June 21 was International Yoga Day. All of this week, we are celebrating the positive impact of yoga on mental health. All our research articles and features will bring you these scientific insights.
An individual’s meaning in life increases with regular yoga practice. The more individuals in the present sample practiced yoga regularly, the higher their reported meaning in life and gratitude was found to be.
The study which was published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, aimed to explore the existence of a relationship between the extent of yoga practice and two concepts in positive psychology, one eudaimonic – meaning in life and one hedonic – gratitude, which are considered to indicate overall psychological wellbeing.
With yoga experience ranging from none to more than six years, 124 individuals aged 18 and over replied to various scales. The number of years that each person practiced yoga at least twice a week was used to determine the depth of their practice. The MLQ (Meaning in Life Questionnaire) and GQ-6 (Gratitude Questionnaire) were administered to the participants.
What is Eudaimonic happiness?
According to, the Greek word eudemonia is a combination of the words eu, which means good, and daemon, which means minor god, guiding spirit, or tutelary deity. Another translation of it is “true self.” Eudemonia can be characterized as the state of being in “good spirits” or as aspires to a divine state of being.
The word “eudemonia” can mean happiness, well-being, welfare, thriving, fulfilment, or flourishing. In the minds of the public, eudemonia is also closely related to the idea of the “good life.”
What is hedonic happiness?
Hedone, which in Greek means pleasure, is the root of the word hedonism. Contrarily, hedonic well-being is typically discussed in terms of experiences, with a focus on satisfying desires and pursuing pleasure, as well as the presence of favourable consequences and the lack of unfavourable ones.
Hedonic happiness, then, is about maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. It is a type of subjective well-being that is determined by cognitive assessments of life satisfaction and the prevalence of either positive or negative affect. Even though it can take on other forms as well, it also frequently relates to the satisfaction of sensory desires.
Principals of Yoga
Yoga, which has its origins in India and dates back 5000 years, has undergone multiple stages over the years, emphasising various topics such as discovering ultimate reality, enhancing psychologically both the person and society, and learning how to separate the past, present, and future. Positive psychology focuses on developing components of general psychological well-being, which is why yoga is becoming more popular in the West. Well-being is a broad term that relates to both the ideal state of our existence and the accomplishment of our goals. It encompasses optimal performance, self-actualization, and thriving.
In general, modern yoga encapsulates many yoga principles which allow one to accept change in life; this includes elements such as Yama (moral code), Niyama (self-discipline), Asanas (postures or poses), Pranayama (mindfulness of breathing), Pratyahara (detachment from senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation or positive, mindful focus on the present), Savasana (state of rest) and Samadhi (ecstasy).
Some of those components have ties to ideas that have been the subject of positive psychology research and theory. Yama and Niyama, for instance, are characterized by self-control, self-discipline, and self-awareness and could be considered like the positive psychology notion of flow, which is being totally interested and engaged at the moment. Even though influx causes one to lose their sense of self, they are nevertheless completely present in the time and have excellent control over their actions.
Yoga practice increases empathy, compassion, and gratitude
People can become more alert and focused while practicing yoga, which also helps them enter a contemplative and meditative state. According to studies, yoga can boost empathetic abilities and link awareness to better levels of gratitude, respect, and compassion for both human and nonhuman relationships, thoughts, and beliefs. Like positive psychology, the emphasis is on improving well-being, raising self-awareness and environmental awareness, and controlling the mind and emotions.
Another study suggests that hedonic and eudaimonic components both contribute to total psychological well-being. Hedonic aspects, which are focused on subjective well-being, consist of life satisfaction and high positive affect mixed with low negative affect, while eudaimonic aspects concentrate on ideas like purpose in life, growth, and meaning. The current study tried to address one eudaimonic-based wellbeing variable (meaning) and one hedonic-based wellbeing variable (gratitude) to evaluate both facets of wellbeing.
Yoga and Eudaimonic Well-being
It seems rational to assume that engaging in practices like yoga, which goes beyond simple physical activity and is rooted in a spiritual system, will have a beneficial impact on one’s entire psychological well-being. One of the most important aspects of eudaimonic well-being and one that is closely tied to it is spirituality. Since spirituality has been shown to enhance psychological well-being, it makes sense that a spiritual practice like yoga, which combines the practical and philosophical facets of spirituality, would have a similar positive impact.
Spirituality is strongly linked to Yoga
Given that meaning is regarded as a fundamental component of spiritual experience and that spirituality and yoga are closely related, meaning has been a natural choice for the study of eudaimonia in yoga.
According to a researcher, life is profoundly meaningful, and each person has a unique purpose in this life that reflects their personal ideals. According to some academics, a meaningful life is one that has a purpose, is goal-oriented, and fosters human development. A goal-centered strategy that emphasizes purpose gives life meaning. A life lived with purpose allows for positive transformation. Purpose serves as a guide that organizes one’s life.
The idea that there is a link between a person’s level of yoga practice and the existence of significance in their lives is further supported by the idea that yoga seeks to make it easier for people to connect with their actual selves. According to a researcher, access to one’s genuine self—finding one’s values and self-awareness—is a substantial source of meaning and a significant contributor to well-being. The eudaimonic experience is centered on these inquiries about the meaning and the genuine self, hence this hypothesis examines the connection between yoga and eudaimonic well-being.
Yoga and hedonic well-being
There may be a connection between yoga and hedonic well-being, according to evidence from several research. Numerous studies have discovered a connection between yoga and overall well-being. According to a study, yoga increased participants’ levels of happiness and vitality, which are presumably signs of greater subjective well-being. Another researcher who looked at stress management in an HIV-positive group discovered a strong correlation between yoga and psychological health, life satisfaction, and positive affect. Considering the findings, the current study’s researchers anticipate discovering a relationship between participants’ stated levels of thankfulness and how much yoga they practice.
Gratitude helps in making individuals more resilient
Gratitude is the idea that this study looked at since it represents the hedonic part of happiness. According to a researcher, the feeling of thankfulness arises when one realizes that someone else played a significant role in anything positive that has happened to them. The idea has been conceptualized as a pleasant mood that depends on a person’s ability to empathize with others.
According to the tenets of the “broaden and build” approach, thankfulness acts as a constructive emotion that aids in the development of enduring and advantageous resources for the individual. According to this hypothesis, good emotions counteract the negative consequences of negative ones while enhancing cognitive functioning by encouraging more innovative, adaptable, or effective thought patterns.
good resources are developed over time because of the expanding potential of good emotions, which could aid people in becoming healthier, more socially integrated, and more resilient people.
Yoga and its Connection with Gratitude
It is hypothesized that there will be a connection between yoga and dispositional thankfulness because the latter has been demonstrated to have substantial connections with innate spiritual beliefs and mindfulness. Yoga is not just a set of exercises; it is rooted in a philosophical and spiritual perspective. The philosophy of yoga includes gratitude, as evidenced by the vocabulary utilized, which expresses appreciation for the joy of birth and life.
Praying in the yoga community entails being thankful, united, heart-open, and compassionate. Having gratitude increases awareness of what is available and what one can be grateful for. One more potential link between yoga and thankfulness could be the practice of meditation. In their study on teaching mindfulness to counselling students, discovered that participants said that meditation increased their acceptance of others and themselves and that as a result, they felt more gratitude for what they had rather than focusing on what they lacked.
Based on this, it is hypothesized that those who have practiced yoga for a longer period will typically report feeling more grateful, demonstrating a connection between yoga and hedonic well-being.
The statistical results show a link (r =.253) between yoga experience and degrees of appreciation; a 2-tailed significance level of.005 supports this conclusion. Additionally, a correlation between yoga experience and levels of meaning was discovered (r =.211), which is confirmed by a significant level of.01 on a 2-tailed test. This information supports both hypotheses, showing that the practice of yoga is truly linked to gratitude and a sense of purpose in life.
The more individuals in the present sample practiced yoga regularly, the higher their reported meaning in life was found to be. Yoga is concerned with existential issues, such as spirituality, which encourage a person to search for meaning.
Help is here:
Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline Kiran (1800-599-0019)
Name of the Organisation: The Yoga Institute
The Yoga Institute, the world’s oldest yoga center, was established in 1918. Their courses have transformed millions of lives and created more than 100000+ teachers worldwide. In 2018, The Yoga Institute received the Prime Minister’s Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and development of Yoga by the Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India. It has branches across the country.
Contact: Email: info@theyogai/nstitute.org
Telephone: +91-22-26110506, +91-22-26103568
Give us your feedback about topics on mental health you’d like us to cover or feedback on email@example.com