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Combined yoga interventions provide more relaxation and reduce stress

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Yoga is often associated with acrobatic stretching exercises that are supposed to induce relaxation and a better awareness of the body. This benefit has been scientifically proven. What has been researched a bit so far is how different yoga techniques such as the so-called “sun salutations” or breathing exercises as well as meditation work together. Dr. Karen Matko, Research Associate in the Professorship of General and Biopsychology (Chairman: Prof. Dr. Udo Rudolf) at Chemnitz University of Technology, addressed this question as first author. Prof. Dr. Peter Seidelmeier, Head of the Research Methodology and Evaluation Department of the Professorship at Chemnitz University of Technology, and Dr. Holger C. Bringmann of Charity Berlin collaborated on the study.

In her evaluation of the results of 19 meta-analyses of a total of 330 studies – the so-called “meta-synthesis” – the psychologist found that combining different yoga techniques was associated with its benefits. Thus, the combination increases the therapeutic or preventive benefits. “Our results, which are mostly consistent across the studies we examined, show that combining different elements in yoga is better. In nearly all cases, combined interventions were better than simpler interventionsRegardless of whether the problem was high blood pressure, diabetes or depression, says Karen Matko. The combination of physical exercise with breathing techniques or meditation was particularly effective. However, there were also characteristics:In the case of asthma, for example, yoga only works if it includes breathing exercises‘,” says Matko, who is also a trained yoga teacher.

The results were also confirmed experimentally

In another study, Matko was also able to experimentally confirm this result. She compared the effects of four different groups of yoga, meditation, and the ethical foundations of yoga on healthy subjects with no prior experience:If you want to avoid or reduce stress, a combination of yoga and meditation seems especially beneficialshe explained.

In addition, Matko and colleagues Seidelmeier and Bringmann show that a combination of meditation and moral education can sustainably increase well-being:It seems that the intense engagement with oneself during the moral education sessions had a really lasting effect on our participantsThe researcher concluded that it may be beneficial to decorate yoga with the original “icing on the cake” and practice it with meditation or other traditional practices.

The results of this research have been published online by LIDSEN Publishing Inc. and Frontiers in Psychology.


Chemnitz University of Technology

Journal references:

  • Matko, K.; et al. (2022) Effects of different components of yoga: a meta-synthesis. Complementary and Complementary Medicine OBM.
  • Matko, K.; et al. (2022) Differential effects of moral education, physical yoga, and mantra meditation on well-being and stress in healthy participants–a single pilot study. frontiers in psychology.