AUTHOR(S): L. A. Conboy, A. Wilson, and T. Braun

SOURCE: The Scientific World Journal

ABSTRACT: Research in the medical and psychological fields has primarily followed a “disease-focused” approach to health. Although there is growing research on the components and outcomes of well-being, very few studies have focused on traditional practices that can be used as interventions to encourage human flourishing. The current study was developed to address this research gap. We suggest one effective method of increasing psychological well-being, the practice of yoga, an age-old practice that has been said to produce physical and psychological health. In this observational study, we examined associations with participation in a 4-week yoga teacher training resident program. Measurement instruments were chosen to capture changes in psychosocial health and human flourishing. Measurements were taken before the start of the program, immediately after the program, and 3 months postprogram. As expected, in this healthy population, the human flourishing scales showed more change than the psychosocial health scales. For example, in this healthy sample, there were no significant changes in perceived social support, quality of life, or self-efficacy from baseline to the 3-month follow-up. However, optimism, a positive psychology research measure, improved from baseline to follow-up. The mindfulness subscales of observation, awareness, and nonreactivity all improved following the training, suggesting that one benefit of yoga practice is a more refined ability to attend to one’s inner experience. This study adds to the growing literature focusing on interventions that move beyond relieving pathology to those that produce optimal functioning and human thriving.



AUTHOR(S): Lisa Conboy, Ingrid Edshteyn, and Hilary Garivaltis

SOURCE: The Scientific World Journal

ABSTRACT: Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India, is understudied in western contexts. Using data gathered from an Ayurvedic treatment program, this study examined the role of psychosocial factors in the process of behavior change and the salutogenic process. This observational study examined associations with participation in the 5-day Ayurvedic cleansing retreat program, Panchakarma. Quality of life, psychosocial, and behavior change measurements were measured longitudinally on 20 female participants. Measurements were taken before the start of the program, immediately after the program, and 3 months postprogram. The program did not significantly improve quality of life. Significant improvements were found in self-efficacy towards using Ayurveda to improve health and reported positive health behaviors. In addition, perceived social support and depression showed significant improvements 3 months postprogram after the subjects had returned to their home context. As a program of behavior change, our preliminary results suggest that the complex intervention Panchakarma may be effective in assisting one’s expected and reported adherence to new and healthier behavior patterns.