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BACKGROUND: There are limited data on the characteristics of yoga users in the U.S. OBJECTIVE: To characterize yoga users, medical reasons for use, perceptions of helpfulness, and disclosure of use to medical professionals. METHODS: Utilizing cross-sectional survey data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Alternative Medicine Supplement (n = 31044), we examined correlates of yoga use for health. The estimated prevalence from 2002 NHIS of yoga for health was 5.1% corresponding to over 10 million adults. RESULTS: In 2002, yoga users were predominately Caucasian (85%) and female (76%) with a mean age of 39.5 years. Compared to non-yoga users, yoga users were more likely female (OR 3.76, 95% CI 3.11-4.33); less likely black than white (OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.53-0.80); tended to be younger; and more likely college educated (OR 2.70, 95% CI 2.37-3.08). Musculoskeletal conditions (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.42-1.83), mental health conditions (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.22-1.67), severe sprains in the last 12 months (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.22-1.81), and asthma (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.05-1.54) were independently associated with higher yoga use, while hypertension (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.64-0.95) and chronic obstructive lung disease (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.48-1.00) were associated with lower use. Yoga was most commonly used to treat musculoskeletal or mental health conditions, and most users reported yoga to be helpful for these conditions. A majority of yoga users (61%) felt yoga was important in maintaining health, though only 25% disclosed yoga practice to their medical professional. CONCLUSIONS: We found that yoga users are more likely to be white, female, young and college educated. Yoga users report benefit for musculoskeletal conditions and mental health, indicating that further research on the efficacy of yoga for the treatment and/or prevention of these conditions is warranted.

BACKGROUND: Mind-body practices such as yoga have been studied for their generally positive effects on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The association between how a person practices yoga and the person's HRQOL is not known. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Yoga practitioners were sent invitations to participate in an online survey via email. Yoga characteristics, HRQOL, and other sociodemographics were collected. Analyses of data from 309 consenting responders evaluated associations between yoga practice characteristics (use of yoga tools, length of practice, location, method, etc.) and the 10-item PROMIS Global Health scale for both physical and mental health components. RESULTS: Multivariable regression models demonstrated higher mental health scores were associated with regular meditation practice, higher income, and the method of practicing in a community group class (versus one-on-one). Higher physical health scores were associated with length of lifetime practice, teacher status, Krishnamacharya yoga style, and practicing in a yoga school/studio (versus at home). CONCLUSIONS: Meditation practice in yoga is positively associated with mental health. Length of lifetime yoga practice was significantly associated with better physical health, suggesting yoga has a potential cumulative benefit over time. Different locations and methods of practice may be associated with varying effects on health outcomes. Comparative cross-sectional and longitudinal studies on the variations in yoga practice are needed to further characterize health benefits of yoga.

BACKGROUND: Yoga is a behavioral practice that uses physical movement, breathing, and meditation to improve health and promote personal transformation. Ancient yoga philosophy proposed that an individual's confidence about yoga, a concept similar to self-efficacy, will affect the likelihood of improved health from yoga practice. The purpose of this study was to develop and examine the psychometric properties of a self-efficacy measure for yoga practice (the Yoga Self-Efficacy Scale; YSES). METHODS: Yoga practitioners were recruited to evaluate the psychometric properties of YSES via a secure online survey. We collected data on additional measures to further examine construct validity. After two weeks, participants were invited to complete YSES items again to assess test-retest reliability. RESULTS: A majority of participants (N = 309) were White (85%), female (82%), and yoga instructors (56%). The 12-item YSES is unidimensional with a Cronbach's alpha of 0.93. Test-retest reliability is r = 0.79 (n = 170). YSES scores are positively correlated with health competence, health-related quality of life, and years practicing yoga, supporting construct validity. Also, yoga teachers scored significantly higher on the YSES than non-teachers (p < 0.001). Non-significant relationships with education, income and sex supported discriminant validity. YSES maintained internal consistency and construct validity for all yoga styles surveyed. CONCLUSION: YSES is a reliable and valid measure of self-efficacy for yoga practice that may provide insight into barriers to adopting and maintaining yoga as a health behavior.

Context: The purpose of this study was to measure the oxygen consumption (VO2) during Viniyoga yoga movements (asanas) and to compare VO2 walking among adults. Methods: Yoga practitioners (n = 10) were recruited to measure VO2 while at rest (30 min), practicing yoga (16 movements with different variations), and treadmill walking at 2 mph (10 min) and 3 mph (10 min). VO2 was measured using a whole-room indirect calorimetry. Each yoga movement was categorized by body orientation as standing, lying, and sitting. The differences in VO2 between yoga and walking were examined using Pearson's correlations. Differences in VO2 between poses (standing, sitting, and lying) were examined using linear regression models. VO2. Results: Mean yoga-VO2 for the entire yoga session was 3.7 (standard deviation [SD] 0.43, range: 4.4-8.9) ml/kg/min. Yoga-VO2 varied by body orientation: standing = 7.5 (SD = 1.5) ml/kg/min, lying = 5.3 (SD = 1.0) ml/kg/min, and sitting = 5.4 (SD = 1.1) ml/kg/min. After adjusting for body mass, frequency of yoga practice, and resting energy expenditure, female gender was negatively associated with mean yoga VO2 for standing (B = -112.19, P < 0.05), lying (B = -141.87, P < 0.05), and sitting (B = -129.96, P < 0.05). Mean VO2 for walking 2 mph was comparable with sitting (r = 0.836, P < 0.05) and lying (r = 0.735, P < 0.05) whereas walking at 3 mph was comparable with standing (r = 0.718, P < 0.05) and sitting (r = 0.760, P < 0.05). Conclusion: We conclude that VO2 during yoga practice is comparable to VO2 during slow treadmill walking and may vary based on gender and body orientation.

Lifestyle change is recommended as treatment for adults at risk for metabolic syndrome (MetS), although adoption of new behavioral patterns is limited. In addition, most existing lifestyle interventions do not address psychological stress or quality of life, both of which impact the burden of MetS. Yoga, a form of physical activity that incorporates psychological components (e.g., maintaining attention, relaxation), is a promising intervention for improving the burden of MetS. This randomized controlled trial assessed the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a 12-week yoga program coupled with an evidence-based health education program (HED) compared to HED alone. A secondary, exploratory aim examined perceived stress, quality of life, and related psychological outcomes (mindfulness, perceived health competence, and mood). Sixty-seven adults at risk for MetS enrolled (mean age [SD]: 58 [10] years; 50% male; 79% non-Hispanic White). Preliminary results revealed significantly larger improvements in two quality of life domains (role-physical and general health perceptions) in the HED plus yoga group versus HED alone (ps < 0.05). This is the first study that implemented lifestyle education along with yoga to evaluate the potential unique effects of yoga on participants at risk for MetS. A larger clinical trial is warranted to further investigate these promising patient-reported outcomes.