Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

School

Public Health

Advisor

Joseph Robare

Abstract

Improved health indicators, mental and physical health outcomes, and sustainable lifestyle practices have been found among yoga practitioners. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of mixed styles of yoga practice on the health and behaviors of yoga practitioners. The relationship between yoga and body mass index (BMI), self-reported disease diagnosis, participation in other types of physical activity, adoption of healthy and sustainable lifestyle and dietary behaviors, perceived improvements in medical conditions that yoga was used to treat, quality of life resulting from yoga practice, and the reasons for beginning and continuing yoga were observed and tested in this study. Participants (N = 383) were adult yoga practitioners who were recruited using systematic sampling in Facebook social media. Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression, ANOVA, McNemar Chi square, and Spearman's correlation. Mean BMI for all yoga styles were in the normal range; however, ashtanga yoga was a significant predictor of low BMI. Self-reported disease diagnosis was significantly lower after beginning yoga practice. The majority of participants also engaged in other types of physical activity and adopted many healthy lifestyle practices. However, general/hatha and other styles of yoga were associated with adopting a greater number of other physical activities and general/hatha, ashtanga, and yoga therapy styles were associated with adopting a greater number of healthy and sustainable lifestyle and dietary behaviors. Medical conditions that yoga was used to treat and quality of life were perceived to be improved as a result of yoga practice. Results of this study confirm previous research findings that demonstrate numerous positive health outcomes from yoga practice.

 
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