International Journal of Yoga - Philosophy, Psychology and Parapsychology

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2013  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 65--68

A comparative study on two yogic relaxation techniques on anxiety in school children


Natesh Babu, Balaram Pradhana, HR Nagendra 
 S-VYASA Yoga University Campus, Prashanti Kutiram, Vivekananda Road, Kallubalu Post, Jigani, Anekal, Bengaluru, India

Correspondence Address:
Natesh Babu
Asst. Director, S-VYASA Yoga University Campus, Prashanti Kutiram, Vivekananda Road, Kallubalu Post, Jigani, Anekal, Bengaluru - 560105
India

Abstract

Background: Meditation brings calmness to the mental activities and develops the internal awareness. It can be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety in student community and academicians. Aims: The aim was to measure the outcomes of cyclic meditation (CM), yogic relaxation technique, when compared to supine rest (SR). We examine reduction in anxiety, using Spielberger«SQ»s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Materials and Methods: A total of 60 high school students (both genders) participated in this study, aged between 13 and 16 years (group average age ± standard deviation, 14.78 ± 1.22 years). They were attending 10 days yoga training course during their summer vacation. Those children«SQ»s, who had English as the main medium of instructions, were included. They acted as their own controls. They were divided into two groups and tested on the STAI, immediately before and after 22:30 min of practice of CM on 1 day, and immediately before and after an equal period of SR on the other day. For the assessment, the first group performed CM on day 9, and SR on day 10. For the second group, the order was reversed. Results: There was a significant reduction on STAI scores within group (pre and post) of CM (4.27%, P = 0.016) session and no change in SR session. Further, subgroup analysis based on gender revealed that the female group had a significant reduction following both sessions, but male group had nonsignificant reduction in STAI score. The female group found significantly differs from the male group in STAI score on both the sessions. Conclusions: The CM found to be a useful technique to combat the state of anxiety with different magnitude of changes in gender subgroups. The female group was benefitted more by following both CM and SR sessions compared with male group.



How to cite this article:
Babu N, Pradhana B, Nagendra H R. A comparative study on two yogic relaxation techniques on anxiety in school children.Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol 2013;1:65-68


How to cite this URL:
Babu N, Pradhana B, Nagendra H R. A comparative study on two yogic relaxation techniques on anxiety in school children. Int J Yoga - Philosop Psychol Parapsychol [serial online] 2013 [cited 2019 May 26 ];1:65-68
Available from: http://www.ijoyppp.org/text.asp?2013/1/2/65/157887


Full Text

 Introduction



Meditation is difficult to learn and practice and hence requires guided training. Hence, S-VYASA developed a technique based on Upanishadic verses taken from Mandukya karika, [1] which say that when mind loses its awareness (laya) and enters into a sleepy state, then it awaken with some stimulation (Sambodhayet). Do it again and again till mind reaches a state of equanimity calmness. [2]

This technique is called cyclic meditation (CM) which consists of a set of postures interspersed with relaxation techniques. Scientific investigations documented that CM showed improvement in physiological, [3] psychological, [4] and neurophysiological variables. [5] School children's underwent 7 days CM training and found improvement in psychomotor performance. [6],[7]

Stress is associated with homeostasis, which lead to somatic and pathological condition. [8] This has been playing a major role in society and generating difficulties in human's social, emotional, behavioral, and personal life. [9] All the fields are getting affected by stress, including working place, educational and health institutions. [10] The negative effects have been seen in all occupational and professional areas.

Impact of stress has an adverse effect on student's health and academic performance. [11] Independently, either single yoga technique or integrated yoga has been found to diminish the stress level. There are several yoga techniques to combat the harmful effects. Scientific investigation showed that students of MBBS, [8],[12],[13],[14] dental [15] and nursing, [16] engineering, [17] college, [18] and school [19] have used different yoga practices for their psychological health benefits.

Most of the above mentioned studies investigated the long-term effect while CM studies are conducted on Yoga residential university course students. There is a dearth of scientific studies on teenage school students. Hence, the present study is aimed to evaluate immediate effect of CM on teenage students' anxiety.

 Materials and Methods



Subjects

The sample size was calculated based on the effect size (0.57) obtained from the previous study, [20] using G* Power software, Version 3.0.10 (Behavior Research Methods), [21] where the α level was 0.05, power β = 0.95 and the recommended sample size was 42. In this study, 60 high school students were recruited, who were under-going a 10 day personality development camp. Since the intervention and measuring tool for the test were in English, the subjects belonged to English medium school with normal health status were included. Similarly, subjects having any history of ill-health and undergoing any medication were excluded. They were in the age range of 13-16 years (group average age, 14.37 ± 1.22 years) in equal number of both genders [Table 1]. They were explained about the details of the protocol, and the written consent was obtained from their parents.{Table 1}

Procedure

The participants were given training for practice of both CM and supine rest (SR) for 8 days. They were assessed before and after equal period of both CM and SR. The assessments were taken on two consecutive days, on day 9 and 10. It was self as control design. The subjects were randomly assigned into two groups equally. The first group performed CM on day 9 and SR on day 10, and the second group with the order reversed. Subjects were tested on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) immediately before and after a session of CM of 22:30 min's duration on 1 day, and immediately before and after an equal period of SR on the other day.

Instrument

Anxiety assessment

The state anxiety was measured using Spielberger's STAI consisted of 20 self-report scales, with each scale running from 1 to 4 for a full score of 80, to evaluate the general tendency to be anxious as a personality trait. The reported concurrent validity ranges from 0.75 to 0.80 with other tests [22] and it was widely used earlier in Indian population.

Intervention

Subjects were instructed to keep their eyes closed throughout the practice of both CM and SR. CM used prerecorded instructions, which emphasized the need to carry out the practice slowly, with awareness and relaxation. Practice starts with subjects lying on their back in the supine (Shavasana) and consists of the following sequence:

Chanting of a verse from the Mandukya Upanishad[1] (0:40 min); isometric contraction of the muscles of the body ending with SR (1:00 min); slowly getting up by shifting the body to the left side and standing at ease (Tadasana), "balancing" the weight on both feet, called centering (2:00 min); The first standing lateral bending posture, toward the right side (Ardhakaticakrasana) (1:20 min); Tadasana (1:10 min) with instructions about relaxation and awareness; Ardhakaticakrasana bending toward the left side (1:20 min); Tadasana as previously (1:10 min); forward bending (Padahastasana) (1:20 min); Tadasana as previously (1:10 min); backward bending (Ardhacakrasana) (1:20 min); slowly coming down into the supine posture (Shavasana) with instructions to relax different parts of the body in sequence (10:00 min). All postures are practiced slowly, with instructions to be aware of all felt sensations. Total duration of practice is 22:30 min. [2]

During the session of SR, subjects were asked to lie on their back in the corpse posture (Shavasana) with eyes closed, legs apart and arms away from the sides of the body. This practice was also given for 22:30 min, the same as for CM, timed on a stopwatch.

Data analysis

Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS (Released 2007. SPSS for Windows, Version 16.0. Chicago, SPSS Inc.). The scores of STAI data were normally distributed (P > 0.05, Shapiro-Wilk's test). Hence, Student's paired "t"- test was used for within group comparison for both CM and SR.

 Results



Mean values and standard deviation for STAI scores tests are given in [Table 2].{Table 2}

Cyclic meditation session showed a significant reduction in the STAI score from 38.90 to 37.24 (P = 0.016, paired sample "t"- test). The SR session showed a nonsignificant reduction in the STAI score from 38.88 to 37.62 (P = 0.073, paired sample "t"- test). The two sessions showed no significant difference in their baseline mean (P = 0.981, independent "t"- test) and also following CM and SR sessions (P = 0.705, independent "t"- test).

Female group: CM sessions showed a significant reduction in the STAI score from 37.71 to 34.75 (P = 0.01, paired sample " t"- test). The SR session showed a significant reduction in the STAI score from 37.94 to 35.08 (P = 0.017, paired sample " t"- test)Male group: CM sessions showed a nonsignificant reduction in the STAI score from 37.71 to 34.75 (P = 0.633, paired sample " t"- test). The SR session SR showed a nonsignificant reduction in the STAI score from 37.94 to 35.08 (P = 0.620, paired sample " t"- test).

There was no significant gender difference of the mean before sessions of CM (P = 0.301, Independent " t"- test) and SR (P = 0.451, Independent " t"- test). However, there were significant difference in the mean score after session of CM (P = 0.047, Independent " t"- test) and SR (P = 0.049, Independent " t"- test).

The female group had significantly higher reduction in STAI score as compared to male group in CM (P = 0.049, Independent " t"- test) and SR (P = 0.019, Independent "t"- test).

 Discussion



The present study showed a significant reduction in State Anxiety Scores following CM session in the whole group by 4.27% alone. Previous study in adult group with similar design showed higher magnitude of changes. This may be due to participants in the previous study who were highly experienced and well-trained in meditation, relaxation and different yoga techniques. They were residential students doing undergraduate and postgraduate yoga courses. [23] The gender subgroup analysis found a significant reduction in (CM = 7.85% and SR = 7.54%) compared with their respective prescores.

The meta-analysis of efficacy of relaxation training (Jacobson's progressive relaxation, autogenic training, applied relaxation, and meditation) for anxiety showed medium effect size (Cohen's d = 0.57). [20] In another study on natural stress relief, meditation reduced trait anxiety after 1 and 2 weeks of practice (Cohen's d = 0.46; d = 0.67) respectively. [24] Whereas in the present study found (Cohen's d = 0.32 for the whole group and d = 0.5 for female group) immediately after CM, which showed consistent findings with earlier studies. Hence, this indicates that different relaxation strategies had a different effect on anxiety levels.

The key components of CM are slow, smooth, effortless body movement with awareness and relaxation. The relaxation component of CM occurs at the end of last 7 min, which may lead to lowering the sympathetic arousal and anxiety scores. These characteristics of CM may be contributing toward reducing the state of anxiety.

Identical study on CM had shown an increase in parasympathetic activity, [25] reduction in oxygen consumption, [3] inhibit the cortical arousal. [5] These are the physiological indicators of reduction of stress and anxiety.

This is the first comparative study between genders on CM. Until now all the CM study had been evaluated in the adult well experienced male participants except one study that included female subjects alone. [25] Apart from this there were two studies on teenagers that included both genders, but they were not mentioned about gender comparison of their outcome measures. [6],[7]

The study had few limitations; participants were recruited from yoga camp, which could be a confounding variable, as the outcome variable might be influenced because of the adherence toward yoga practices. It was a self as control study design with convenient sampling, low sample size, and short duration of training program 7 days. Hence, the result cannot be generalized. CM can be used in educational programs for the school children's to reduce their anxiety level. Further, studies using CM as an intervention could also be investigated on physiological variable viz., EEG, EMG activity, and cortisol level and hormonal activity.

 Acknowledgment



Authors acknowledge the support of S-VYASA Yoga University, Bengaluru in carrying out this study.

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