Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Lynn Embrey

Abstract

To date little research has been conducted to substantiate the many anecdotal claims that yoga improves both physical and mental health. Berger and Owen (1992) demonstrated that yoga practice could enhance mood state. Mind-body exercise modalities, such as tai chi and yoga, potentially offer significant benefit in the areas of exercise rehabilitation and health promotion strategy (LaForge, 1997). Yoga is steadily gaining popularity amongst western culture with an increasing number of people participating in this mind-body exercise modality. Investigating the perceived contribution of regular yoga practice to health and well-being could uncover a number of positive 'indicators towards exercise adherence and continued positive behaviour change. A qualitative approach was used to investigate participants' perceptions of the contribution of yoga to their health and well-being. Participant observation and interviews were used to gain insight into the yoga environment. The major theme that emerged from the data was the development and influence of a mind-body connection. The connection was a catalyst for the positive attributes associated with regular yoga attendance. Increased functional capacity, mood enhancement and personal development were significant improvements attributed to the practise of Iyengar yoga.

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