Effect of Kundalini Yoga on Psychological Health in Young Adults

By Suresh, A.; Ramachandran, K. et al. | Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, March 2013 | Go to article overview

Effect of Kundalini Yoga on Psychological Health in Young Adults


Suresh, A., Ramachandran, K., Jayachander, Malar, Indian Journal of Positive Psychology


Health is a multidimensional concept consists of physical, mental, social and spiritual dimensions. The concept of health as given is Ayurveda, the Indian medicinal system is balance and harmony of the Body, the mind and the soul. Illness in this sense is a state of imbalance. According to Ayurveda only a healthy happy and well-adjusted person can attain the state of well-being.In ancient Indian literature, vast verities of practices have been mentioned for the cure of psychological disorder and enhancing wellbeing. Yoga an ancient Indian system of thought as well as practice is very pertinent to the treatment and prevention of psychological disorders as well as the maintenance and promotion of physical and psychological wellbeing. Today yoga has been acknowledged as a very important supportive and complimentary system in health care.

Many studies on yoga have shown that its practices can make a person to control and regulate various physiological parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, Brain waves etc. Studies have used a specific technique of asana, or pranayama or a meditation program and have evaluated the health outcome. On the other hand, researchers have also taken to yoga as a multi-pronged approach involving physical, psychological social and spiritual aspects of life.

Research on yoga is dominated by interest in physiological and biomedical changes. A review of articles published in 1996 (Bhala, Balamakud), summarizes 21 studies on yoga. This review concludes that "yoga therapy seems to be of great value in asthma, cardiac patients, multiple sclerosis, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis and rehabilitation".Generally studies related to yoga practices have taken specific physiological and clinical symptoms as an outcome measure. This emphasis in clinical outcomes is due to medical orientation to yoga as a therapeutic approach, Studies have included specific psychological states such as anxiety, Moods, wellbeing as criterion variables. (Sahasi, Harvey, Damodaran & Malathi, 1984). However few research studies have included Quality of Life or psychological wellbeing, spiritual health as an outcome measure, even though yoga is accepted as a holistic technique to healing.

Yoga is viewed as a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline that confers a sound body and a sound mind (Mohan, 2002). One common claim is that yoga helps clear the mind and this may have an effect on the ability to attend to relevant stimuli and recall information subsequently (Heriza, 2004).The effect of yogic exercises on the mind is said to have immediate effects. Kocher (1979) used meaningful words and nonsense syllables to test immediate (short-term) verbal memory abilities before and after a one-month period of yoga training for college-aged males and females and found that yoga did facilitate immediate memory performance more than the absence of yoga, and that the benefit was greater for males than for females.

Anantharaman and Kabir (1984) reported that memory span and attention measured before and after yoga training changed positively as a result of yoga training. Yoga has also been utilized with limited positive results in rehabilitation with mentally retarded individuals (Pathak & Mishra, 1984) and in training visual perceptual sensitivity (Manjunath & Telles, 1999). Sahasi (1984) utilized five cognitive tests (color cancellation, digit forward, digit backward, recognition, and visual retention) to study the effects of yoga over the time span of an academic year for 12 year old participants. Results showed improvement on most tests from the beginning to the end of the school year both for a group that regularly participated in yoga and a group that did not. Similarly, Naveen, Nagarathna, Nagendra, and Telles (1997) found that uninostril breathing as part of a yoga technique increased spatial memory scores by 84%, but did not cause an increase in verbal memory scores.

Yoga based interventions have been found to have diverse effects including diminished stress (West et al. …

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