It’s so great when science backs the anecdotal evidence…
According to an email I just received from the American Viniyoga Institute,
The Aetna, Inc. Mind-Body Stress Reduction in the Workplace Trial, recently published in the online version of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, investigated the impact on perceived stress level and other variables with two distinct mind-body approaches. The Viniyoga Stress Reduction Program (therapeutic Viniyoga) and Mindfulness at Work (mindfulness meditation) were each compared to a control group. These programs helped participants significantly reduce their perceived stress levels while improving their ability to respond to stress.
Participants in the mind-body stress reduction treatment groups (mindfulness and Viniyoga) showed significant improvements in perceived stress with 36 and 33 percent decreases in stress levels respectively, as compared to an 18 percent reduction for the control group as measured with the Perceived Stress Scale.
Participants in the two mind-body interventions also saw significant improvements in a biological marker called heart rhythm coherence, suggesting that their bodies were better able to manage stress.
The study found that these improvements occurred in about half the length of time using the Viniyoga Stress Reduction Program and Mindfulness at Work.
The Viniyoga Stress Reduction program is a 12-week therapeutic yoga-based program. Participants in the worksite trial received instruction for managing stress including physical yoga postures, breathing techniques, guided relaxation and mental skills. The classes also provided coping strategies for dealing with stressful events and promoted use of home and office strategies for reducing stress through yoga. The program offered weekly in-person classes, home practice handouts and yoga break handouts for home and office use.
What’s most exciting is that these programs are very similar to the ones we run at mm…Yoga! So, scientific evidence that yoga and mindfulness (and BREATHING properly) really do reduce stress.