Comparing the Acute Effects of Hatha Yoga and Meditation on Executive Function
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Prior research demonstrates that acute and chronic bouts of Hatha yoga, a moving meditation, shows promise for improving executive function (EF) and mood outcomes in a variety of populations. However, more evidence is warranted to further elucidate these findings. Objective: To compare the acute effects of Hatha yoga and meditation on executive function and mood, gaining a clearer understanding of the physical and mental subcomponents. Methods: Using a within-subject experimental design, 31 moderately experienced Hatha yoga practitioners (Mage = 27.71, SD = 8.32) completed 3 counterbalanced sessions: Hatha yoga, meditation and a reading control task. Executive function (primary outcome) was assessed using the Stroop task at baseline and at 2 follow-up points (5 minutes post- and 10 minutes post-session). Self-reported mood (secondary outcome) was measured using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) before and immediately following each session. Results: Hatha yoga (p = .002) and meditation (p = .044) both resulted in significantly improved Stroop interference scores, though the 2 conditions did not differ significantly from each other (p = .73). The cognitive benefits in both cases were evident at the 10 minute post-session delay but not at the 5 minute post-session delay. With respect to mood outcomes, Hatha yoga (p < .001) and meditation (p = .050) also both resulted in significantly improved POMS total mood scores. Again, Hatha yoga and meditation did not differ significantly from each other, though there was a marginal advantage for Hatha yoga (p = .079). Conclusions: Hatha yoga and meditation both improved executive function and mood to a similar degree. The cognitive benefits of Hatha yoga and meditation may be discernible after a 10 minute delay, whereas the mood benefits may be apparent relatively immediately.
Cite this work
Kimberley Luu (2016). Comparing the Acute Effects of Hatha Yoga and Meditation on Executive Function. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/10345