Yoga and ethics education could increase the psychological effectiveness of meditation

New findings published in Frontiers in Psychology provide preliminary evidence that mantra meditation has a more positive impact when combined with other practices, such as yoga.

“I am a yoga teacher and researcher and I am very curious about how yoga and meditation work. From my personal experience, I know that these practices can have quite intense effects, but I also want to understand them scientifically, ”said the author of the study. Karin Matko, associate researcher at Chemnitz University of Technology.

In the study, 42 healthy participants without regular yoga or meditation practice were randomly assigned to one of four groups: mantra-only meditation, meditation plus physical yoga, meditation plus ethics education, and meditation plus yoga and ethics education.

Each treatment condition lasted 8 weeks and involved learning mantra meditation. “The key practice of this form of mantra meditation is to silently repeat the chosen mantra while letting all other thoughts pass and allowing the breath to flow naturally,” the researchers explained. During the study, participants performed daily assessments of their well-being, stress, and other subjective experiences.

Most participants reported increased levels of well-being and decreased stress levels over time, but the researchers found that the combined interventions tended to have more positive effects than the mantra meditation in it. -same. Participants who received an ethical education, which was based on yogic philosophy, tended to have the greatest increases in well-being.

“It’s a good idea to combine meditation with other practices like yoga and ethics education to enhance its effects. Combining meditation with yoga can have a pretty relaxing effect while meditating and reflecting on ethical values ​​like truthfulness can improve your well-being, ”Matko told PsyPost.

But the researchers also observed a high degree of variability in participants’ responses. “Not everyone responded equally well to meditation, yoga or ethics education,” Matko explained. “Some participants felt less well throughout the treatment even though they enjoyed their course a year later. Future research should take a closer look at the long-term effects and find out who benefits from what type of practice. “

The study, “Differential Effects of Ethics Education, Physical Hatha Yoga, and Mantra Meditation on Well-Being and Stress in Healthy Participants: A Single-Case Experimental StudyWas written by Karin Matko, Peter Sedlmeier and Holger C. Bringmann.