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Int J Yoga. 2019 Sep-Dec;12(3):218-225. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_81_18.

Effects of Yoga Asana Practice Approach on Types of Benefits Experienced.

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YogAnatomy, Miami, Florida, USA.
Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.



Modern science and the classic text on hatha yoga, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, report physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational benefits of yoga practice. While all have specific suggestions for how to practice, little research has been done to ascertain whether specific practice approaches impact the benefits experienced by practitioners.


Our aim was to relate the experience level of the practitioner, the context of practice approaches (time of day, duration of practice, frequency of practice, etc.), and experience level of the teacher, to the likelihood of reporting particular benefits of yoga.


We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive survey of yoga practitioners across levels and styles of practice. Data were compiled from a large voluntary convenience sample (n = 2620) regarding respondents' methods of practice, yoga experience levels, and benefits experienced. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify approaches to yoga practice that positively predicted particular benefits.


Frequency of practice, either with or without a teacher, was a positive predictor of reporting nearly all benefits of yoga, with an increased likelihood of experiencing most benefits when the practitioner did yoga five or more days per week. Other aspects of practice approach, experience level of the practitioner, and the experience level of the teacher, had less effect on the benefits reported.


Practice frequency of at least 5 days per week will provide practitioners with the greatest amount of benefit across all categories of benefits. Other practice approaches can vary more widely without having a marked impact on most benefits experienced.


Asana; benefits; concentration; equanimity; yoga

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