Objectives: The purpose of this qualitative study was twofold: (1) to better understand how yoga practitioners perceive intra- and interpersonal outcomes of their yoga practice, and (2) to develop a conceptual model of yoga effects on intra- and interpersonal outcomes that may underlie the “relational” influences of yoga. Design: As part of a larger study, 107 community-dwelling yoga practitioners (age M = 41.2 ± 15.9 years) completed open-ended questions which asked questions focusing on whether yoga influences one's relationship to oneself and to others. A subsample (n = 12) completed in-depth interviews. The open-ended responses were analyzed using content analysis, and verbatim interview transcripts were analyzed for emergent themes using a constant comparison approach. Results: Four emerging themes were identified such that practitioners talked about the ability of yoga to generate calm states, mindfulness, (self-)compassion, and a sense of connectedness. Throughout the themes, a common pattern emerged such that yoga practice first led to positive intrapersonal changes, which then influenced one's interpersonal relationships. Based on these results, a conceptual model was developed depicting potential pathways of how yoga works to enhance relational outcomes. Conclusion: Findings demonstrate the promise yoga holds to improve one's relationship to oneself (intrapersonal) through mindfulness and self-compassion, and to others (interpersonal), through the enhancement of compassion and social connectedness, which may potentially lead to enhanced health and wellbeing outcomes. Further empirical testing of the model is warranted.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Complementary and Manual Therapy
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing