Vidya Institute’s Integrative Yoga Research

Empirical Evaluations Of Yoga & The Vedic Sciences

Most of the following research projects were completed as part of Kathryn Curtis’s graduate work towards an MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology at York University. The last project, in progress, is part of her post-doctoral research at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network.

Summary Of The Research At Vidya

We have completed five yoga and mindfulness projects and have one project in process. Completed projects evaluated pain and related variables (e.g., pain intensity, pain catastrophizing, pain acceptance), psychological constructs (e.g., anxiety, depressive symptoms), spirituality and well-being (e.g., mindfulness, compassion) and physical function (e.g., cortisol levels, fatigue) in the context of specialized yoga programs. The research designs include single cohort trials, randomized controlled trials, and multi-wave randomized controlled trials, with 2-3 assessment time points. The interventions all followed a relatively similar format, including a dose of 1-2 classes per week, each of 50-75 minutes in duration, for 6-8 weeks.

The yoga programs all included:

  • Philosophy (jñāna) based upon teachings from the Gift of Consciousness and the oral teachings of Sri Krishan Mantri-ji.
  • Physical postures (āsana).
  • Breathing exercises (prāṇāyāma).
  • Mindfulness (smṛti sadhanā) and concentration (dhāraṇā) practices.

Research Landscape:

There has been a call for yoga researchers to properly document all aspects of yoga interventions for efficacy trials, including types of practices (āsana, prāṇāyāma, dhāraṇā), dose, delivery, style, sequences of postures, modifications, and any other information that may assist with replicability or provide clarity about mechanisms of yoga. It is a strength of our work that we have manualized the yoga interventions and have documented all aspects of the interventions, including the philosophy teaching plan, the āsanas, and the prāṇāyāma practices. These protocols are published in skeleton format in peer reviewed journals for researchers and practitioners who are interested in the specific class content. The Vidya Research Department is available for consultations and has provided consultations to researchers about these projects in the international arena.

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