Fragen zu Yoga und Gesundheit

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Yogastudien stecken noch in den Kinderschuhen

Obwohl die Studien zu Yoga in den letzen Jahren enorm zugenommen haben, ist die Datenlage besonders auf die therapeutischen effekte von Yoga nach wie vor unbefriedigend. Die Gründe dafür hat Laura Schmalzl mit KollegInnen in einer 2015 veröffentlichten wegweisenden Metaanalyse von Yogastudien ausgeführt:

Schmalzl L., Powers C., Blom E.H. Neurophysiological and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the effects of yoga-based practices: towards a comprehensive theoretical framework. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 2015; 9: 235. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00235


Die Studie (englisch) als freier download

Die Schlussfolgerungen der AutorInnen:

In this paper we propose a definition of YBP with the aim of providing a comprehensive theoretical framework applicable within Western science, from which testable scientific hypotheses can be formulated.

We begin by presenting a brief overview of the extant literature investigating the effects of YBP in healthy populations, with a specific focus on physiological parameters, body awareness, self-reported emotional states and stress, and cognitive functioning. We then discuss some of the methodological shortcomings of previous studies, with particular emphasis on the inappropriate selection of experimental populations and control groups, the use of self-report outcome measures, poorly described interventions, mostly neglected investigations of individual component parts of the programs, and the lack of hypotheses about specific neurophysiological and neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the reported effects of YBP. Subsequently, we outline the main component parts of YBP, which commonly consist of a combination of postures or movement sequences, conscious regulation of the breath, and various techniques to improve attentional focus. We believe that a detailed deconstruction of these component parts is essential for their operationalization and for a better understanding of their respective effects. Lastly, we discuss some of the main neurophysiological and neurocognitive processes hypothesized to underlie the mechanisms of change promoted by YBP. We propose that compared to mindfulness-based practices, the rich set of movement, breath and attention components employed in YBP may more directly engage the vagal afferent system as well as BG and cerebellar circuits, with consequent possibly enhanced effects on autonomic, emotional and cognitive regulation.

In sum, we believe in the importance and potential of future research investigating the mechanisms underlying YBP, so that they may be more effectively adapted and applied in various clinical, educational and recreational settings. The theoretical framework presented in our paper is by no means exhaustive, but only intending to represent a starting point from which specific hypotheses for future research can be formulated. We hope that it will inspire further work in the field with the ultimate aim of unveiling the full potential of YBP in modern contexts.