Effects of a yoga lifestyle intervention on performance-related characteristics of musicians: A preliminary study

Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research (Impact Factor: 1.43). 09/2006; 12(8):CR325-31.
Source: PubMed


Previous research has suggested that yoga and meditation practices are effective in stress management, alleviating anxiety and musculoskeletal problems and improving mood and cognitive and physical performance. Musicians experience a number of challenges in their profession including high levels of stress, performance anxiety and performance-related musculoskeletal conditions. Yoga and meditation techniques are therefore potentially useful practices for professional musicians.
Musicians enrolled in a prestigious 2-month summer fellowship program were invited to participate in a regular yoga and meditation program at a yoga center during the course of the program. The 10 participants in the yoga program completed baseline and end-program questionnaires evaluating performance-related musculoskeletal conditions, performance anxiety, mood and flow experience. Fellows not participating in the yoga program were recruited to serve as controls and completed the same assessments (N=8).
The yoga participants showed some improvements relative to control subjects on most measures, with the relative improvement in performance anxiety being the greatest.
The results from this preliminary study suggest that yoga and meditation may be beneficial as a routine practice to reduce performance anxiety in musicians.

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    • "Reduced levels of somatization and anxiety are associated with Yoga practice [13,14]. Yoga and meditation may be beneficial as a routine practice to reduce performance anxiety in musicians [15]. It has been observed that women suffering from mental distress and participating in a Lyengar Yoga class show significant improvements in measures of stress and psychological outcomes [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Yoga is a psychophysical, spiritual science of holistic living, aiming towards body and mind development; it can influence well-being, cognitive processes, personality (Gunas), psychophysiological parameters, and human health. Since it has been observed that Morningness-Eveningness disposition is associated with personality, and that personality can characterize people practicing Yoga, in this exploratory study we posited that Morningness-Eveningness might be associated with personality in Yoga trainees. Since Yoga can have influences over cognitive perspectives, and since it has been observed that Morningness-Eveningness disposition can associate with cognitive processes, we investigated a sample of Yoga trainees with reference to relationship with styles of learning and thinking (relevant aspects of cognitive functioning) and also with Morningness-Eveningness disposition. Material/Method We tested 184 Yoga trainees using the following questionnaires: Styles of Learning and Thinking (Torrance), Big Five Questionnaire (Caprara, Barbaranelli, Borgogni), and reduced Morningness-Eveningness Questionnaire (Natale). Results We found that Morning types score significantly higher than Evening types on Conscientiousness, Friendliness, Scrupulousness, Openness to Culture, emotional Stability, emotion Control, they score higher than intermediate types on Conscientiousness, Friendliness, Scrupulousness. Moreover, data showed that the high majority of subjects, also with reference to Morningness-Eveningness disposition, have right-sided styles of learning and thinking, pointing out a tendency towards right-sided cognitive precessing in the whole sample. Personality traits of the Yoga trainees were also investigated. Conclusions Data are discussed with reference to existing literature, psychological and neuroscientific perspectives are suggested, previous studies about Yoga published on Medical Science Monitor are also considered.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research
    • "This is described as one of the quoted definitions of yoga, ‘yogah karmasu kaushalam’ by Sri Krsna in the Bhagavadgita,[43] which means ’yoga is a special skill of action in relaxation’. This was observed with yoga practices in musicians with the relative reduction in performance anxiety, musculoskeletal conditions, mood and flow experience.[44] Yoga practices prior to exams in medical students showed improved concentration, improved efficiency, increased attentiveness, and significant reduction in number of failures.[45] "
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    ABSTRACT: Studies on affective wellbeing have shown the beneficial role of positive emotions on cognitive processing and the harmful role of negative emotions on coping, stress and health status. Studies have shown that yoga practices reduce anxiety and depression and improve wellbeing. The aims of the study were to, (i) examine the safety and feasibility of conducting a weeklong free yoga camp, and (ii) assess its impact on the negative and positive affect in normal healthy volunteers. In this open-arm study450 participants were taught integrated yoga module. It included asanas, pranayama, relaxation, notional correction and devotional sessions. Assessment was carried out on the first and last day of the camp, using a modified version of Positive Affect Negative Affect Scale (PANAS). It has ten questions each to measure positive (PA) and negative affect (NA). Nine questions have been added which are referred as other positive affect (OPA) and other negative affect (ONA) domains. Three hundred and twelve sets of pre-post data were analyzed. There was an increase in PA of PANAS by 13% (P<0.001, Wilcoxon's signed rank test) and OPA by 17% (P<0.001). The NA reduced by 47% (P<0.001) and ONA by 48% (P<0.001). It is feasible and safe to conduct a weeklong yoga camp in an urban setting, and integrated yoga practices can reduce the negative affect and increase the positive affect within one week.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2011 · International Journal of Yoga
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    • "Consistent with the results of our previous study (Khalsa and Cope 2006), a period of yoga and meditation practice of just over 6-weeks duration tended to reduce performance anxiety and improved mood in a sample of young professional musicians. Participants responded positively to the yoga program and found that yoga and meditation techniques were beneficial to their music performance and daily lives over both the short and long term. "
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    ABSTRACT: Yoga and meditation can alleviate stress, anxiety, mood disturbance, and musculoskeletal problems, and can enhance cognitive and physical performance. Professional musicians experience high levels of stress, performance anxiety, and debilitating performance-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs). The goal of this controlled study was to evaluate the benefits of yoga and meditation for musicians. Young adult professional musicians who volunteered to participate in a 2-month program of yoga and meditation were randomized to a yoga lifestyle intervention group (n = 15) or to a group practicing yoga and meditation only (n = 15). Additional musicians were recruited to a no-practice control group (n = 15). Both yoga groups attended three Kripalu Yoga or meditation classes each week. The yoga lifestyle group also experienced weekly group practice and discussion sessions as part of their more immersive treatment. All participants completed baseline and end-program self-report questionnaires that evaluated music performance anxiety, mood, PRMDs, perceived stress, and sleep quality; many participants later completed a 1-year followup assessment using the same questionnaires. Both yoga groups showed a trend towards less music performance anxiety and significantly less general anxiety/tension, depression, and anger at end-program relative to controls, but showed no changes in PRMDs, stress, or sleep. Similar results in the two yoga groups, despite psychosocial differences in their interventions, suggest that the yoga and meditation techniques themselves may have mediated the improvements. Our results suggest that yoga and meditation techniques can reduce performance anxiety and mood disturbance in young professional musicians.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
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