Health-Related Quality of Life Outcomes with Regular Yoga and Heartfulness Meditation Practice: Results from a Multi-national, Cross-sectional Study

Author: Jayaram Thimmapuram1, Kamlesh Patel2, Divya K Madhusudhan3, Snehal Deshpande4, Ekta Bouderlique2, Veronique Nicolai5, Raghavendra Rao6
1 Wellspan York Hospital, 1001, S George St, York, US.
2 Heartfulness Institute, Hyderabad, IN.
3 Harvard Medical School, Boston, US.
4 Sneh Rehabilitation, Education and Research Center, Mumbai, IN.
5 Heartfullness Insitute, Hyderabad, IN.
6 CCRYN, New Delhi, IN.
Conference/Journal: JMIR Form Res
Date published: 2022 Apr 24
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.2196/37876. , Word Count: 327

While the benefits of yoga are well established across the world, there are limited studies exploring the long-term interrelation between yoga, meditation, and health. Specifically, there is limited research exploring the differences in Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) among regular meditators and non-meditators.

The current study explored the difference in 7 domains of HRQOL including quality of life, ability to adopt a healthy lifestyle, ability to relax, frequency of nervousness and stress, coping with day-to-day stress, workplace productivity, and staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic among practitioners of yoga and meditation.

A cross-sectional, online survey was distributed to all members who participated in a 100-day yoga and meditation program, culminating in the 'International Day of Yoga' event, organized by Heartfulness Institute in partnership with CCRYN, Ministry of AYUSH, SVYASA University, Ministry of AYUSH and Patanjali Yoga Institute, India. The program consisted of daily virtual yoga, meditation, and speaker sessions. The data were analyzed by non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal Wallis tests for continuous variables and chi square test for categorical variables.

A total of 3164 participants from 39 countries completed the survey. Mean age was 33.8 (SD 13.6) with majority of the participants being female (52%) and students (41.5%). Regular yoga and meditation practice was associated with a positive impact on all 7 domains of HRQOL (Mann-Whitney P < .05 and χ2 P < .05). Notably, experienced Heartfulness (≥ 2 years) meditators reported better outcomes in all the domains of HRQOL as compared to those not currently practicing the form of meditation or participants with ≤1 year of Heartfulness meditation experience (P<.05).

This is one of the first cross sectional studies to explore the health-related quality of life outcomes among participants of a 100-day virtual yoga and meditation program. Overall, yoga and meditation practice were found to be an effective tool to promote health related quality of life. Regular yoga and meditation practice was associated with factors promoting health and well-being with long-term meditation practice associated with increased benefits.

Not applicable.

PMID: 35470800 DOI: 10.2196/37876