Impact of a Yogic Breathing Technique on the Well-Being of Healthcare Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Kanchibhotla Divya1, Saisudha Bharathi2, Ramrakhyani Somya3, Mehta H Darshan4
1 Molecular Biology and Genetics; Executive director, Sri Sri Institute for Advanced Research, Bangalore, India.
2 Pharmacology Scientist, Sri Sri Institute for Advanced Research, Bangalore, India.
3 Master of Public Health, Doctor of Medicine; Faculty, Art of Living, USA.
4 Master of Public Health, Doctor of Medicine; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Division of General Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Conference/Journal: Glob Adv Health Med
Date published: 2021 Feb 9
Other: Volume ID: 10 , Pages: 2164956120982956 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1177/2164956120982956. , Word Count: 308

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for healthcare globally, the brunt of which has been borne by the health care providers (HCPs). These challenges are felt more keenly in India, as they stretch an insufficiently resourced healthcare system. The long hours, cross over of responsibilities, lack of resources to adequately care for patients, and concerns around safety of self and loves ones, have led to a spike in anxiety, depression, insomnia and other stress - related disorders in healthcare providers. Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) is a mind-body intervention that has been studied in multiple clinical populations. Prior to this study, there has been no exploration of the impact of SKY on healthcare providers, specifically the impact of a mind-body intervention like SKY on HCPs during a pandemic.

This study aims to investigate the impact of SKY on the well-being of HCPs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We conducted a pilot feasibility study with a single arm pre-post design. SKY was taught to participants in a 4-day online breath and meditation workshop. We measured outcomes related to depression, anxiety, resilience, life satisfaction, and quality of sleep.

Ninety-two subjects completed the study survey before and after the intervention. A significant reduction was observed in the levels of stress, anxiety and depression immediately after the program. In addition, the participants reported sig1nificant improvement in life satisfaction, resilience, and the quality of their sleep.

The results indicate that SKY breathing technique had a positive impact on the well-being of healthcare professionals during the pandemic. Participants experienced improved quality of sleep, enhanced satisfaction with life, and increased resilience after SKY. This pilot study provides important data for future multi-site randomized controlled trials to study the impact of yogic techniques on well-being of the HCPs.

Keywords: Sudarshan Kriya Yoga; healthcare providers; pandemic; resilience; well-being.

PMID: 33623726 PMCID: PMC7876755 DOI: 10.1177/2164956120982956