Effect of the comprehensive Art of Living yogic breathing programme on the physiological and psychological well-being
Throughout 2006 – 2008 the first comprehensive study of the effect of the Art of Living breathing program on the physiological and psychological well being of healthy volunteers was conducted under the financial support of the Bial Foundation.
The comprehensive program of The Art of Living consisting of asanas (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), Sudarshan Kriya (unique rhythmic breathing exercise), relaxation techniques, stress management, group processes and teamwork, was conducted.
The Effect was measured by :
a) Physiological parameters encompassing metabolic (glucose, triglycerides, HDL, LDL and total cholesterol), inflammatory (C-reactive protein, homocystein, folic acid), oxido-reductive (superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase), stress status (cortisol, lactate, lymphocytes), and cardiovascular and autonomic system parameters (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate variability, lung capacity).
b) Psychological parameters encompassing general health status (SF 36 Health Survey, Ware, 1993), satisfaction with life (Satisfaction With Life Scale, Diener, 1985)), quality of life (The Quality of Life Scale, Krizmanić and Kolesarić, 1992), self-esteem (The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, 1968), emotional status (PANAS-Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, Watson, Clark and Telegen, 1988), anxiety (STAI-Stait Trait Anxiety Inventory, Spielberger, 1968) and neuroticism (Neuroticism Scale, Goldberg et all, 1999).
The study included pre-post test design with wait-listed control group. An Intervention group participated in the initial six-day course, with regular daily home practice and weekly follow-ups for a period of three months.
Results of the preliminary analysis show:
a) Psychological parameters - significant decrease in anxiety and negative affects (distressed, upset, guilty, scared, hostile, irritable, ashamed, nervous, jittery, and afraid), significant increase of positive affects (interested, excited, strong, enthusiastic, proud, alert, inspired, determined, attentive, and active), increase in self-esteem and overall satisfaction with life.
b) Physiological parameters – significant increase in oxidative enzymes, decrease of systolic blood pressure and decrease of total and LDL cholesterol. Other parameters are still under analysis.
As a continuation of these efforts a following project "Could the energy homeostasis be restored in bulimia nervosa through the comprehensive Art of Living yogic breathing programme?" was submitted to the 2008 Bial Foundation Application. The aim of the project is to study effects of the Art of Living program on the wellness of bulimic patients.
Contact Person: Dr. Sci. Sanja Kostrun