test on a standard stopwatch.[18]

Data analysis

Statistical analysis was performed by student's paired t-test (within group) and independent sample t-test (between groups) with the use of statistical package for the social sciences version 16. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.


  Results Top


A total of hundred individuals were recruited for the study and randomized into either a yoga or control group. Baseline and postassessments were taken before and after the intervention. The baseline and postassessments of within groups were analyzed by paired sample t-test and the between groups were analyzed by independent sample t-test. There were no significant changes in the baseline in between groups.

The results in the study showed a significant improvement in flexibility and DLST score in the yoga group when compared to control group [Table 2].
Table 2: Baseline and postassessments of yoga (n=50) and control (n=50) groups

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  Discussion Top


This present study showed a significant increase in SAR test and DLST scores in the yoga group compared to control group.

Significant increase in SAR score in the yoga group compared to control group indicates that the improvement of flexibility was observed only in the individuals who practised yoga but not in the individual who did not practice. This indicates the effectiveness of the yoga practices in improving flexibility. This result might attribute to its stress-relieving effect. Stress is reported to produce a state of physical and mental tension [2] whereas the yoga is reported to relieve the stress, improve the sense of well-being,[22] and relax the mind. When the mind is relaxed, the muscles in the body will also be relaxed,[2] and when the muscles are relaxed, it might lead to increase in flexibility. The improvement in the flexibility is supported by various previous studies.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17] Improvement in flexibility was shown to be useful in range of motion in elderly individuals [7] who all endorsed a fear of falling,[8] professional computer users,[11] chronic low back pain,[13],[14] Parkinson's disease,[15] and women with Stage II breast cancer.[17] It is also useful to encourage the physical activity which is known to prevent obesity, diabetes, etc.

This present study showed a significant improvement in DLST in the yoga group compared to control group. The substitution tasks involve visual scanning, mental flexibility, sustained attention, psychomotor speed, and speed of information processing. Hence, increase in the DLST score in the yoga group indicates that the improvement in the above-mentioned performance was better only in the individuals who practised yoga than the individual who did not practice.

Strengths of the study

This is the first randomized controlled trial evaluating the effect of yoga on flexibility and psychomotor performance in college-going students. All individuals were kept under the controlled atmosphere.

Limitation of the study

Inclusion and inequality in the number of both genders in yoga (female n = 40) and control (female n = 31) groups; the individuals were not followed up to see whether or not the effects of yoga were sustained. Further studies are required in a larger sample size with more parameters to explore its effects with underlying mechanisms.


  Conclusion Top


The results of this study suggest that the 3-month yoga practices can be useful in improving the flexibility and psychomotor performance in college-going healthy individuals.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

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Satyananda Saraswati. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha. 4th Revised edition. Munger, Bihar: Yoga Publications Trust; 2008.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
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Gonçalves LC, Vale RG, Barata NJ, Varejão RV, Dantas EH. Flexibility, functional autonomy and quality of life (QoL) in elderly yoga practitioners. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2011;53:158-62.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Jakhotia KA, Shimpi AP, Rairikar SA, Mhendale P, Hatekar R, Shyam A, et al. Suryanamaskar: An equivalent approach towards management of physical fitness in obese females. Int J Yoga 2015;8:27-36.  Back to cited text no. 6
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Haldavnekar RV, Tekur P, Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Effect of yogic colon cleansing (Laghu Sankhaprakshalana Kriya) on pain, spinal flexibility, disability and state anxiety in chronic low back pain. Int J Yoga 2014;7:111-9.  Back to cited text no. 13
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Galantino ML, Bzdewka TM, Eissler-Russo JL, Holbrook ML, Mogck EP, Geigle P, et al. The impact of modified Hatha yoga on chronic low back pain: A pilot study. Altern Ther Health Med 2004;10:56-9.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Boulgarides LK, Barakatt E, Coleman-Salgado B. Measuring the effect of an eight-week adaptive yoga program on the physical and psychological status of individuals with Parkinson's disease. A pilot study. Int J Yoga Therap 2014;24:31-41.  Back to cited text no. 15
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Boyle CA, Sayers SP, Jensen BE, Headley SA, Manos TM. The effects of yoga training and a single bout of yoga on delayed onset muscle soreness in the lower extremity. J Strength Cond Res 2004;18:723-9.  Back to cited text no. 16
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Galantino ML, Greene L, Daniels L, Dooley B, Muscatello L, O'Donnell L, et al. Longitudinal impact of yoga on chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment and quality of life in women with early stage breast cancer: A case series. Explore (NY) 2012;8:127-35.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
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Pradhan B. Effect of kapalabhati on performance of six-letter cancellation and digit letter substitution task in adults. Int J Yoga 2013;6:128-30.  Back to cited text no. 18
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Subramanya P, Telles S. Performance on psychomotor tasks following two yoga-based relaxation techniques. Percept Mot Skills 2009;109:563-76.  Back to cited text no. 19
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Pradhan B, Nagendra HR. Effect of yoga relaxation techniques on performance of digit-letter substitution task by teenagers. Int J Yoga 2009;2:30-4.  Back to cited text no. 20
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Pradhan B, Nagendra H. Normative data for the digit-letter substitution task in school children. Int J Yoga 2009;2:69-72.  Back to cited text no. 21
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Mooventhan A, Khode V. Effect of Bhramari pranayama and OM chanting on pulmonary function in healthy individuals: A prospective randomized control trial. Int J Yoga 2014;7:104-10.  Back to cited text no. 22
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